What causes matted hair? And how to fix it

what causes matted hair

Matted hair can make you feel very insecure, especially what the situation is bad. If you are looking for causes and solutions to matted hair, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we tell you all you need to know. So stop worrying and start reading!

What is matted hair?

Matted hair is a combination of attached, healthy hair and shedding hair that is entwined. They are not your regular hair knots though, they are far worse. Matted hair can look like a bush or as a web of knots.  

This problem can make you feel insecure and can even give you depressed feelings. But the biggest concern is infections that can be caused by matted hair.

What causes matted hair?

There are a number of things that can cause matted hair (source):

  • Neglected hair care
  • Poor hygiene
  • Infection
  • Severe illness
  • Illness caused by lice
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis and psoriasis
  • Damaged hair cuticles
  • Keeping hair extensions in longer than advised

Depression also seems to be a big reason for this problem. Some people with depression completely neglect their hair care or hygiene, which leads to matted hair.

A lot of damaged hair cuticles can also cause matted hair. The lifted cuticles cause more friction, which eventually can lead to matted hair.

So sometimes matted hair suggests some serious health issues, other times it suggests that you should take better care of your hair or care for your hair in a different way than you are doing right now.

Some people are more prone to matted hair than others. People who don’t comb their hair that often, girls with curly hair, for example, are more likely to get matted hair. The shedded hairs will twist around the attached hair and after a few times, this will cause a tangle that is really stuck.  

These hair types are more prone to matted hair:

  • Heat damaged hair
  • Sun-damaged hair
  • Curly hair
  • Fragile hair that is prone to breakage
  • Damaged, bleached hair
  • People who use hairspray, mousse or gel on a daily basis

How to fix it

First, decide if you should see a doctor to rule out serious health issues.

Next, you can either call in the help of a professional or choose to try and treat your hair at home.

What you will need:

  • Hair detangler
  • Conditioner
  • Oil (argan, maroccan, etc.)


  1. Start with washing your hair with a shampoo and a conditioner. Preferably use a conditioner that removes tangles.
  2. Let it sit in your hair for 20-30 minutes, before rinsing it out.
  3. Using your fingers, go gently through your hair, loosening it up a bit.
  4. Next, divide your hair into small strands.
  5. Using the detangler, comb softly through your hair. Strand by strand.
  6. When you are done, apply some oil to your hair.
  7. Don’t force yourself to get all the tangles and knots out all at once. Just repeat the routine if necessary. 

To prevent this problem from happening again, you should take extra good care of your hair. Your hair easily gets damaged because of heat, bleaching, extensions, or something else. Think about these three things: moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize. Use conditioner every time you wash your hair. And make sure you remove shedding hairs frequently.

And if you see the tangles coming back, repeat the routine above as quickly as possible. Before it gets worse and worse. Because in the worst-case scenario, you will have to shave your head. YIKES! But don’t worry, most of the time it won’t get to that.

Final words

So in short, if you suffer from matted hair, you should consider what the cause is. Are you depressed and stopped taking care of your hair? Or did you damage your hair using heat, bleach, or extensions? Or do you think it’s a serious illness?

If it is the latter, you should go see your doctor. Otherwise, go see a professional or treat your hair at home, using a detangler, conditioner, and hair oil. And make sure to treat your hair better in the future!

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