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Your Dermatologist Likes Your Hair Wavy

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, you should never set your flat iron to its highest heat. At their Summer Academy Meeting at the end of last month, dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani presented information on the potentially long-term damage caused by even the newest ceramic heat tools. Once you hear what actually happens to your strands when they come in contact with extreme heat, you might embrace your natural curls.

To find out, just


The AAD says:

Temporary hair straightening using a flat iron is achieved by applying heated tongs to the length of the hair. This heat breaks and then reforms the hydrogen bonds in the inner core of the hair fiber. Dr. Mirmirani noted that while the goal of straightening is to alter the inner substance of the hair, the unwanted consequence may be damage to the outer protective cuticle, causing weathering, damage, and eventual hair breakage.

Hair weathering or damage is usually characterized by dry ends or flyaway hair. However, if breakage occurs, it can happen anywhere along the length of the hair and cause a shaggy or skimpy appearance to the hair. When this occurs, flat-iron users may use the device even more frequently to try to tame the broken or uneven appearance of their hair — which can lead to more damage.

What a vicious cycle! Mirmirani advises never to set the temperature above 347°F (175°C), or on low/medium and to use protective products. So while you don't need to give up all of your heat tools per se, at least be smart about the way you're using them.


Join The Conversation
WhitneyGH WhitneyGH 9 years
These dermatologists have obviously not met my hair. My hair is naturally jet black, super-thick, very coarse (to the point where it hurts me if it rubs against my bare skin too much), thanks to my Native American heritage. But I didn't get the straight Indian hair, oh no - I had to get the wavy/curly, frizzy texture from my Irish heritage. When my hair is long (at least a couple of inches below my shoulders), it usually dries naturally in manageable waves that can be quite pretty. However, it is thick, and I live in Alabama, where it gets very hot in the summer, so I'm always chopping it off during the hot months. When it's medium-length, my hair spazzes out and will NOT dry naturally in any sort of style that could be called non-clown-like. Hence the need for a flat iron. And I'm sorry, but there's no way a flat iron on low/medium is going to make a dent in that coarse, thick mane of mine. I do my best with heat protecting sprays/creams and limited use of the iron, but that baby's gotta be cranked up to a heat level that can only be compared to the center of the sun.
bananabrains bananabrains 9 years
haha. i think anyone who has ever put a curling iron, straightener to their hair knows this. but like others have said, some people just don't look good with curly,wavy hair. i straighten my hair every day. and true be told, yeah i do have little hairs that stick up at the top but i don't care. it's not like hair doesn't grow back, or split for other reasons. this article made no difference to what i'm going to do with my hair. :D
plasticine1 plasticine1 9 years
Angelica Angelica 9 years
Oh no! I am in trouble!
sldc sldc 9 years
Eh... okay, that phrasing was redundant. I need to step away from the laptop about now.
WiCkeD_LaDy WiCkeD_LaDy 9 years
thats so true I used to have very natural, looking curls, now i have it weird, but I love how my highlights look when my hair is super straight.
sldc sldc 9 years
And this is going to stop me after all of these years? I think I have figured out by now the limits of my hair by now.
xojennifer xojennifer 9 years
It doesnt take anyone super smart to know that :) I found that out by myself. My hair used to be so easy to manage, and then of course I had to start using my straightener, and now my hair is impossible. It is getting somewhat better, now that im out of high school and I dont straight my hair every single day. I also use this sunsilk cream, the purple bottle, which makes my hair a lot less frizzy, that way I dont have to blow dry it.
sunny1intucson sunny1intucson 9 years
I also think this is kind of a "duh" statement. Isn't this common sense?
socialitebabe socialitebabe 9 years
Well I always knew it was damaging but I hate my curls! I try to make up for it though. I use Bed head Split end mender and Rusk Calm shampoo and conditioner and once a month I sit under a heating cap with conditioner to help.
swertygirl swertygirl 9 years
My extremely curly hair is resistant to all forms of straightening, so I learned my lesson about 17 years ago (after I had to chop off ALL my hair from a botched hair straightening experience). I honestly love my curly hair. For me - the most important thing with curly hair is finding the right products to use in it. If you have the right products, your hair looks amazing. And to me - healthy hair is beautiful hair, no matter the way it looks.
Ava-Gardner Ava-Gardner 9 years
Ha, I use curling irons all the time, I can't bear my straight hair!
LoveSarah LoveSarah 9 years
I read some where that you can tell if your flat iron is too hot by taking one sheet of toilet paper and putting it between the plates for a couple of seconds. If it turns yellow, it's too hot for your hair. If it stays the same color, then you should be fine. I'm not sure if that is true or not, but I straighten my hair a lot and I use that method and my hair seems alright.
SleepyCorinne SleepyCorinne 9 years
What are some good heat-protecting products that you have used? I really liked the VO5 heat spray, but wanted to try something different with the Tresemme stuff. I didn't like it as much and am on the lookout once again... Bella Donna, what's cold straightening? Or TR?
cottonpoots cottonpoots 9 years
Guilty! I do it probably about 2x a week during the summer, but once I get back to school, it's an everyday habit for me. The information given is nothing new to me, but I still do it anyway. :(
caryatid caryatid 9 years
love my curly hair, wouldn't trade it ever!
ChristinaMUFE ChristinaMUFE 9 years
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I actually prefer my curly so I only straighten it like once or twice a year.
juliarose23 juliarose23 9 years
i am just about to order a new hair straightener, but i think i will also order some heat protecting spray...
ikimashokie ikimashokie 9 years
Hrm. The darn thing only seems to work if I put it on flamethrower. Guess I will just continue not wearing hats. :(
Bella-Donna Bella-Donna 9 years
Hmm.. discomforting info indeed. I got my freaky hair cold-straightened (cheaper & less damaging unlike TR) that just got the curl/wave out but didn't make it pin-straight. Never allowed an iron near me except my last TR years ago. Been using blowdryer with FF's Ironless balm and Nexxus' Sleek Memory, with teeny-tiny bit of Aveda's antifrizz pomade on frizz-prone areas. The results are natural looking straight hair that stay put even in southern humidity! Me is very happy :P
emalove emalove 9 years
Good thing I have straight hair naturally!
ImJessica ImJessica 9 years
I used to flat iron my hair nearly every day, and have since been (trying!) to love my naturally wavy/curly hair. I'm getting there, though.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
I have a maxiglide and relaxed hair.. I'm still trying to find that right temperature so it can be effective and not fry my hair off....
GossipAngela GossipAngela 9 years
my hair use to be so soft and straight before I got addicted to the straightening iron. now its wavy in a bad way. I wake up in the morning and my hair has these bumps and my hair is so frizzy.
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