Hair Loss: Causes, Prevention & Treatments
Beautiful shining hair is akin to beauty & health. However, many people experience unjustified hair loss, which negatively affects their social life and self perception. Hair loss can be attributed to several reasons including hormone changes, dandruff, exposure to chemicals, side effects of strong medications, side effects of radiation, etc. Sometimes hair loss can be the most visible aspect of some serious diseases, inadequate nutrition, or serious physical conditions.
Causes of Hair Loss
- Stress & associated hormone changes
- Side effects of some medicines
- Ill health of liver, kidney and other internal organs
- Dandruff & other skin diseases
- Incomplete nutrition – lack of proteins, minerals (like zinc) & vitamins
- Exposure to chemicals
- Excess use of shampoo, soap
- Application of too much or too little oil
Kinds of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be classified into different kinds according to the nature of hair loss.
Alopecia areata is characterized by loss of hair in circles. This is mainly induced by stress and mental trauma. Certain physical conditions like Systematic Lupas Erythematosus (SLE) can also be a cause of this condition.
Alopecia totalis is characterized by total loss of hair from the head, leaving behind a bald head and even barren eyebrows. The skin of head turns smooth.
Diffuse alopecia condition has unhealthy, thin, and short hair.
Trichotillomania is another condition, prevalent among children, characterized by the children pulling their hair and eating it. Children do this without their conscious knowledge, and the hair they eat can remain in the stomach as a ball of hair, leading to pain.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss found among men. This is caused by excess activity of androgen, a hormone. Women too can suffer from this problem.
Holistic Food to Prevent Hair Loss
Every nutrient that helps in normal body functioning is also required for proper hair growth. Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids (fat), minerals, and vitamins play important roles in body functioning, and hair growth as well. Inadequate nutrition also first reflects on the hair.
The Essential Food Items to Take to Prevent Hair Loss
Include in your diet a good mixture of everything listed below. Take a mix of everything in moderation. Curcuma longa, cumin seed, etc., are good spices to prepare food. Similarly, gooseberry (Embellica officinale), dried grapes, pea (small green pea), etc., also promote good physical health and hair growth.
- Green and colored vegetables
- Wholegrain rice and wheat
- Carbohydrate rich root items – tapioca, sweet potato, etc
- Milk and dairy products
- Fruits – especially orange, grapes, and other slightly sour fruits
However, the quality of the atmosphere, ground, etc., under which the plants grow also affect the quality of the food you take. Food crops grown with excess use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc., have very limited quality.
Food Items to Avoid
If you care about your hair and physical health, avoid the following items.
- Soft drinks
- Fast food
- Overly cooked food
- Processed food (canned, packaged)
Agreed, these items are good for your tongue. However, what is good for your tongue may not be good for your body, blood, and hair.
Hair Care Precautions
Note the following points to take good care of your hair.
- Gently dry your hair with a clean towel after bathing
- Always use a clean comb
- Don’t comb wet hair
- Don’t comb your hair too often
- Comb your hair in the direction of its growth and not against it
- Don’t use shampoos that contain chemicals – better option is natural shampoos prepared from hibiscus leaves, henna, ground small green pea, etc.
- Apply enough oil on hair 30 minutes before bathing – coconut oil, sesame oil, etc., are enough
Be gentle on your hair. Don’t rub your hair violently, and use hair dryer sparingly. Shampoos that contain chemicals actively destabilize your hair. You can prepare natural herbal shampoo from materials available from your backyard itself, and it is better than any shampoo that you pay big prices for.
Ayurvedic Means of Hair Care and Hair Growth Measures
Ayurveda suggests different hair oils for healthy hair growth. Amalaki (Emblica officinale) is a major component of Ayurvedic hair oils. Massage your scalp with these oils, and you can see healthier hair growth.
Treatments for Hair Loss
Allopathy medicine has quite a few treatments for hair loss, which are listed below.
1. Minoxidil – this medicine prescribed for blood pressure is prescribed for hair loss too. Apply the medicine on your scalp. Effectiveness is 10-20%. Hair loss will come back once you stop using the medicine.
2. Finasteride – this medicine usually prescribed for prostrate enlargement is handy treatment against hair loss. Temporary loss of libido and lowered quality of semen are the usual side effects of using this medicine. Women shall not use this, as it can cause the women to give birth to handicapped child.
3. Hair transplantation – hair from one part of the head is transplanted to other parts of scanty hair growth. Strip incision, laser grafting, punch grafts, etc., are the main types of hair transplantation treatments. The possibility of hair fall in two-three years, and the scars at the areas where hair is taken, are to be taken care of.
4. Scalp Reduction – a kind of plastic surgery, where skin of hairless area is removed and the skin from hairy area is stretched. The success depends on hairless area of head, and the elasticity of skin.
5. Hairpiece or toupee – wigs are attached to the skin, without being noticed. Can wear and tear in the long run.
In case of hair loss, cure is almost impossible, and even prevention is difficult. Put your focus on better physical and mental health than worrying about lost hair.
About the Author
Dev Sri provides insider information about Ayurvedic herbal medicine practices and Ayurveda in Kerala. Find more about Ayurvedic medicines at http://www.KeralaAyurvedics.com/.
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