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Dry and Rough Hair

By Jessica Armento ; Updated July 18, 2017

There are a variety of reasons for why hair may become dry and damaged. Usually dry, damaged hair is a result of poor hair handling techniques, but other factors like inadequate nutrition and illness may be responsible. The good news is that with patient and gentle hair care, dry and rough hair can be nurtured back to optimal health and condition.


Nutrition plays a vital role in the health of your hair. Assuming there are no underlying health conditions present, dry hair may be attributed to poor nutrition. A properly hydrated body will generally produce healthy and moisturized hair, so be sure that your water intake is adequate. According to, the body also needs nutrients like B vitamins and vitamins A, E and zinc to nourish the hair follicles and reduce the occurrence of roughened hair cuticles. Green, leafy vegetables are rich in these hair-friendly nutrients and should be regularly included in the diet.

Thermal Damage

Environmental factors will also affect the health and appearance of the hair. Heat damage is a common culprit in dry, roughened hair. According to, heated styling appliances zap the hair of precious moisture. If the hair is not deep conditioned regularly, moisture loss will become severe and lead to hair porosity issues. Lack of porosity affects later attempts to moisturize the hair and results in further dryness and breakage. Use heated styling appliances—like flat irons, hot curlers or blow dryers—sparingly.

Systemic Causes

Sometimes dry and rough hair are not directly related to improper hair care practices. Certain health conditions will affect the appearance and texture of the hair. According to, the health condition most commonly associated with dry, rough hair is thyroid disorder. The thyroid may be overactive or under-active. As the illness progresses, the texture and vitality of the hair may change. Menopause is another biological factor that commonly produces some change in hair texture, as is anemia, and intestinal disorders. Please consult with your health care provider if a health disorder is suspected.

Moisturizing Hair

Dry hair is thirsty hair and it needs deep moisturization. Moisturizing conditioners can help the hair cuticle lay flatter, which will improve the rough texture of the hair. Regular hair conditioning is a necessity for dry, rough hair. According to, a light oil, such as jojoba oil, can be used to condition and soften the hair after it has been properly conditioned. Commercial protein treatments can be used to strengthen the hair, but do not overload the hair with protein in an attempt to correct the hair's condition because too much protein will make the condition of dry, rough hair worse.


The best way to fight dry, rough hair is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. According to, hair should be handled gently and the usage of heated styling appliances should be ceased so that the integrity of the hair is preserved. Along with daily moisturizing serums, sulfate-free shampoos and regular conditioning, also recommends that hair be kept up and off the clothes and shoulders because friction from rubbing against those surfaces will produce split, dry, broken ends.

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