A full head of hair is considered the ideal beauty standard for both men and women. However, given that most of us lead super-stressful lives, we suffer from varying degrees of hair fall. Be it the clump of hair that you notice in the shower or the tiny bald spots that you catch in your reflection in the mirror, it can be quite alarming to know that you may be losing hair. While there are so many things you can do to reduce hair fall (there is a wealth of information out there on the topic and it can be overwhelming to try to navigate your way through it all), it is important to understand what works best for you. Read on to find out what you can do to save your crowning glory.
Get to the root of the matter
A receding hairline or widening hair part is everyone’s worst beauty nightmare. However, it is crucial to understand the underlying cause of your hair fall. It is different for everyone, right from a genetic predisposition to hair loss to hormonal changes in one’s body.
The following can be some of the major reasons for hair fall:
You would have to be under severe psychological stress for it to trigger hair loss (else, given the amount of stress we feel every day, we would be running to the hat or wig store already). Your hair has a set growth cycle and anything that is drastic, like an accident, a pregnancy, surgery, extreme weight loss, etc. will disrupt it. This phenomenon is call telogen effluvium and happens to everybody at some point in their lives. All you can do is to wait for the body to get back to normal after a recovery phase, and this happens sooner rather than later.
2. Hereditary factors:
There is little you can do if you have inherited the hair loss gene from your parents. However, it is necessary to note that you may have no hair issues at all even if both your parents have thinning hair. It all depends on a random assortment of genes that can be passed on from either side of the family that is maternal or paternal. Androgenetic alopecia (hereditary hair loss) is best treated with certain over-the-counter drugs like Rogaine. However, we recommend consulting a dermatologist/trichologist before popping any pills or using topical treatment creams.
It pays to keep tabs on your thyroid hormone levels. Agreed that too little of them could be just as dangerous as too much but the former condition can have a direct impact on your metabolism and hence the rate of growth of your hair, nails, etc. This can be sorted out by long term treatment by a licensed physician. Hypothyroidism is most common in women over 50 years of age.
4. Scalp infections and dandruff:
An itchy or inflamed scalp should never be taken lightly as it may suggest hair follicles that are inflicted with a fungal or viral infection or extreme dryness. While various drugstore shampoos might help, it is always better to get expert help if the condition persists. A scan of the scalp will reveal the underlying irritant.
This is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, leading to various manifestations like rash, ulcers, aching joints, and more. Hair fall is another common symptom and may be experienced along with a rash on the scalp. This is also observed in women when they are pregnant. See a rheumatologist to get the condition treated immediately.
This form of iron deficiency will result in a low red blood cell count, in turn causing paleness, tiredness, headaches, cold hands and feet, etc. The best fix is to eat foods that are rich in iron, including, leafy greens, beans, etc. There is also the option of iron supplements specifically designed for hair.
7. PCOD and birth control:
Poly cystic ovarian syndrome is a condition wherein a woman’s ovaries start developing multiple cysts that contain eggs that are not fully grown, thereby causing abdominal discomfort and irregular periods. This condition can be brought on by a spurt in male hormone levels (yes, women have them in smaller amounts). While PCOD might lead to more-than-usual facial hair growth, it might lead to hair fall as well. Menopause too causes similar effects because of the activation of male hormone receptors on the scalp. Gynecologists prescribe various medicines to deal with PCOD – losing weight can also help in minimizing the effect of male hormones. Many components found in various birth control pills might not suit a few women. Also, if you are not quite regular with taking them, chances are that they will throw your hormones out of whack. Switching birth control can have a similar effect. Talk to your healthcare provider about any symptoms and consider switching to other alternative methods.
8. Excessive heat styling:
You may already know this but anything from hair dyeing to keratin treatments can damage the hair, leading it to ultimately fall out. The easiest way to combat this is to stop using heat styling tools (in the case of hair coloring, use high quality products while avoiding bleaching your hair and coloring it lighter than two shades from your natural hue) and to opt for restorative treatments either at home or in spas. If the problem is severe, consider seeing your dermatologist and treating the condition immediately.
Whatever be the reason for hair loss, you must bear in mind that it may take some time to gain control over the situation and reverse the damage to your hair. Eliminating the underlying cause of hair fall will solve half of one’s problems and result in its reduction.
Natural home remedies for your mane
Go natural to save your tresses – there are many commonly available natural ingredients that one may try out to attain thicker hair and reduce hair loss.
Following are some home remedies which will help you to control hair fall.
1. Apply Onions juice:
They contain high amounts of sulfur which can help by enhancing blood circulation to the scalp. They also have very important anti-microbial properties that help to stave off scalp infections. Grind a few onions and extract their juice. Apply it on the scalp while massaging it in a gentle, circular manner. Wash off after 45 minutes or so for best results. This will also help do away with any dandruff.
2.Massage with Coconut milk:
It has infection-fighting and hair nourishing properties courtesy its high potassium and vitamin E contents. Just massage some fresh coconut milk onto your scalp and leave on for half an hour before rinsing it off.
3. Apply Aloe vera pulp:
The clear pulp of an aloe vera leaf has wondrous benefits – it seeps deep into the hair shaft and follicle and normalizes pH levels.
4. Use Indian gooseberry or Amla:
The surplus amounts of vitamin C in amla helps bolster hair growth in a big way by increasing collagen production. Use the pulp on your hair a few times a week to reap its benefits.
5. Apply Yogurt:
Yes, you read that right – yogurt might indeed be a fermented product but it can give you long, healthy locks. You may apply it directly to your scalp or mix with a little honey.
6. Applying paste of Fenugreek and hibiscus:
Methi, as the former is more commonly known, is a very effective hair growth inducer. The same goes for the hibiscus flower and leaves, which nourish and strengthen the hair. Soak fenugreek seeds overnight and make a paste of them. Mix it with a paste of hibiscus leaves and apply it on to the scalp. You may also boil a few of the flowers in 2 tbsps. of coconut oil, apply it on your hair and scalp and let it be overnight before washing it off in the morning.
7. Lemon & tea wash:
Tea decoctions contain high quantities of tannic acid, a chemical which eradicates any scalp infection and promotes healthy hair growth. Prepare a strong tea decoction by boiling around 3 tbsps. of tea (you may also use green tea) in water, straining the mixture and adding a squeeze of lemon to it. Rinse your hair with this liquid concentrate and wash it off after a few minutes.
8. Apple cider vinegar:
Beauty bloggers have waxed eloquent about apple cider vinegar but did you know that it also has infection-fighting properties that can lessen hair fall, thereby leaving you with luscious, bouncy hair? All you have to do is to spritz some of the liquid (make sure you use the all-organic variety) onto your hair and scalp, leave on for a few minutes, and rinse off with lukewarm water. Apple cider vinegar is a cleanser in itself – you do not have to use shampoo after using it.
9. Potato juice:
Potatoes are commonly used to fight and eliminate pimples. Alternatively, the juice of a potato can help control hair fall as it is rich in manganese, Niacin, phosphorus and vitamin C. Leave it on for around half an hour before rinsing it out with a mild shampoo and water.
10. Hot oil massages:
Mom was right about the champi – a hot oil massage an hour or two before you wash your hair can enhance blood circulation to the scalp while nourishing and moisturizing the hair follicles and shaft. Coconut, jojoba, almond or olive oils are your best bets – they are easily available and abound in vitamin E and good fats for deep conditioning. Castor oil, when used in small quantities, in combination with other oils, can help clear up any scalp infections.
Nutrition is everything
Not eating right (both in terms of quality and quantity) can bring on a spate of health issues, including hair fall. Make sure your diet includes the following nutrients to keep hair fall at bay.
1. Protein: A shortage of this important nutrient can lead your body to act out by shutting down (partially) the hair growth. Eat foods rich in lean proteins, including fish, white meat, pulses, tofu, cottage cheese (paneer), etc. to counter the deficiency.
2. Iron: As mentioned earlier, an iron deficiency can have serious health consequences and may eventually lead to hair loss. Spinach, poultry, seafood, beans, fortified cereals, and iron supplements are the best course of action.
3. Fatty acids: They cannot be produced by the body and are hence a very important component of a healthy diet. They help reduce scalp inflammation and expedite hair repair and growth. Lustrous, beautiful hair is just an added benefit. They can be found in walnuts, seafood, flax seeds, etc.
Do hair supplements really help?
Yes, there are many hair supplements that can promote the growth of healthy hair. Biotin supplements have been found particularly effective. Biotin can also be found in avocado, nuts, soya beans, meat and more. B-complex supplements and vitamin D shots are a popular alternative as well (they also promote better overall health). Steer clear of fiercely-marketed herbal supplements which promise to work miracles – consult with your physician or dermatologist for the best advice in this department.
Old habits die hard
Smoking, erratic sleep schedules, drinking or using too many prescription or OTC drugs can all have detrimental effects on your health and, in turn, your hair. Phase them out gradually – they can cause premature graying and thinning of hair by increasing the amount of toxins in the body.
The numerous benefits of hair spas
Hair spas are a hair messiah – not only do they address various hair problems like hair fall, dandruff and lower protein/keratin content in hair, they improve blood circulation and bust stress. Make sure to pick one that is tailor-made for your hair – talk to your beauty consultant about various hair spa options before hand to help make up your mind. Go in for a hair spa at least once in two months (once every month is the ideal frequency).
When to opt for a medical treatment
Hair fall can be an indication of something more sinister as mentioned earlier in the part about underlying causes. You may opt for laser light therapy, hair replacement surgery or drugs like Rogaine or Finasteride and other anti-androgen medicines (for women). Make sure you get an expert’s opinion before taking any of these up. It is important to remember that some treatments may work better for you better than others based on your physical predisposition. Also, some treatments help control hair fall and let you hold on to your existing hair while not so much as promote new hair growth or hair regrowth.
Let’s bust a few hair myths
You are never too young to have your hair start falling out – it can happen to just about anyone due to a host of reasons that have been detailed earlier. Caffeine shampoos and other promised miracle-worker products are usually not as effective as a targeted treatment or solution that is made especially for you (after you have understood what is causing your hair loss). Also, washing your hair everyday is believed by many to cleanse your scalp of various follicle-clogging toxins and impurities. However, doing so will only strip your hair of its natural oils – make sure to have clean, healthy hair habits and wash your hair only twice or thrice a week with a gentle shampoo.
How to style thinning hair
Do not make a beeline for the latest quick-fix hair fall control product in the market – be patient and stick to a hair routine that is best suited to you. In the meantime, you can do many things to improve the appearance of your hair. Change up your hair part every week and use volumizing shampoo and conditioner to make it look less thin. Men can use matte-finish hair products and let their hair grow out to position it better over bald spots. Women can get a shorter cut with interior layers for a fuller appearance.
The way to great-looking, healthy hair can be a long and difficult one but you are sure to achieve all your hair goals with a bit of perseverance. Your tresses need some pampering every so often – book an indulgent hair spa with Housejoy right away.