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Side parts are back. A dermatologist explains why switching your look is a good thing for hair health.

Health Talk: Hair loss
Health Talk: Hair loss 05:49

After years of the side part being dubbed "uncool," the look is having another moment in the spotlight in 2024 with stars like Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Eva Longoria sporting the style at recent events — and the switch-up is good news for your hair. 

Even Gen Z stars have moved away from the middle part recently, including Kylie Jenner, Olivia Rodrigo and Chloë Grace Moretz.

While where you part your hair should have no influence in how the hair grows, Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Westlake Dermatology, told CBS News that switching things up can help support hair health.   

"If you put your hair the same way all the time, then certain hairs are probably going to be subjected to repeat trauma," she explains. "So if you always put your hair in the middle, then you're probably going to always be flat-ironing those hairs more or it's going to receive the most heat from your hair dryer — and those kind of things can lead to more breakage of the hair shaft."

Left to right: Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner styled with side parts at recent events including the Grammy Awards and a French fashion show. Getty Images; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy; Arnold Jerocki/WireImage/Getty Images

In addition to hairstyling tools, your hair also undergoes exposure to other elements like pollution, the sun and sometimes drying products. 

"So switching it up absolutely can improve your hair health," Geddes-Bruce says. "You're giving those hairs a chance to sort of rest and not get broken or subjected to as much trauma... you're definitely minimizing the repeated exposure of those irritating agents to those same hairs."

Another popular hairstyle trend, the "clean girl" slicked-back bun popularized by celebs like Sofia Richie Grainge, is also an example of a style where you may want to change your part, too — or consider giving your scalp a break altogether with a different style. 

"Really tight hairstyles, those have definitely been proven to cause a form of hair loss called traction alopecia," Geddes-Bruce says. "Anytime your hair is pulled very tightly, the follicles can't stand the stress and it can lead to permanent hair loss. So if you're someone who always was very tight hairstyle, you should consider changing that up."

Sofia Richie attends the 66th GRAMMY Awards
Sofia Richie wears a center part and slicked-back bun at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 4, 2024 in Los Angeles. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

More tips for healthy hair and scalp

Not ready to part with your parting? That's OK — there are still ways to avoid damage.

"Half the battle is knowing that that's something that you're fighting against," Geddes-Bruce says. "So if you're someone who doesn't want to change up their hairstyle, knowing that you're subjecting those hairs (to repeat) trauma, you'll be more gentle with your styling."

Some ways to reduce breakage and irritation include avoiding combing your hair when it's wet and using a protectant on your hair before using hot hairstyling tools.

If you're someone who always wears the same part, taking care of that sliver of scalp that's exposed on a daily basis is also important.

"We see skin cancers on the scalp and pre-cancers on the scalp, even in women in their early 60s," Geddes-Bruce says. "So if you're someone who's been rocking that middle part your whole life, you better believe that that scalp is going to get more of the sun damage."

The best way to protect yourself? Shielding your scalp with sunscreen or a hat. 

"It's hard to always put sunscreen in your hair, but they make powder sunscreens now, you can just brush on really easily," Geddes-Bruce says.

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