Hair is made up of the outer layer cuticle consisting of dead cells and the inner layer cortex which forms the bulk of the hair. When the outer protective cuticle layer is worn out at the hair strand tip, the cortex fibers are unraveled and the hair will split length-wise. This condition is called the split ends of the hair, which however cannot be removed aside and the only way out would be to cut the hair. If the hair growth is sufficient you can cut but when the amount of hair is less, you have to mask it without it being noticed.
Symptoms of Split Ends
Physically you can notice split ends at the end of the hair strand. You cannot comb through the entire length without being obstructed. The hair looks tangled, disorganized, dry, and brittle. Any attempt to forcibly comb results in pain and hair damage. Such symptoms indicate the presence of split ends of the hair and remedial measures are to be initiated immediately to stop permanent hair damage.
What Causes Split Ends
Combing wet hair immediately after wash without drying and cutting the hair with the wrong scissors causes split ends of the hair. Overuse of chemical substances for improving the physical appearance of the hair and extreme use of blowing and drying equipment also contribute to split ends appearance. So hairstyling and changing treatments may also cause split ends. Milder chemical substances should be applied with the progression of age as the hair growth rate decreases with age.
Sun emitting ultraviolet rays make the hair dry and split ends occur when exposed for long periods of time. A sun hat should be worn while out at work or play as a preventive measure. Similarly, exposure to bustling winds cause tangling of the hair and should be adequately protected.
Winter climatic conditions allow the hair to dry quickly and make the hair brittle for split ends to form. Allowance should be made for winter protection also. Hair itching calls for the immediate attention of a specialist, if allowed to persist without any treatment hair gets damaged, split ends occur and restoration would be difficult.
Prevention and Removal of Split Ends
Regular trimming of hair removes split ends and the hair growth will be robust. If a split end is noticed, cut it above the split to remove with a pair of scissors. A hair mask every week protects from split ends and makes the hair soft and healthy. After every wash, a conditioner should be used for good results.
A cold water finish helps to retain the conditioning agents better than a hot water finish. Wet hair should not be combed immediately after the wash, as it causes split ends and hair damage. Accessories like hair clips or rubber bands may cause split ends so the correct ones should be chosen. A mix of castor oil and coconut oil in equal proportion should be used for the strength and growth of the hair.
Oily hair requires everyday wash and all other hairs only occasionally. After washing with a vitamin-based shampoo, a leave-in conditioner should be used for best results on all types of hairs. Blow drying the hair should be avoided as they tend to cause split ends.
Hair should not be twirled or abused. While sleeping, tangles can be minimized if a satin pillowcase is used. Hairbands made of rubber should be either coated or covered. Hair should be protected from chlorine while swimming and a swim cap is a must.
Too much drying or dying of the hair, instead of improving the appearance cause split ends and damage the hair permanently. Hot oil treatment rejuvenates the hair stands well, rehydrates hair, and helps in the prevention of split ends.
One thing to keep in mind always is that there is no cure for split ends and prevention is the best course of action. All the treatments available in the market can only be useful to a certain degree. They can only minimize the damage and there is no guarantee that the same condition will not recur again. The only solution is to take preventive measures and hope the split ends do not come back calling all over again.