The problem of hair loss seems to be quite common these days. The reason for this may be increasing stress or even pollution. Some of the common causes of hair loss are stress, nutritional deficiencies, dandruff, oily scalp, illness, thyroid or hormonal imbalances, hair damage caused by chemical lotions and heat applications. In men, hair loss can be due to hormonal factors. It is called “male pattern baldness.”
We tend to think that hair loss and hair breakage are the same, but they are not. Hair breakage happens when the hair shaft breaks off. This can happen due to the use of chemical lotions, heat applications, tying the hair with rubber bands, dryness and split ends, wire brushes and rollers.
Hair loss, on the other hand, happens when the hair falls off from the root. Obviously, hair loss should cause more concern. However, one should remember that 50 to 100 hair falling off daily is quite normal. Hair grows in cycles and each hair has its own cycle. That is why all the hair do not fall off together. If the rate of replacement slows down, the hair becomes thinner.
If you are facing hair loss, try to find out which causes may apply to you. For instance, age may be an important factor. Older women face the problem of thinning hair during the menopausal years. Men should consider if hair loss is hereditary in the family. Consider instances of illness, thyroid imbalance, or regular use of permanent hair dye.
I am often asked if too much hair washing can lead to hair loss. It is not washing of the hair, but the product one uses, that can have a detrimental effect. Wash hair according to hair type and season.
In hot and humid weather, the hair should be washed more often, in order to remove sweat, dirt and oil deposits. Oily hair may be washed three or four times a week. For dry hair, wash twice a week. In modern times, cleansing of the hair has assumed importance, to remove chemical air pollutants.
It is important to choose the right products. Harsh products disturb the normal acid-alkaline balance. They stimulate the scalp further, leading to a build-up of dead cells on the scalp. Dandruff can get aggravated. If your work entails travelling long distances, wash the hair more frequently, using less shampoo. If there is excessive oiliness, a hair rinse should also be used.
Among hair care products, one needs shampoo or hair cleanser, along with conditioner or hair rinse. If the hair is oily a hair rinse is better. For dry hair, a creamy conditioner may be used. Leave-on conditioners are also available. You may also need hair oil, herbal hair tonic and hair pack. Select products containing herbs like amla, shikakai, reetha, brahmi, bhringaraj, arnica, trifala, hibiscus (gurhal or javakusuma), bael, neem and sandalwood. They have healing properties and offer the element of safety. We have found a non-oily herbal hair tonic, containing ingredients like trifala, amla, brahmi have helped in controlling hair loss. In fact, brahmi helps stress-related conditions.
Clinical treatments are also available. These help to stimulate the hair follicles. Blood circulation to the scalp also improves. During clinical treatments, hair tonics are also applied and steamers are used for greater absorption.
As nutritional deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss, the diet is very important. A nutritious diet helps healthy hair growth, since the hair is fed by the nutrients in the blood stream. I would recommend taking a small bowl of sprouts daily. Sprouts contain amino acids which are beneficial to the hair.
Include fresh fruits, raw salads, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and curd in daily diet. If the scalp is oily, or if there is dandruff, drink plenty of water. Add lemon juice to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.
Try to reduce stress. Learn yoga and practice it daily, including deep breathing exercises. Learn relaxation techniques. They help to reduce stress and thus control hair loss.