Losing your hair is more than skin deep. It can have a dramatic effect on how others may see you – and how you see yourself. For many people, hair loss or thinning hair can result in loss of self-esteem and cause depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues.
Why is hair loss so devastating to men and women? It’s mostly cultural, physicians say. Almost every society in the world associates luxurious hair with youth, beauty, and good health. Their hair is what makes them feel beautiful. No wonder, a whopping 30% of the entire beauty-care products deals with hair-related problems
[Did you know that American Academy of Dermatology has declared August as National Hair Loss Awareness Month?]
From diet and stress to the more predominant genetic disorder, hair loss affects nearly 200 million people around the globe. For a healthy person, average hair growth is at the rate of one centimeter a month, and strong, shining hair is the resultant of healthy growth at the root cells. Due to hormonal irregularities or change in food habits, new cells cease to form and hair health deteriorates and hair starts to fall. Generally, the rate of hair fall is greater among men compared to women. Losing 40–60 strands per day while combing or washing is quite normal, but more than 100 strands per day is a sign of early balding and requires medical attention.
Top 5 Reasons for Hair Fall
- Heredity: It is suggested that heredity is a significant cause for hair fall. Genetic factors play a major role in shrinking hair follicles and thinning of hair. Studies conducted in the 1980s revealed that hereditary baldness and hair fall are predominantly seen in people who are above 45 years of age. But now, these are seen from 25 years of age itself.
- Stress: Physical and mental stress play their part in hair fall. Constant mental stress, deprivation of sleep or rest, situations like exam time, high fever or other sickness, surgery, sudden weight loss, etc, contribute to high rate of hair fall.
- Old age: With old age comes reduction in growth and anabolic functions, and the resultant weakness of the body is first reflected in hair growth.
- Diseases: Diseases like lupus, cancer, syphilis, psoriasis, and metabolic diseases like diabetes, thyroid dysfunctions, etc, induce hair fall. Diseases of the scalp also result in hair fall.
- Improper hair care: Collected dirt, dust, or chemicals in hair can induce hair fall. Certain hair accessories – including hairpins, clips, and rubber bands – can cause extensive hair breakage when they are used to hold your hair tightly in place. (Hair fall caused by such mechanisms is known as traction alopecia.) Certain types of colors, dyes, scalp relaxers, other chemical used in hair care, all result in hair fall. Environmental pollution and frequent washing of hair in either hot water or ice-cold water encourage hair fall.
How to Grow Healthy Hair?
- Diet: Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water, at least 15 glasses per day – this will make your hair shiny. Fruits, vegetables, sea fish, beef, butter, coconut, groundnut, cashew, potato, pepper, soya bean, olive oil, almonds, whole wheat, cow’s milk, oats, oranges, and minerals including silica, iodine, iron, zinc, and selenium are known to be good for healthy hair and should be included in your diet. Including mustard in food, amla, lettuce juice, spinach juice, amaranth leaves, alfalfa juice mixed with carrot, etc, promote hair growth.
- Medicinal management: The concept here is to treat the underlying disease which induces hair fall. There is effective treatment in homeopathy for dandruff and hair fall. Hair fall can be completely cured with treatments ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months. There are oils, shampoos, serums, and hair gels available in homeopathy which are effective and avoid recurrence of hair fall.
- Accessory Management:
- Regular massage on the scalp with fingertips improves the blood flow in the scalp and encourages hair growth. Massage your scalp 2 times a week with lukewarm oil or lukewarm coconut milk.
- Don’t comb your hair when it is wet. Also, heat from blow dryers can be extremely damaging to your hair and leave it susceptible to breakage. To reduce the risk of hair damage, let your hair air-dry and limit your use of dryers on hair.
- If you clean up your comb daily (wash and dry), it will help reduce formation of dandruff.
- Egg white is a good natural conditioner and it is healthy to rub your scalp with egg white twice a week.
- Wash your hair with water mixed with paste of neem leaves. Applying corn starch on scalp before bathing promotes healthy hair. Apply aloe vera gel mixed with lemon juice on the scalp. Mix powdered lemon seed and pepper, apply it on the scalp before bathing. Massage your scalp with olive oil.
- Less-intense shampoos are ideal for scalp, but daily or repetitive shampooing can actually damage your hair, causes it to easily break and leave it looking thin. To preserve the thickness and health of your hair, shampoo less often.
Hair Care Tips
- A healthy lifestyle will mean healthier hair for you. Excessive stress, smoking, not exercising, and not eating nutritiously are not healthy for your hair.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid using hair styling products with alcohol which dries out hair.
- Before entering a pool, wet your hair so your hair will soak up the initial water instead of the chlorinated water.
- Always brush/comb with a downward stroke, and avoid using plastic brushes with creates static electricity.
Sometimes, hair fall occurs because of factors that are beyond our control such as hormonal problems, genetics, or illness. But other times, our hair can become brittle, damaged, and prone to breakage, leading to visible hair loss. We may be able to prevent some hair loss and damage by taking steps to keep our hair and scalp healthy, such as taking dietary supplements, healthy scalp treatment, altering your hair care regimen, or seeking professional help to promote healthy hair growth. I guess we have realized that the best way to prevent hair fall is to do everything we can to maintain healthy hair and promote good hair growth.
Long live the hair!
[sws_green_box box_size=”600″] Article by,
Dr. NS Rajesh Kumar, BHMS, CFN MSc (DFSM)
Homeopathic medical officer in Holistic Medicine & Stress Research Institute, Medical College, Trivandrum.