Hair Breakage

Hair breakage can be a frustrating problem, causing issues like frizz, dryness, and difficulty growing longer hair. Several concerns can result in hair breakage, ranging from damaging hair styling to poor nutrition to serious underlying medical concerns. Dermatologists like Dr. Damstetter are educated in caring for the hair as well as the skin and understand how patients can improve their hair health. If you are facing hair breakage in or near Glenview, IL, schedule an appointment at Reserve Dermatology.

What Causes Hair Breakage?

Individual hairs are composed of an inner cuticle that is surrounded by overlapping scales that hold the strand together. When these scales fall apart, the hair strands can separate or break. More minor damage is also responsible for frizz or dryness.

Many issues can cause hair breakage. Some of these include:

  • Poor diet or disordered eating
  • Stress
  • Dryness, which may be due to low humidity, heat, or other factors
  • Heat damage from tools such as hair dryers or curling irons
  • Chemical processes such as dyes, relaxers, or perms
  • Poor at-home care such as over-washing or incorrect brushing and combing
  • Lack of regular trims
  • Hypothyroidism


“I had a recent visit to Dr Damstetter’s clinic and would like to share my experience. I am a Navy vet(corpsman) and usually get seen at the VA but since we don’t have a Derm provider right now, I was fortunately sent out to her clinic to be evaluated. It’s a nice clinic in a nice area and was relatively easy to find. A pleasant Ms. Nancy at the front desk was helpful in completing the check-in process. Easy day. I did not have to wait long and was soon met by Dr. Damstetter’s assistant, who for classified reasons I will refer to as “Agent 8”. I am sure if she gets tired of providing excellent medical care, her slick-ninja skillset could get her a job with the CIA or MI6 maybe. Short story long, Agent 8 brought me back to the patient area, where I was introduced to Dr Damstetter, who was all the things you would want in a doctor: a knowledgeable provider with a great bedside manner. She gave me a thorough exam which did end up showing that I needed a minor procedure. No worries. I felt well taken care of throughout my visit. No one likes to have to see the doctor, but if you have a dermatological concern, this is a good place with good people who did great by me, and I am thankful to have been sent here.”

“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

How Can I Prevent Hair Breakage?

A majority of hair breakage is the result of hair care or lifestyle habits that you can change at home for healthier hair. To prevent hair breakage, avoid heat styling or chemically processing your hair as much as possible. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends waiting at least 8-10 weeks between dyeing, perming, or relaxing the hair, for example. Gently washing and conditioning the hair daily can help reduce breakage. Some hairstyles are too tight and can cause breakage, as can some extensions. Stick to looser hairstyles if possible and avoid damaging hair accessories or tight hats. Finally, be sure to keep up with a balanced and nutritious diet.

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet the Doctor

View Dr. Damstetter’s Healthy Hair Goals Products

Hair Breakage Treatment

Some hair breakage can be a sign of a larger underlying medical issue. For this reason, patients who keep up with healthy hair care at home but still notice breakage or thinning should seek care from a dermatologist. During an appointment, Dr. Damstetter can examine your hair and review your medical history to help determine a cause for your hair breakage or hair loss. She can also review factors like your regular hair care products and recommend steps you can take at home to improve your hair health. This may include recommended changes in your diet, vitamins and nutritional supplements, or new products to incorporate. If necessary, Dr. Damstetter may also recommend testing for medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, especially if you show symptoms outside of hair breakage.

For patients who are also experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, treatment options can include oral or topical medication, such as corticosteroids or minoxidil, as well as platelet-rich plasma. This varies depending on your specific symptoms and the cause of your hair loss.

Do hair skin and nail vitamins really work?

Specific types of vitamins may be formulated to help reduce temporary or hormonal types of hair loss. Biotin has never been shown to regrow hair unless someone has a dietary deficiency.

What helps female thinning hair?

A board-certified dermatologist can make recommendations for medications for female pattern hair loss. Vitamins formulated for female pattern hair loss may be modestly helpful. Gentle shampoos and conditions are recommended.

What deficiencies cause hairloss?

The most common deficiency in modern society to cause hair loss is iron deficiency anemia. About 2-3 months after a major dip in iron (menstrual losses, accident, surgery, or poor dietary absorption) hair may start to dramatically shed. Other deficiencies leading to hair loss include biotin, other B vitamins, vitamin C (scurvy), folic acid and vitamin D. Fortunately, modern societies almost always have these vitamins in a normal diet.

How long does it take biotin to work on hair?

Biotin does not regrow hair unless someone has a true biotin deficiency. The FDA has warned against taking high levels of biotin. The recommended dose for daily use is up to 2,000 micrograms (2 milligrams) daily.

How can I improve my nail health?

Moisturize after every hand washing, avoid frequent manicures and repetitive trauma to nails, and maintain a well-balanced diet for optimal nail health. Low levels of biotin may help strength nail plate formation.

Is nail growth a sign of hair growth?

Although they are different processes and compounds, good nail growth can indicate healthy hair growth. Sudden changes in your hair or nails may affect one or both.

What causes vertical ridges in nails?

There might be many causes of the appearance of vertical nail ridges, from stress to thyroid disease to kidney problems. Most of the time this symptom is harmless.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about hair breakage and achieving healthier hair, schedule an appointment with Dr. Liz Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology. Call our Glenview, IL office or contact us online to schedule your first appointment.

Contact Us

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Promo Signup