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Hair Damage Under the Microscope

Avatar • Oct 7, 2011

By Cassidy of Natural Selection

Last week Stephanie, our transitioner who won the Komaza Consultation and Regimen, sent a few samples of her hair to Rene for an up-close-and-personal checking out under the hair microscope. When I saw the resulting images of her relaxed ends beneath the microscope, my jaw dropped.  It was bittersweet to see hair in such amazingly, awesome detail, but also a bummer to see splits, breaks, and knots.  I have never really seen hair this magnified, but what it showed was just how damaging relaxers can be. Here’s a peek at the pix and what Rene had to say about it:

(Note: all images are about 1.5 inches up from the end)

Please do not stress when you see the images. This kind of damage is to be expected of your relaxed hair. The stress break (where the hair looks untethered) can be the result of a few things such as wet combing/brushing your relaxed hair, overprocessing, and from styling. This is why your hair didn’t feel smooth. This can also happen with your natural hair if you dry comb/brush, use a bristle brush, and constant tension (like braiding or pulling into a ponytail). 

 

It is also time for you to have another trim. Your ends are beginning to split. You will be able to see it in the first image of slide 2. The 2nd image of slide 2 is another split that is located 1/2 inch up from the end. The 3rd image of slide 2 is an image of the single strand knot (there is an air bubble in the center if this image, I apologize). The knot is located 1 inch above the end.

 


This is a serious break about an inch up and then a stress break about 1/4 inch above the end of of the hair (scientific names for this type of breakage=trichorrhexis nodosa)

 

I am surprised to see that you have fairy knots/single strand knots (scientific name= trichonodosis) in your relaxed hair since this is usually an issue for wavy to curly hair. It can also be from a vitamin & iron deficiency, but since I have seen that your hair is very damaged I would guess it is because your hair is weak. Please do not start an iron supplement unless it is advised by your doctor. Too much iron can cause serious health issues.

 

These images show why we need to use protein even when you are natural. Protein protects the hair from styling, combing/brushing, washing, even sun exposure. These things and more are causes of protein break down in our hair which leads to weakness, breaks, split ends, and open cuticles.

The end diagnosis was that Stephanie needs to cut off at least 2 inches of hair where the damage is the worst and keep up with the protein treatments so as to further protect the existing hair.  I really thought these pictures were fascinating in how they show the tangible evidence of what chemically altering the keratin bonds of the hair can make it susceptible to.  Stay tuned for the continued progress of Stephanie and her transition!

Wow. These images are incredible! What are your thoughts ladies?
For more informative hair articles check out Natural Selection.

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Dasia
8 years ago

I would love to have one of these done on my hair. She’s lucky!

Adriii
Adriii
8 years ago

I have natural hair, but can see that my hair has quite a few knots without a microscope. I’ve given up on worrying about them b/c you can’t tell they’re there and I prefer having long hair that looks and feels nice- and not be a slave to braid/twistouts or protective styles (LOVE the wash and go!)- than trying to prevent the inevitable. If it’s extremely coily, it will knot. Luckily don’t have breakage, but have seen a lot of women on here complaining about breakage issues. All this to say while the woman’s hair is obviously damaged, I wouldn’t… Read more »

Jeanna
Jeanna
8 years ago

This is amazing! I didn’t think protein treatments were that important, but now I see that I really need to add them to my regimen. When I take down these braids, I will definitely do a treatment and deep condish!

VivatheDivaTV
8 years ago

Wow! I am definitely upping my protein treatment regimen after seeing this! 1 week deep condition, next week protein treatment + deep condition! =)

Thanks for the great advice once again!

foxyr
foxyr
8 years ago

I recently used a protein treatment in my hair and my hair immediately felt stronger, so I would agree that protein treatments should not be brushed off by most naturals. It can help one retain more length, due to less breakage.

Sande
Sande
8 years ago

I remember looking at my relaxed hair under a microscope about ten years ago. The damage was so bad in contrast to my natural roots that I decided then and there to give up on relaxers.

sabino
8 years ago

The only reason this is necessary is due to the fact that hair products will never resolve hair issues because hair is dead. BUT, go to http://www.gotfrizz.com. Read and watch the videos if you want to learn what hair and hair products can and can’t do.

niktopnotch
niktopnotch
8 years ago

These pics of hair was very interesting and helpful. I’ve been having a lot of “fury knots” and had no idea where they came from and why I was getting them. I just got about 4 inches cut off my hair yesterday due to all these knots. I most def will look into protein treatments.

morganista
morganista
8 years ago

Do you know wha kind of microscope she used. I want to do this on my hair.

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