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Hair Breakage At Crown: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

With so many hair styling and colouring options now available, our hair is under more stress than ever. As a result, many people who use heat styling tools and other treatments start to see hair breakage on the crown.

Hair breakage can lead to noticeable patches of hair loss, so it’s important to address this issue quickly when you notice it to keep hair healthy.

In this article, learn all about the symptoms and causes of crown hair breakage. Then find out how you can fix hair breakage at the crown, promote healthy hair growth across your scalp, and hide any damage while your crown hair regrows.

Table of Contents

What is hair breakage?

Hair breakage happens when the hair shaft snaps in two, leaving shorter hair strands attached to the scalp, while the rest of the hair shafts come away. This differs from hair loss, where the entire hair shaft comes free from the follicle.

Symptoms of hair breakage include:

  • Hair that’s much thinner at the ends than the roots
  • Hairs that appear to be bent or broken
  • Fraying or bobbling of the hair shafts
  • Split ends (also known as trichoclasis)

You may also see snapped-off hair shafts coming away when you wash or brush your hair:

snapped off hair shafts
Short rootless hair fragments taken from a hair pull test [1].

Hair breakage on the crown can be harder to spot than breakage around the frontal hairline, as it’s harder to see in the mirror. So you might not notice crown hair breakage until it’s causing further problems like thinning or bald spots on the crown.

What does crown hair breakage look like?

Hair breakage at the crown will look different depending on its severity. In the early stages, you may not notice much difference, since you can’t see your crown in the mirror. If your hair is long enough to tie up, you might find some shorter, spikier hairs at the top of your ponytail.

As hair breakage gets worse, you’ll probably start to feel some thinning across the back of your head when you run your fingers through your hair. As more hair breaks off, it may lead to a lack of hair density:

hair breakage on crown
Hair breakage leading to slight lack of density on the crown [2].

Further hair breakage may lead to greater hair loss:

advanced crown hair loss
More advanced crown hair loss following hair breakage [2].
advanced hair breakage at crown
Advanced hair breakage and bald patches in a patient with a history of hair straightening [1].

What causes hair breakage at the crown?

There are several reasons why your hair could be breaking at the crown. These include:

  • Damaging styling practices.
  • Dyeing and bleaching your hair.
  • Hair loss conditions.
  • An underlying health condition that weakens your hair.

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

1. Damaging styling practices

Heat styling is a known trigger for hair thinning. Harsh or excessive styling practices can lead to hair breakage, especially at high temperatures [3]. This includes hair straightening, curling, and blow drying. So it’s a good idea to minimise these practices if you’re concerned about hair breakage.

2. Hair dye and bleach

Bleach is a hugely popular styling option among both men and women. However, it can do a lot of damage to your hair, especially if it’s used too often or without precautions [4].

Bleach permeates the hair shaft, damaging the hair cuticle and cortex. This can make hair become dry and brittle, which leads to breakage.

graphic of the structure of a hair follicle

3. Hair loss conditions

While hair loss and hair breakage are generally separate issues, certain types of alopecia have been linked with hair breakage [2].

Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of scarring alopecia, may cause crown hair breakage, particularly in women with Black hair types [2].

If you’re unsure whether your crown hair thinning is breakage or true hair loss, speak to a hair loss specialist for a diagnosis. They can reveal the underlying cause of your hair problems and help you find the right treatment to restore hair health.

Can illness cause hair breakage?

While hair breakage is much more likely to be caused by harsh styling, it’s possible that certain health conditions can make your hair more prone to breakage.

For example, eating disorders like anorexia may lead to hair loss and hair breakage, as your hair follicles don’t receive enough nutrients to produce healthy hair. Thyroid disorders may also cause brittle hair [5].

In addition, a lack of certain nutrients like protein and zinc can make hair more fragile, so it’s more likely to break or snap [6].

woman combing afro hair

Hair breakage at crown: Hair types

In general, Afro hair is more vulnerable to hair breakage at the crown than other hair types [7]. This may be due to the protective styling practices often used on Afro hair, as there’s no evidence of structural differences in Black hair compared with white and Asian hair.

If you have Afro hair, it’s especially important to take steps to protect your hair when styling it. For example, avoid tight hairstyles and use a heat protectant spray before using heat styling tools. People with all hair types should consider doing the same to prevent hair breakage, especially if you bleach or chemically treat your hair.

How do I stop my hair breaking at the crown?

To stop your hair from breaking off at the crown, you need to know what’s causing your crown hair breakage.

If you style, treat, or dye your hair regularly, these are the most likely culprits. The best way to stop your hair from breaking is to stop using any styling practices that might be making the problem worse.

This can be a tricky adjustment if you’re used to styling your hair a certain way, but it will pay off in the long run as your hair starts to regrow.

You can also use protective sprays when heat-styling your hair to minimise the risk of breakage.

However, if there’s no obvious reason why your hair might be breaking off, it’s important to get it checked out. You can find out if there’s an underlying reason why your hair is breaking off at the crown, then take the necessary steps to address it.

How to fix hair breakage at the crown

If the damage is already done, you may be wondering if there’s a way to fix crown hair breakage.

While it’s not usually possible to fix hair that’s already broken, you can treat your damaged hair to help it regrow in a healthy way. Here’s what you need to do to treat hair breakage.

Avoid using hair extensions

1. Avoid hair extensions

It might be tempting to hide your crown hair breakage with hair extensions, especially if you have longer hair.

However, hair extensions can lead to hair loss and make damaged hair worse, so avoid using them if your hair is already starting to break off.

use Minoxidil to promote hair regrowth after hair breakage on the crown

2. Use Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a hair loss treatment that promotes blood flow to the scalp. This improves the flow of nutrients to your hair follicles, ensuring healthy hair growth.

Applying a small amount of topical Minoxidil to your crown each day may also help speed up the hair regrowth process.

3. Trim your hair

You can prevent fractured hair shafts from getting worse by getting your hair cut regularly. Head to the hairdressers and ask them to give you a thorough trim to remove split and damaged ends. Find out more about split ends vs healthy hair.

How to hide hair breakage at the crown

While you’re waiting for your crown hair to grow back, you might want to hide the thinning hair and breakage at the back of your scalp. You can hide crown hair breakage by:

Can you regrow hair on the crown?

Can you regrow hair on the crown?

It’s often possible to regrow crown hair, even if you have severe hair breakage. Utimately this depends on the cause of breakage, and taking the right steps to stop further damage, giving your hair a chance to heal.

Solutions like Minoxidil and caffeine shampoo may help your hair grow back more quickly after breakage. However, you’ll still need to stop (or at least reduce) any harmful styling practices to avoid future hair breakage.

In the rare cases that hair breakage leads to sustained balding on the crown, a crown hair transplant may be your best option for regrowing crown hair. Find out about the costs of a crown hair transplant.

To find out what’s causing your crown hair breakage — and what you can do about it — book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic today.

Hair Breakage At Crown: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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