Every day you are noticing the change- the receding hair line and the increasingly sparse mop of hair on your head. From a head full of thick hair, you have watched your hair fall slowly and consistently and now every strand of hair found on your comb causes pain….
Even after trying all types of hair conditioners, shampoos and oils, your hair fall is not in control. The situation is moving from bad to worst and you very well fear that very soon, you will lose all your hair…
Before you lose all your hair just fretting about hair loss, we try to explain the reasons for your hair fall and give you simple tips to control this hair fall.
Hair Growth and Cycle
Whenever we want to look at how much our hair’s grown, we look at the hair ends but it is the roots of the hair where the actual growth takes place. In fact the entire process of hair growth takes place very gradually taking around 2 to 3 years with every strand growing just about 1 centimeter every month!
Hair cycle takes place in two phases- resting phase when the hair follicle does not grow and the growing phase. At any given time most of our hair is going through growing phase and only about 10% is in the resting phase. After 2 years of growing, our hair strand goes through the resting phase for 3 to 4 months and then falls off.
Thus, losing some hair every day is natural but if you are losing more than 40-50 strands then, you are having a hair fall problem.
Causes of Hair loss
Though after our hair comes out of the scalp it is dead protein, its growth is depended on a number of reasons and hair loss is one of the indicators of underlying ill health. Here are some of the reasons for hair loss.
Nutritional deficiencies: One of the common reasons for hair fall is dietary deficiencies. Our hair follicles or hair roots require adequate nutritional for proper growth and development and if you deprive them of nutrients, your hair will be weak. Those who go on crash diets or vegans who lack proper protein content in their diet may suffer from hair fall due to nutritional deficiency. Thinning of hair is also a common symptom of iron deficiency.
Hormonal Imbalance: Hormones play an important role in regulating the bodily processes; any abnormality in hormonal system thus affects the entire system. So, conditions like Hypothyroidism (low levels of Thyroid), Hyperthyroidism (high levels of Thyroid), PCOD (abnormal levels of androgen or male hormone as well FSH, LSH), Diabetes (low levels of insulin) may lead to hair loss. To detect the cause of your hair loss you may have to undergo some check-ups to rule out hormonal irregularities.
Even mothers who have delivered their baby may experience hair loss after few months as the hormones during pregnancy prevent hair loss during that time and after delivery when these hormones come back to normal, the hair loss resumes at once.
Stress: Stress is one the triggers for hair fall. Any event that causes emotional stress be it happy or sad events cause hair loss. This is because; as we undergo stress many of our hair roots go into the resting phase and they all fall together in the next few months which causes sudden hair loss.
Other condition called as Alopecia, is caused due to stress, where the white blood cells start attacking the hair follicles that causes them to fall off within few weeks. This starts with a patch and eventually increases to the entire scalp unless the stress factor is reduced.
Illness: A long term illness will take a toll on your body and can trigger hair loss. In fact, 3 months after a major surgery or illness, you experience hair loss as many hair follicles or roots go in the resting phase together and then fall off. This type of hair loss corrects itself if you return back to good health.
Medication: Many medications, almost 200 of them, list hair loss as one of their side effects. The common medications that cause hair loss are blood thinners, blood pressure medication, anti depressants etc. So, if you notice sudden hair loss after starting a new medication, consult your doctor and change your medication.
Hair Styles and treatment: Chemically treating your hair may give you great looking hair but may invite long term hair loss. Bleaching, coloring, perming and straightening your hairs affect the hair shaft and hair follicle (root) making them weak. Also if you are in the habit of tying your hair too tight, you can damage the hair roots and cause their weakening even causing a condition called as Traction alopecia.
Here are some of the ways to stop hair fall
What’s the cause: The first step in treating your hair loss is detecting the root cause of it. If your hair loss is caused due to some medication then changing the medication will solve the problem. On the other hand if the problem is due to hormonal imbalance you need to first regulate hormonal levels through treatment to stop hair loss.
Dietary changes: The most effective solution to stop Hair loss is having a well balanced diet. So include these foods which are good for hair growth.
- Protein rich foods: Your Hair strand is made of protein, hence a diet rich in proteins will help its growth. So, eat protein rich foods like- soy products, milk, cheese, paneer, beans, pulses, chicken and eggs to get adequate protein. Also, ensure that you eat at least one protein rich food with each meal. You can even snack on pumpkin seeds, cashews and flax seeds (alsi) which are all good sources of protein.
- Iron rich foods: A deficiency of iron in the blood leads to anemia which severely affects hair growth. Consumption of iron rich foods like oysters, mussels, shrimp, turkey, pumpkin seeds, cooked beans, lentils and iron fortified breakfast cereals will help reduce the deficiency. Foods like broccoli, orange, tomato help the absorption of iron so have more of these.
- Others: Deficiency of Zinc and copper also lead to hair fall so eat more of seafood, meat, dairy products, eggs for zinc and legumes, cereals and green vegetables for their copper content.
Supplements: If eating a balanced, nutritious meal is not possible for you; your doctor may prescribe supplements for you. B complex tablets are good for hair growth and so are vitamin A and vitamin E tablets, however consult your doctor before taking them and remember that supplements can never replace well balanced meals, so eating right should be your main motto.
Hair Styling tips:
- Do not style your hair when they are wet as wet hairs are vulnerable and can fall easily.
- Do not use a blow dryer as blow drying also damages the hair shaft.
- Do not vigorously rub your hair with towel either as it can also harm your hair roots.
- Be careful when you are straightening, perming or coloring your hair as the chemicals used can affect your hair quality and growth. Go to a hair salon for these treatments as we tend to use too much of chemicals at home and often do not follow the right procedure. If you are doing these hairstyles remember to moisturize you hair well as these treatments tend to dry out the hair.
Oiling your hair after a good hair massage stimulates growth by increasing blood circulation in the scalp. It also moisturizes hair and some oils have properties which aids hair growth.
Amla or Goosebery: Amla is excellent hair tonic which enriches hair follicles and helps hair pigmentation. Boil some coconut oil and add dried amla pieces in it, until they are charred. Apply this oil twice a week.
Coconut oil with curry leaves: Boil coconut and put few curry leaves in the oil till the curry leaves burn and turn black. Pour this oil in a bottle and use it twice a week. Curry leaves promotes hair growth and prevents premature graying of hair.
Some of these home remedies have been passed over since the ages and are still proven to be effective against hair fall.
- Apply a paste of fenugreek or methi seeds and urad dal or black beans three times in a week.
- Licorice or Jethimadh is excellent for hair growth as it helps the secretion of female hormone estrogen and stops hair loss. A paste of licorice with milk should be applied to the scalp to promote hair growth.
- You can also apply coconut oil mixed with lime juice which is effective for treating hair fall.
The problem of Hair Fall is increasing as never before basically due to three reasons- too much stress, too many chemicals and bad dietary habits. So in order to get our thick mane of hair back we need to counter the ill effects of the above by dealing with stress in a better way, reducing the chemical products that we use and eating a nutritious healthy diet. With all of these in place, we will have silky, shiny hair back!