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While hair loss and thinning are caused by many factors (such as natural aging, poor diet, genes, etc), you might find that this loss can be exacerbated with the frequent use of heated styling tools. We checked in with beauty and health experts to learn more about 3 common mistakes many people with thinning hair make when drying their tresses that could inadvertently worsen the appearance of their scalp. Read on for tips and suggestions from Dr. Paula Morgan, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FAAD, dermatologist and medical consultant for Better Goods, and Melissa Gilbert, esthetician and hair expert at Fantastic Services.

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Mistake #1— Forgetting Heat Protectant

One of the most common mistakes many of us make, Morgan says, is forgetting to use heat protectant before taking a hot tool to our wet strands. When our hair is wet, Morgan explains, it is in its most vulnerable state, and taking an extremely hot blow dryer directly to your tresses can cause major damage. “If you use a blow dryer, I suggest to let the hair air-dry as much as possible,” she says. “Resist the temptation to style it with heat unless necessary.” While many who use blow dryers use the tool in a rush or find that avoiding this tool is not possible, Morgan adds that this is where heat protectant comes in. “Always use heat protecting products before using any hot styling tools,” she advises. Heat protectant can come in sprays, serums, oils, etc.

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2. Using a Blow Dryer Setting That Is Too Hot

While blow drying your locks, you’ll notice that there are multiple settings and heat preferences. One major mistake when it comes to your hair health, Gilbert stresses, is using the hottest setting frequently as this can damage your hair even more. “Be careful of how you’re using your blow-dryer because you can end up ruining your hair,” Gilbert says, “Don’t use rough techniques such as pulling harshly with a comb or using the highest setting on heating tools.” Thin hair, she adds, is already weak, which makes it easier to break off when wet. “When possible, leave your hair to dry naturally and avoid heat treatment,” she continues. “Alternatively, reduce the temperature of your hair dryer or straightening iron and always use heat protection. Everything you do to your hair, do it gently.”

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#3— Roughly brushing while drying

As mentioned earlier, your hair is much more fragile and delicate when wet. Many of us use round brushes while blow-drying in an attempt to detangle and style faster, but Gilbert warns that using too much force can cause even more hair loss. “When using a hair dryer, avoid running a brush through your hair continually,” she explains, “This will add pressure to the root, which could cause the hair to thin even further.” Instead, Gilbert recommends waiting until it’s nearly dry, then using a brush at the very end to finish the style. “Round-brush your roots away from your head for an extra lift,” she concludes, adding to “simply loop your hair around the brush and lift it upward.” Good to know!

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