I’m not sure what the scientific reason for split ends is… I suppose that for some reason the bonds holding the hair shaft together get weakened at the ends. It’s basically damage to the hair.
From a practical stand, you get split ends when you do things like dying your hair, using straightners, exposing your hair to too much sunlight… any harsh treatment that damages your hair.
Thank goodness you can just get them cut off!
The scientific name for split ends is “trichoptilosis” – coming from the Greek for hair and, bizarrely, ‘falling out of the eyelashes’. A split end occurs when the hair shaft (the part of the hair which shows above the skin surface) splits apart due to some physical stress – such as breaking the hair by yanking it with a comb. Excessive use of chemicals on the hair, like dyes or perms, can remove some of its protective layers, making it more prone to splitting.
There is, apparently, no treatment for split ends other than cutting the hair. So there you go!
Hair cells aren’t alive like most of the other cells in your body, so when they get damaged they can’t repair themselves and we get split ends. I don’t know why the damage is split ends rather than breaking off or something. I guess it must be something to do with the structure of hairs?