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Hair Loss/Hair Problems with highlighting


QUESTION: I have been getting my hair professionally highlighted for the past 10+ years. She does NOT color or bleach the hair. Within the last 6mo. my hairdresser recently noticed that my hair was breaking when it came in contact with the highlighting solution and that when she washed it I was having further hair loss (more then average). I have not noticed any lifestyle changes that could be contributing to this issue. What could be causing this hair loss? What can I do differently, so that I can continue to get my hair highlighted without losing an abnormal amount of hair?

ANSWER: Heat injury causing bubbles in the hair shaft I think is the most common physical injury to hair shafts that goes unrecognized by many stylists and treating physicians. Most of the time the focus is on what chemical got on to the skin or damaged the hair shaft but almost all the time that is happening there is also the process of drying the hair. If the hair is exposed to curling irons or blow drying set too high the hair shaft developed small bubbles in them. After repeated brushing or combing the hairs break off at these weak points.
A good article on this can be seen here:

The booklet mentioned below covers a variety of causes of hair damage which can happen in these situations.
You can read page 245 which describes heat causing bubbles which weaken the shaft by clicking the link at the bottom.
Hair Care: An Illustrated Dermatologic Handbook - Page 245 - Google Books Result
Zoe Diana Draelos, Zoe Kececioglu Draelos - 2005 - Health & Fitness

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your timely response. So, if this "bubble hair" is the cause
of my "hair loss" and I want to continue to get my hair highlighted, I assume
letting my hair air dry, after the highlight solution is applied, as opposed
to using the professional salon dryer should alleviate the condition.
Is this correct? I am just curious to know why I don't notice hair
loss outside the salon (i.e. when at home) or why other
customers have not had the same hair loss issue?????

Yes, IF you have bubbles in your hair then air drying or drying at a lower heat would solve the problem.
 I gave you one possible explanation for why this could have happened to your hair. It has to do with heat settings and how long you are subjected to that heat. Other customers may not have had the same kind of hair or the same setting or the same length of time. The heat could have been accidentally on high when you had yours done.

 I strongly recommend a visit to a dermatologist who could evaluate your hair shafts with a microscope and if possible go to a Dermatology Department Hair Clinic which may be associated with your local medical school. At one of these clinics you certainly would get your hair examined microscopically and in most cases with a Professor of Dermatology who specializes in hair overseeing the clinic. If you can't find one then send me your address and I will let you know the closest one to you.

Hair Loss

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Peter J. Panagotacos, <B>M.D.</B>


I have 30 years experience in the field of medical and surgical Hair Restoration and am Board Certified in Dermatology and Hair Restoration Surgery.


I have 30 years experience in the field of medical and surgical Hair Restoration and am Board Certified in Dermatology and Hair Restoration Surgery. More information can be found at my website

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