Unexpected Things That Can Cause Coarse Hair

It's highly unlikely to find a shampoo or conditioner commercial that doesn't tout that their product will give you smooth and silky hair. It makes sense because having luxuriously healthy and soft locks is what almost everyone wants for their hair.

When hair is smooth and soft, it usually means it's healthy and has enough moisture to keep the strands well-nourished. Unhealthy hair often lacks moisture and can be flyaway, frizzy, have split ends, or look generally unwell. Hair texture can contribute to its ability to hold moisture.

Sometimes hair is coarse, meaning each individual strand is thicker and broader than average, as per MedicalNewsToday. It's actually different from thick hair which can appear plentiful due to the sheer number of strands rather than the make-up of strands themselves. In coarse hair, the strands are broader and wider in circumference and tend to be drier. The reasons for having coarse hair depend on a number of factors and some may be surprising.

Common causes of coarse hair

Coarse hair can occur as a result of genetics. If your family tends to have coarse hair, there is a good chance you will have it, too. You may also find that your hair becomes more coarse if you have a hormonal imbalance or thyroid issues, according to Healthline.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a common hormonal imbalance among people with ovaries. It is marked by high levels of androgens, including testosterone, which causes coarse hair on the head as well as body and facial hair. Per the journal Dermatoendocrinol, in hypothyroidism, a condition where the body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone, hair may not only become coarse and grow thicker but nails can also become thickened. 

Being iron-deficient or calcium deficient can also cause hair to become coarse. Sometimes, coarse hair can be a result of what is ingested. If you are taking steroids or medication aimed at increasing hair growth, that can also make hair coarse.

How to optimize coarse hair

Having coarse hair isn't necessarily a negative thing and with the proper care, it even has benefits. Though it tends to be dry simply because the thickness of the strands requires more oil to adequately nourish them, on the upside, it can hold a curl or wave more than fine hair (via The Right Hairstyles). Once you style it, it holds better and creates a natural volume. You also don't have to wash it as much as fine hair. The key is to keep it moisturized and a deep conditioning mask will do the trick to keep hair as smooth and soft as possible.

It's also important to make sure you properly protect your hair from heat. First, apply a heat protection spray before using any heat on your locks. Straightening your hair with a hairdryer rather than a flat iron is preferred since it uses less direct heat. If you must use a flat iron, keep the heat at the lowest temperatures and no higher than 350 degrees. Once styled use an anti-frizz smoothing cream or shine spray to pack in added moisture.