Does Bleaching Your Hair Make It Thin?
Bleaching your hair is a fun and easy way to switch up your hair color and add some highlights to an otherwise dark mane. However, it does not come without its fair share of risks, including hair thinning, hair loss, and bleach damage.
If you wish to know more about these effects—especially if bleaching can make your hair thinner—read on. We also share practical tips to manage bleach-related hair thinning. This will help you care for your hair and make it look thicker, stronger, and more voluminous, no matter its color.
Let’s jump right in!
Bleaching and Hair Thinning
Bleaching has been a very popular method for hair coloring for decades. It delivers fantastic color and keeps hair looking fresh and vibrant. If the bleaching process is done correctly and only once on healthy hair, it won’t lead to adverse side effects.
However, if bleaching is done poorly or repeatedly, it may cause hair strands to become dry, brittle, thin, or even fall out. Therefore, this method is not recommended for people who have already had it done before, or those whose hair is already damaged.
Moreover, bleaching alters the hair’s natural pattern. It lifts the outer cuticles to allow the bleaching agent to penetrate the hair shaft fully and change its color. The bleach reacts with melanin or the stable pigment molecules of the hair, which leads to a breakdown of the melanin and washes out the natural hair color.
Bleaching leads to loss of protein from the hair. Even the loss of minimal amounts can make hair strands look thinner. Hair thinning may be more noticeable with lighter hair.
Bleaching also weakens the hair strands by breaking down fatty acids in the hair shaft, causing permanent damage. It gets worse if the hair is bleached multiple times and for extended periods. Successive bleaching sessions can lift the cuticles permanently and lead to continuous moisture loss.
Damage from bleaching is not only permanent; it also continues to build up over time. This is because weakened hair strands will not be able to combat new damage with each successive bleaching session.
You may also experience temporary hair loss if:
- You get chemical burns from the bleaching agent, which then damages your scalp and hair follicles.
- Your hair was already unhealthy or damaged before the bleaching session, leading to further hair damage and breakage.
- The bleach solution made your scalp sore and inflamed.
Tips to Prevent Hair Thinning Due to Bleaching
It is crucial to take precautions before, during, and after a bleaching treatment to prevent hair damage.
Here are a few things that can help you avoid hair thinning and loss due to bleaching:
● Undergoing successive chemical treatments for your hair can lead to irreparable damage. If you recently got your hair colored or used perms or relaxers, get the bleaching treatment after a week or two to help your strands recover.
● Use moisturizing and repairing hair products to bring your hair back to balance and restore its health. This will help strengthen and fortify it against the bleaching treatment.
● Do not wash your hair for 72 hours before bleaching. This will give the natural oils on your scalp sufficient time to coat and protect your scalp and strands. Do not even use gentle shampoos during that time, as they may strip away natural oils.
● Before the bleaching procedure, do a patch test on a small section of your hair to check for allergies or sensitivity to the bleaching product.
● To avoid hair damage, get your hair bleached professionally by an experienced colorist instead of doing it on your own at home.
● Make sure the bleach is not left on your scalp and hair for too long to prevent chemical burns and other hair problems.
● The bleaching mixture must be balanced well to prevent damage to your scalp and hair.
● Hair that is bleached has a higher porosity and is more prone to damage from heat-styling tools. So, avoid using blow dryers, flat irons, curlers, and other heat-based styling tools right after bleaching your hair.
● Avoid brushing your hair after the treatment. It can make the damage worse and cause more hair loss.
● Avoid overly tight or severe hairstyles.
● Use conditioning and volumizing hair care products to restore moisture and thickness. These will strengthen your hair strands.
● Keep your scalp clean and exfoliate it once or twice a week.
● Massage your scalp regularly to increase oxygen and blood flow. This will help your hair follicles remain healthy and improve the thickness and volume of your hair strands.
● Maintain a healthy diet. Foods that boost hair health include fatty fish, dark leafy greens, citrus, eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, and carrots.
Excessive or improper bleaching methods can cause significant hair damage and hair thinning. With the proper precautions, you can avoid or limit the occurrence of hair thinning, hair loss, split ends, and other hair woes and keep your crown looking healthy and happy.