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Can hair dryers damage my hair?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Using a hair dryer too much can cause damage to your hair by drying it out and breaking it. To limit how much you use a blow dryer, let your hair air dry partially before you use the hair dryer. This can even give your hair more body. (Don't vigorously towel dry wet hair, as this can cause wet hair to break). If you don't need the blow dryer every day, don't use it.

Today's commercially available hair dryers are relatively safe to use on one's hair. However, any mechanical manipulation of the hair does introduce risk for damage to the hair. A few simple guidelines can help minimize the likelihood of damaging your hair through the use of a hair dryer. When drying your hair with handheld hair dryer, you should continuously move the device so that the temperature does not build up in any one place. Temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit irreversibly damage hair fibers. Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair, so manipulate your hair gently while using the dryer. Also, do not dry your hair completely with the dryer, but rather let the last bit of moisture dry naturally. This minimizes the risk of damaging your hair through over drying it.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The extreme heat from hair-dryers (and from curling irons) causes the water under the cuticles (the outermost layer of the hair) to form bubbles that stress and break the hair. The tiles that cover the hair dislodge and your hair handles water like an unroofed house. You'll get those dreaded split ends and your collie's hair will outshine yours. It's best to blot hair dry with towel and then use low heat if you use a dryer. Your hair is actually most vulnerable when it's wet, and you should treat your hair almost like you would a silk blouse - don't iron it or heat it up to extremes. Also, it's smart to use a brush with smooth or rounded teeth or bristles, which will massage the hair and scalp without damaging them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.