Getting your hair burnt by an overheated flat iron or damaged hair due to hair straightener? That is normal as we are not hair experts.
So does burnt hair grow back? No, burnt hair cannot grow back unless there is no damage to the underlying scalp. If it is mild and the scalp isn’t damaged much, then the hair might grow back little by little. If the scalp is damaged, only surgery can put some hair on that part of the head.
A burn evaluation
According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are 3 degrees of burn with only third-degree burns having chances of damaging hair follicles.
- Third-degree burns also called full-thickness burns. This is a very serious type of burn. It affects the outer, middle, and innermost layers of the skin. The innermost layer is known as the fat layer. Third-degree burns often damage hair follicles, sweat glands, nerve endings, and other tissues in the skin. These burns can be severely painful. But if pain-sensing nerve cells have been damaged, there may be little or no pain at first. These burns can cause severe scarring and usually need to be treated with skin grafts.
In many cases, burns to the head or singed hair are relatively minor and the scalp makes a full recovery. When it does, follicles typically begin producing hair again. Hair re-growth usually resumes once the scalp has healed, this usually means within three months. Lack of re-growth, especially a year after the incident, confirms scarring hence, the hair will not re-grow.
Though hair normally grows back of its own within six months, in some instances the hair’s pigmentation may continue to show signs of stress, with the resultant regrowth appearing white. If you’ve recently suffered from serious burns caused by a house fire, car accident, etc. that caused damage to the scalp, hair loss is inevitable.
We will share more about the cause, what you can do in our post.
So how do burn scars cause hair loss?
During the injury, the hair around the affected area is burnt away, and tissue and follicle damage occur beneath the scalp. Your hair follicles cannot stand heat higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even mild heat damage from a blow dryer, sunburn, and straighteners can cause damage to the hair follicles. Thinning occurs from follicle damage, as well, if heated hair styling tools are used too often. These are usually an example of first-degree burns.
Second and third-degree burns, however, cause far worse hair loss devastation. Second-degree burns are those that cause damage to the middle layer of your scalp’s skin. Composed of connective tissue, capillaries, lymphatic vessels, nerve endings, glands, and hair follicles, damage to the second layer of skin results in hair loss to some extent.
Third-degree burns damage the hypodermis of the skin which includes the bottom layer of subcutaneous tissue (including follicle roots) nerve, and blood vessels. Both second and third-degree burns cause scarring.
Scar Tissue and Follicular Damage
When scar tissue grows across a wound, it doesn’t replace lost hair follicles. Made up of abnormal collagen that accumulates in one area, they do not layer the same way regular skin does. Unscarred skin lines up in neat sheets, one on top of the other. Housing damaged follicles, abnormal collagen results in hair loss, and no re-growth.
When hair is burned, the outside layers of the hair, known as the cuticle, burn away leaving the hair's cortex exposed. If more heat is applied to the damaged hair, it becomes brittle and breaks off completely.
Once the hair's cortex is exposed, the hair begins to soak up moisture from the surrounding air to compensate for its loss. The additional moisture causes the hair to become frizzy. To help heal hair that has been burned by appliances such as curling irons, blow driers and flatirons, towel-dry the hair after washing it. Next, apply a heat protectant spray that contains panthenol to the hair, ensuring that the damaged and weakened areas are coated well before blow-drying the hair.
THINGS YOU CAN USE TO REPAIR HAIR DAMAGE AT HOME
Repair damage with an avocado
Here’s how to repair damaged hair with a common fruit you most likely have in your kitchen. Mash a ripe avocado (pit removed) with one egg, then apply this home remedy to wet hair. Avocados are rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals that will help restore luster to your dry hair, says Stephen Sanna, expert colorist at the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City. Leave on for at least 20 minutes, then rinse several times. Repeat once a week for damaged hair and once a month for healthy hair.
Condition Hair with olive oil
Put the moisture back into dry hair by warming up half a cup of olive oil (do not boil it), and then rubbing it into your hair. Cover tresses with a plastic bag, then wrap everything in a towel. Let this home remedy do its thing for 45 minutes, then shampoo and completely rinse.
Treat with botanical oils
Available at health food stores, olive, jojoba, and sweet almond oils are all wonderful elixirs for damaged hair. If your hair is thick and heavy, coconut oil works well. Dampen your hair and apply small amounts of the botanical oil until your hair is thoroughly covered. Top off with a shower cap and warm towel for about 30 minutes, then rinse and shampoo your hair out.
Rinse with tea
You may think of tea as a sore throat remedy, but you can also use it to give dry hair a natural shine. Use a quart of warm, unsweetened tea (freshly brewed or instant) as a final rinse after your regular shampoo. Tea can enhance hair color, so make sure to use a tea that works with your hair color. Blondes should use chamomile tea; black tea may darken their tresses. Brunettes should use black tea to enhance shine and enrich color.
Whip up an apple cider vinegar mask
This is how to repair damaged hair with apple cider vinegar (a must-have in everyone’s home). Put the life back into your limp or damaged hair with this terrific home remedy: Combine 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 egg whites, then rub the mix into your dry hair. Keep your hair covered for about a half-hour using plastic wrap or a shower cap, then shampoo and rinse.
The thing here is that for a hair to grow back after a burn injury has been sustained depends on the damage it has caused the scalp. Burnt hair is gone, it cannot come back. All you need to do is to remove part entirely and focus on treating the hair to return it to normal shape.
Why does burnt hair smell so bad? The keratin in our hair contains large amounts of cysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid. The sulfur is released and sticks to your nostril as it gets burnt.