Hair loss is also known as alopecia. It refers to the loss of hair from any part of the body, but mainly the removal of hair from the head is considered. People usually have between 150000 to 200000 hair strands on their heads. The number of hair that people lose every day varies, but on average, it’s 100. The normal hair volume is maintained when the new hair comes at the same rate at which the old ones are lost and its reverse causes hair loss.
The first sign of hair loss is that people often notice an increase in the number of hairs in the hairbrush after brushing or in the basin after shampooing. Hairstyles like wider parting can also reveal the decreased volume of hair in certain areas.
There are various types of hair loss:
- MALE-PATTERN HAIR LOSS: genetics and male hormones are responsible for the hair loss of this particular pattern.
- FEMALE-PATTERN HAIR LOSS: causes of such a pattern of hair loss are unclear yet.
- ALOPECIA AREATA: it is caused by an autoimmune system(when the immune system of an organism responds against its own healthy tissues and cells)
- TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM: it refers to thinning of hair. It is caused by physical and psychological stress. Also, it’s very common during pregnancy.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
Some of the symptoms of hair loss include hair loss in patches, dandruff, skin scarring and lesions. Medium level of hair loss includes unusual hair loss in parts of the body and face, like eyebrows, above the ears and back of the head. In male-pattern hair loss, the loss and thinning of the hair begins at the temples and the crown and either thins out or falls out. Female-pattern hair loss occurs in the parietal lobe and frontal lobe, two of the four major lobes in the cerebral cortex in mammals’ brains.
Sometimes skin also showcases few symptoms of hair loss. Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne. The hormonal imbalance which causes cystic acne is also responsible for causing hair loss and is associated with the production of dihydrotestosterone. Seborrheic dermatitis, a condition when excessive sebum is produced which causes either dry scalp or oily scalp (excessively dry or oily scalp is responsible for hair thinning), is a symptom of hair loss.
CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
- PHYSICAL STRESS
Physical traumas like surgery, severe illness or accidents can cause temporary hair loss. It can trigger a type of hair loss i.e. telogen effluvium. Hair loss caused by physical stress often becomes noticeable after 4 to 6 months. Human hair has a life cycle: a growth phase, rest phase and shedding phase. Sometimes, the occurrence of a really stressful event can disturb the hair’s life cycle, pushing more hair into the shedding phase. But the hair loss in such situations is not permanent; hair starts to grow back once the body recovers.
Pregnancy can lead to psychological and physical stress that can cause hair loss. The hair loss actually happens after the baby is delivered, not during the pregnancy. But it’s normal; the hair grows back after 2-3 months.
- EXCESS CONSUMPTION OF VITAMIN A
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, overconsumption of vitamin A-containing supplements leads to hair loss. Supplements are known to have vitamin A concentrations from 2500 to 10000 IU (international units). Whereas, daily consumption value for vitamin A for adults and children over the age of 4 is 5000 IU. This cause can be reversed once the excess of vitamin A consumption is halted.
- LACK OF PROTEIN
If you don’t take enough protein in your diet then your body may ration the protein by shutting down other secondary activities, like hair growth. Hair loss begins after 2 to 3 months of constant drop in protein intake. To avoid this, add protein-rich sources to your diet like fish, meat and eggs. If you are vegetarian then you can eat green peas, nuts, chickpeas etc.
It comes under female pattern hair loss. If you come from a family where women start to lose their hair at a certain age, then there is a high probability of it happening to you too. It leads to the widening of hair parting and thinning of hair in females.
- EMOTIONAL STRESS
Emotional stress is less likely to cause the hair to fall than physical stress. Emotional stress doesn’t actually lead to hair fall but it can increase the problem of hair fall if it’s already there. It can happen in the cases of severe stresses like divorce, the death of a loved one, etc. Activities like exercising, talking therapy can help to distract a person from the emotional stress and overcome hair fall.
The deficiency of blood in the human body is called anaemia. It happens due to a lack of iron in the body and eventually leads to hair loss. It can be cured by following a proper diet and medications prescribed by a doctor.
Hypothyroidism means having an underactive thyroid gland. This gland is located in the neck and is responsible for producing hormones that improve metabolism and trigger growth and development. When it doesn’t pump out enough hormones it leads to hair fall.
- AUTOIMMUNE-RELATED HAIR LOSS
It is also called alopecia areata. It happens due to an overactive immune system; the system gets confused and produces hormones against its own body hairs which hamper the hair growth.
- SUDDEN WEIGHT LOSS
Weight loss is a kind of physical stress to the body. Even if the weight loss is good for your body, sometimes it causes hair fall. People also lessen the amount of calorie and mineral intake in their diet to lose weight quickly which leads to hair loss. Weight loss along with extensive hair loss can also be caused by eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
Few medications can also cause hair fall. Common drugs that cause hair loss are blood pressure controlling medicines and blood thinners. Other drugs like lithium (used for bipolar disorders), methotrexate (used to treat skin conditions), ibuprofen etc.
- ANABOLIC STEROIDS
If you take steroids to bulk up your muscles, your hair will start falling. These steroids cause some dramatic changes in the hormones which ultimately lead to hair fall and other problems. Hair fall caused by steroids can be cured only when consumption of such steroids is stopped.
20 HOME REMEDIES FOR HAIR LOSS CURE
- ALOE VERA GEL
Apply aloe vera gel (ready-made or natural) to your scalp and wash your hair after 1 hour with lukewarm water. It helps to treat the dry scalp and reduce hair fall and itching. For better results, mix Triphala powder with the gel.
- COCONUT OIL/MILK
Coconut milk is the greatest source to nourish hair and cure hair fall. You can prepare coconut milk at home – grate the coconut and then grind it in the mixer, then squeeze the milk out of it. Apply it on your scalp gently. Or if you don’t have access to coconut milk then you can apply coconut oil. Massage your scalp with lukewarm coconut oil, the night before you wash your hair.
- ONION AND GARLIC
Both onion and garlic are rich sources of sulphur, which promotes hair growth. To use onion, chop it finely and then squeeze the juice of it. Apply it to your scalp, it not only helps the hair to grow but also reduces dandruff. An hour later, wash it off with a mild shampoo.
For garlic, boil it with coconut oil and massage it on your scalp.
Neem is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-diabetic in nature; it has all the essential qualities. Boil neem leaves in water, wait till it cools down and then wash your hair with this water once a week.
Neem oil is also beneficial to cure hair problems like hair lice, dandruff and hair fall.
- GOOSEBERRY (AMLA)
Amla is rich in vitamin C which helps in hair growth. Boil the dried amla with coconut oil, until the oil turns black. Massage your scalp with this oil, once every week. Or mix amla and lemon juice together and apply it to your scalp, then wash your hair after half an hour. Or you can make a hair pack by mixing amla juice and honey.
They are a rich source of sulphur, protein, iron, zinc, iodine and phosphorus. Combine eggs with olive oil and massage your scalp with it, your hair will grow back in 2 months.
Henna is a rich source of vitamins and minerals that solve a lot of hair and scalp problems like dandruff, hair thinning and hair loss. Make a hair pack by mixing henna, amla, curd, tea leaves and water (accordingly) and apply it to your hair. Wash your hair after 3-4 hours.
Make a paste of dried fenugreek seeds with mustard oil and apply it to your hair. Fenugreek not only cures hair loss but also nourishes and replenishes the hair.
- GREEN TEA
Boil two bags of green tea in water, wait till it cools down then wash your hair with that water once a week. Green tea detoxes the hair and scalp which helps to remove the excessive oil in hair and therefore prevents hair loss.
- APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Wash your hair with diluted apple cider vinegar, twice or thrice a month. Apple vinegar helps to maintain the balance of the scalp and promotes hair growth.
Hibiscus treats dry scalp, dandruff, split ends and hair fall. Massage your scalp with hibiscus oil gently (a night before you wash your hair). For better results, use lukewarm oil.
- CAMPHOR (KAPUR)
Crush camphor into small pieces and mix it with lukewarm coconut oil. Apply it on your hair and wash it the next day. Or mix camphor and curd to the bald patches, let it dry and then wash after 2 hours.
- CORIANDER LEAVES
Grind few leaves of coriander in a mixer till they turn into a thick paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas. Coriander maintains the oil balance of the scalp and reduces hair loss.
- ROSEMARY AND POTATOES
Boil rosemary and peeled potato slices in water, filter the liquid and use it to rinse the hair.
Geranium has properties that nourish the hair and reduces hair loss. Boil geranium and rosemary in water then rinse your hair with that water.
For treating hair loss, mix liquorice with milk and saffron. Applying it nourishes the hair and also promotes hair growth.
- BLACK PEPPER SEEDS
Apply black pepper and lime seeds with mustard oil on the bald areas. It increases hair growth.
- FULLER’S EARTH (MULTANI MITTI)
Wash your hair once a week with a Multani mitti pack. Don’t use shampoo afterwards. Fuller’s earth is known to make the hair look healthy and shiny; it also increases the hair density.
It is known to widen the blood vessels. Massage the scalp with safflower oil for 15 minutes, it helps to increase the blood flow and thereby reduces hair loss.
- BEETROOT LEAVES
It contains vitamins, proteins, potassium and several vitamins which promote hair growth. Boil the beetroot leaves in water and grind them. Make a pack of henna, ground beetroot leaves and the boiled water. Apply it once a week to overcome the problem of hair loss.
- Don’t use hard shampoos on hair; rather use mild ones that contain moisturizer.
- Steam rejuvenates the hair, so use steam at least twice a week. Dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the excess water and wrap the towel around your hair. Repeat it 3-4 times in one sitting. Steam helps to increase the blood circulation of the scalp.
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day.
- Increase the consumption of biotin, zinc and silica in your diet because they induce hair growth.
- Eat flaxseeds, walnuts and fish. They help in keeping the hair strong and healthy.
- Eat more food items that contain vitamin A, B, C, E, protein and iron.
- Avoid using warm water on hair, because it makes the hair roots weak and leads to the hair fall.
- Never tie back your hair very tightly.
- Wash your hair at least thrice a week to keep your scalp clean and free from dust.
- Give your scalp a massage right after you wash your hair. It helps to increase blood circulation.
- Do not comb your hair when they are wet because hairs tend to break easily while they are wet.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT HAIR LOSS
Myth: People who wear hats are more prone to get bald because hair doesn’t get the oxygen/air under hats.
Truth: Hair doesn’t need open air to breathe; they get their oxygen from the blood.
Myth: Hairfall occurs because of the mother
Truth: it is mostly genetic but occurs because of both the parents.
Myth: Brushing your hair regularly with a hairbrush will prevent hair loss.
Truth: Hairbrushes help to increase blood circulation but don’t prevent hair loss.
Myth: Direct sunlight on the hair cause hair fall.
Truth: Sunlight doesn’t’ affect the hair roots and has nothing to do with the hair fall.
Myth: Using cold water to wash the hair can prevent baldness.
Truth: Coldwater increases the blood circulation of the scalp but doesn’t directly prevent baldness.
OTC PRODUCTS FOR HAIR LOSS
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is an approved over-the-counter liquid or foam that can be rubbed on the scalp to promote hair growth. It is available in other forms too with more substances which are essential for hair.
- Pharmacy Medicine Minoxidil Extra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment Shampoo: This shampoo helps your hair to grow back strong and long. It doesn’t hamper your scalp or hair cuticles. The initial results are late but with regular usage, you will definitely get good results.
- Member’s Mark Minoxidil Topical Solution for Men: This shampoo contains 5% Minoxidil and is formulated especially for men. However, this shampoo mainly works to cure thinning hair.
- Kirkland Minoxidil Extra Strength for Men: It is another shampoo mainly formulated for men. This shampoo penetrates deep down the stubborn and tough scalp pores of men and makes their hair roots strong to prevent further hair loss.
- Minoxidil Isac Shampoo: This shampoo is made for teenagers, who face hair loss at a young age. It contains glycol, ethyl alcohol and distilled water which helps the hair to grow back quickly.
- Walgreens Women Topical Solution Minoxidil Shampoo: This shampoo is specially formulated for women. It contains 2% minoxidil which adds fibre proteins to the hair and makes them strong against further hair breakage.
Q1. Is hair loss the same as baldness?
No, baldness refers to the condition where the hairs are lost from the root so the hair re-growth in that area is quite difficult but in alopecia the hair growth is easy.
Q2. A person who is losing 30 hairs per day is considered to be suffering from alopecia?
Losing up to 100 hair strands per day is normal, provided there is good hair growth. You need to take extensive care of your hair only if the hair fall is more than 100 hair strands per day or you notice other symptoms of hair fall.
Q3. Does hair fall always lead to baldness?
No, hair fall does not always lead to baldness. But you should start taking care of your hair after you notice some symptoms of hair fall.
Q4. Can homoeopathy cure baldness?
No, homoeopathy cannot really cure baldness but it can cure hair loss.