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Repair and Damage Control

"Dry hair worsens with time because of accumulated abuse,” Toye says. The only real way to get rid of the damage is to cut off damaged hair.

If a dramatic chop isn't an option, use the prevention and protection techniques described above. They can improve the look and feel of damaged hair. There are a few other ways to make dreary hair look lively:

  • At home. In addition to conditioning after you shampoo, use deep conditioning treatments that contain ingredients like wheat proteins, amino acids, or panthenol. These will help make your hair softer, smoother, and shinier for a few days. Jaliman also suggests using a leave-in conditioner to add more moisture, if necessary.
  • At the salon. Keratin treatments are Toye’s preferred method of smoothing dry hair. They coat hair with keratin protein, usually with the help of heat. This helps smooth the hair cuticle, making your hair smooth and shiny for about four weeks. Don't expect miracles, though. “If your hair is slightly dry and frizzy, you’ll see a dramatic difference," Toye says. "But if it’s completely butchered, you won’t.”

It's important to know that the safety of keratin treatments has been questioned. Some may contain or release unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a chemical that has been linked to health problems, including cancer.

When to See a Doctor

Thyroid conditions, eating disorders, and other health problems can cause severely dry hair. "See a dermatologist if you notice any sudden or dramatic changes," Jaliman says.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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