6 Signs of Unhealthy Hair: Is Protein Deficiency Causing Them?

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

What exactly is unhealthy hair, and what causes it? Unhealthy hair is hair that is dry, dull, brittle, split, limp, faded, or dandruff-prone. One of the most overlooked causes of unhealthy hair is protein deficiency. Protein is the building block of your hair, and it plays a vital role in maintaining its structure and quality. 

Signs of Unhealthy Hair

This article explores six low protein symptoms and how to prevent and treat them. We will also discuss some common protein deficiency diseases and symptoms that can affect your hair health. 

  • Split Ends

Split ends are when your hair strands split into two or more parts. They happen when the outer layer of your hair gets damaged by friction, heat, or chemicals. Split ends make your hair look frizzy, dull, and uneven. They also stop your hair from growing longer and stronger. 

  • No Shine

Shine is when your hair reflects light and looks glossy. It shows that your hair cuticle, the outer layer of your hair, is smooth and healthy. Dull hair means that your hair cuticle is rough and damaged. It also means that your hair is dry and lacks moisture. To restore shine it is essential to add moisture to your hair.

  • More Tangles

Tangles are when your hair strands get twisted and knotted together. They form when your hair cuticle is rough and uneven, making your hair more prone to friction and breakage. Tangles show that your hair is rough and brittle and can lead to more damage and hair loss. 

  • Less Bounce

Bounce is when your hair has shape and movement. It shows that your hair has elasticity and strength, meaning it can stretch and return to its original form without breaking. Limp hair means that your hair has lost its elasticity and strength, making it look flat and lifeless. Limp hair can be caused by protein deficiency, as protein is essential for hair structure and quality. 

  • Misbehaving Color

Color is the appearance of your hair based on the pigment and porosity of your hair. The pigment is the natural or artificial color of your hair, and porosity is how well your hair absorbs and holds moisture and color. Fading or changing color means that your hair is unhealthy and damaged, as it loses its pigment and porosity due to sun exposure,  excessive heat styling, or chemical processing. 

  • Dandruff

Dandruff is when your scalp sheds flakes of dead skin cells. It relates to scalp health, as it can be caused by various factors, such as dryness, oiliness, fungal infection, or sensitivity to hair products. Dandruff indicates that your scalp is unhealthy and irritated, as it can cause itching, redness, and inflammation. 


Protein deficiency is one of the signs of unhealthy hair. Protein is an essential component of hair. Amino acids in proteins lend strength to the structure of the hair shaft. Its deficiency can make the hair weak, brittle, dry, and prone to breakage, also affecting hair quality. Without enough amino acids, the hair becomes thin, dull, and fragile.

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