Hair fall is the bane of most women and is difficult to pinpoint the triggers of this condition. The cause may be as glaring as hormonal complications due to Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or as implicit as stress. Nonetheless, here are a few ways to differentiate abnormal from normal hair fall, distinguish myth from fact and understand some methods for treating this worrisome problem.
Are you suffering from hair fall in the first place?
The best way to understand hair fall is to first understand hair. Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the skin. Every person has about one lakh strands of hair on the head, and these may decrease with age as we grow older. However, hair strands in different people can be distinctive. People genetically blessed with thicker strands of hair enjoy a thicker look; their 1 lakh strands seem to look like double the amount. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for those with thinner individual strands.
Hair experiences three main cycles: growing, resting and shedding. Each hair grows for about two to six years, growing one centimeter a month. Then it rests for about a week, after which it sheds. Many women feel their hair growth is stagnant because their hair is genetically predisposed to only grow for about two years. Plus, frequent haircuts make the hair growth even less visible. So if you feel your hair is not growing, make sure your cut is just a slight trim and nothing more.
Now that we understand the nature and life cycle of hair lets move on to the main issue at hand: hair fall. Hair fall of about 30 to 100 strands is absolutely normal. These are those strands that are in the shedding phase of their cycle. You also have an equal amount of hair regrowth for such natural hair fall, shielding your scalp from scantiness. There is a way to figure out whether your hair fall is normal or not; pinch a little clump of hair on the top part of the scalp using your thumb and index finger. Give it a tug and pull. If you lose more than six strands of hair, you should visit your specialist.
Common myths and important facts about hair fall
Myth #1: Frequent hair washes damage hair and make it weak.
Unless you are scrubbing your scalp with a vengeance, hair washes never cause hair fall, except the normal amount. Your hair is like a plant, it is never the water that makes it whither, it is always outside conditions or the lack of nutrients in the soil. Similarly, it’s never the washing that makes hair fall, it’s either external or internal conditions such as stressful situations or poor nutrition. Do wash your hair at least twice a week.
Myth #2: Conditioners and oil cause hair fall.
It can be distressing to oil your scalp only to find hair on your fingertips. But again, this hair was destined to fall out anyway. Oil actually has a beneficial effect on hair. Conditioner can become a problem if you don’t wash it all out thoroughly. So make sure you do.
Myth #3: Chemical treatments are the worse for your hair.
Hair coloring, keratin treatments and the likes are, alone, not bad for your hair at all. They become a problem when a bunch of treatments are don’t together in the same week, or in the case of some people, on the same day. This causes hair breakage from the shaft instead of hair fall from the roots.
Although these treatments are by-and-large harmless, make sure you do them in a good, well known salon, with professional hair specialists who know their stuff. Also, don’t replace quality for quantity. Opt for the one slightly high-end treatment instead of the two cheaper ones. Straightening hair and blow drying on a very hot setting is not good for the hair and should be avoided as far as possible.
Myth #4: Women experience most hair fall postpartum.
Due to escalated levels of estrogen in pregnant women, most never experience hair fall during pregnancy. However, once the hormones settle normally postpartum, the body makes up for the lack of hair fall by shedding those strands that were supposed to fall during the pregnant months. This is completely normal.
Fact #1: Baldness in women is real.
Some women experience scantiness on the scalp and receding hair along the temples. This is known as female pattern baldness. Those with a genetic predisposition, plus hormonal problems such as PCOS, are the most likely to get it.
Fact #2: Its not just what you put on your scalp, but also in your body.
Food plays a vital role in how your hair looks. Processed food is very bad for the hair and quickens the onset of conditions such as female pattern baldness
Fact #3: Pony tails aren’t as harmless as they sound.
Tight pony tails are awful for hair. Tying the hair too tight results in traction alopecia, a condition of thinning hair and damaged roots at the forehead. It is untreatable so beware the pernicious ponytail.
Important facts to know
It is no surprise that a balanced diet leads to beautiful hair. Ideally, we should be getting all our nutrients from the food we eat. However, in todays world, this simply isn’t true. That’s where supplements come in. Supplements for zinc, iron, proteins, vitamins, minerals are important. Do check for any deficiencies, it is probably the cause for your hair fall.
Hair is nothing but protein filaments and they require protein to be healthy (big surprise). Vegetarians, fill up on daal, moong, paneer, walnuts and some dairy such as cheese and milk. Nuts, seeds and dry fruits such as raisins, almonds, unsalted pistachios and flax seeds are brilliant for hair health and growth.
A super tonic for super hair
A super juice made by juicing half a beet, one carrot, either amla or a tomato, two to three leaves of spinach, mint and coriander with a little water and no salt is a great hair tonic. This juice is best had with breakfast and also helps lower cholesterol and promotes great skin.
Topical solutions are also effective in decreasing hair fall. Minoxidil solution is very effective in slowing hair loss and increasing hair growth by stimulating the roots of the hair. This is safe, however, shouldn’t be used by pregnant women. Peptides work in a similar manner, stimulating roots to increase hair growth.
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