Hair has been regarded as a sign of beauty and power for as long as one can remember. Judges in olden days wore wigs as mark of authority whereas monks shave their scalp as part of their renunciation of all worldly pleasures and to render themselves unattractive to the opposite sex. Hair loss does not affect you just cosmetically but emotionally and socially. Research reveals how deeply hair loss can impact your life. Emotionally, a high percentage of people experiencing hair loss are known to suffer from low self esteem and depression as a result of this problem, be it men or women However, the most important aspect of hair loss is its medical implication. Loss of hair is almost always a sign of an internal disorder. It is often first warning signal of many deep seated ailments including thyroid, Diabetes and anemia.
Causes of Hair loss & Thinning
1. Androgenetic Alopecia – male or female pattern baldness
2. Auto immune diseases – an immune reaction that attacks the hair follicles, producing antibodies which attack these tissues as if they were foreign invaders. Androgenic Alopecia – the body’s immune system is sensitized to increased levels of DHT in the scalp causing hair loss in these high concentrated DHT areas Alopecia Totalis, universalis – immune sensitivity to a substance other than DHT
3. Connective tissue disease – causes scarring of skin, loss of circulation to hair follicles and an autoimmune reaction leading to temporary or permanent loss of hair. i‚ Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Scleroderma, MCTD, Scarring alopecia
4. Exposure to toxic chemicals –Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of lethal and damaging chemicals which can accelerate normal hair loss and retard effects of medication and surgical restoration. This effect can result either from being a smoker or from second hand smoke. We are exposed to other toxic chemicals and metals through work, hobbies and environment. They can be present in our homes (ie.: lead, aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, etc.) Exposure can be environmental and/or ingested through food sources.
5. Radiation exposure – Irradiation therapy or exposure to radiation from any source can cause localized or total hair loss, which may be permanent if thevdose is high enough.
6. Iron deficiency anemia – very common with women but can also affect men.
7. Hormonal changes – due to pregnancy, birth control pills, other medications, and menopause.
8. Thyroid disease – either hypothyroid or hyperthyroid disease causes hair to become brittle and break resulting in localized or generalized loss. Correction of the thyroid condition usually causes hair to re-grow.
9. Stress – usually temporary and transient. Hair may re-grow when stress levels decrease
10. Drug interactions – certain vitamins, many prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) supplements may have individual and non-specific side effects of hairloss. Usually, when the medication is discontinued, the hair re-grows. i‚ Excessive Vitamin A has been linked to some hair loss scenarios.
11. Others: Exposure to toxic chemicals –Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of lethal and damaging chemicals which can accelerate normal hair loss and retard effects of medication and surgical restoration. This effect can result either from being a smoker or from second hand smoke. We are exposed to other toxic chemicals and metals through work, hobbies and environment.
They can be present in our homes (ie.: lead, aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, etc.) Exposure can be environmental and/or ingested through food sources. Individual reaction to illness or a personal sensitivity to the environment, Chemotherapy, Fungal and bacterial infections, Cosmetic procedures like perming, crimping , straightening and colouring are enormously contributory factors, and should be avoided as far as possible.
• Androgenetic Alopecia- In men it is the most common cause of hair loss, In women the hormonal changes that occur at the time of menopause and post delivery are responsible.
• Alopecia Areata - In this type of hair loss, hair usually falls out, resulting in totally smooth, round patches about the size of a coin or larger. It can, rarely, result in complete loss of scalp and body hair.
• Thyroid Disease - Both an over-active thyroid and an under-active thyroid can cause hair loss.
• Low Serum Iron - Iron deficiency occasionally produces hair loss. Some people don't have enough iron in their diets or may not fully absorb iron. Women who have heavy menstrual periods may develop iron deficiency.
• Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania) - People with trichotillomania pull hair on various parts of their bodies, including the scalp, face, arms, legs and pubic areas. They may not notice the hair pulling until they need to cover up bald patches.
• Medications - Some prescription drugs used for gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high doses of vitamin A & birth Control Pills may cause hair loss Other causes includes high Fever, Severe Infection, Severe Flu , Inadequate Protein in Diet, Major Surgery/Chronic Illness, Fungus Infection (Ringworm) of the Scalp. Homeopathy & Hair Remedy This is of utmost importance to understand that hair loss is almost always a sign of an internal disorder or disease. Very often patients try over the counter prescriptions or “tried and tested” beauty parlor remedy for hair & this remedy fail because they don’t identify the cause of the hair loss. Homoeopathy is an excellent answer to hair loss. Its personalized approach is ideal for hair treatment since hair is as distinctive as fingerprints. Homeopathy is absolutely safe without any side effects, and works from within to treat the underline disorder that is causing the hair loss thus providing a permanent solution. A consultation with a qualified homeopath will invest a great deal of time and care in asking questions to uncover your constitution. Doctors ask about not only your hair loss and heredity but also how you are affected by environmental factors such as weather and temperature, the types of foods you like or dislike and your moods and feelings; a thorough medical history will be taken in order to establish a complete picture of you. Your current symptoms are then taken into consideration in order to prescribe the correct remedy at the right strength. In homeopathy, there are more than 100 remedies for alopecia or hair loss. The homeopath has to analyze your case systematically to choose the right medicine for you. To help classify the hair type, the equipment like video microscope or trichoscan is usefull. These machines even alert to catch and avert impending hair loss before it actually takes place. Hair Grow Therapy (LLLT) & HFT. Along with homeopathic medication, use of supporting latest international machines is also useful in stimulating blood circulation and proven to help hair loss.
But it has to be complimented by medication.
• LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy): The recent developments showed that low level lasers can also be used in treating hair loss and other skin diseases that usually occurs on the scalp. Low intensity laser energy works by absorbing the lasers into the scalp which stimulates cellular activity and hair growth. Absorption of light by the hair follicle molecules is essential in order for biological reaction to be stimulated in the molecules. Laser light reactions stimulated in cytochrome c sends signals throughout cells of the hair follicle, stimulating enhanced gene activity, decreased gene-regulated cell death, and other changes that enhance cell activity and survival.
• HFT ( High Frequency Therapy): A high frequency current which stimulates the surface of the scalp by means of massaging the cells of the scalp, also supposed to improve the process of nourishment, stimulate local blood circulation, stimulate local glandular activity, supplies heat and is soothing to the nervous system of the scalp. Food Care for Hair
• Hair is made up of protein and thus one should consume protein rich food like various dals, Nuts like cashew nuts and pista, eggs and meat. • Iron rich food substances like green leafy vegetables, beetroot,jiggery, chick peas(channa), millets like jawar and bajra, dates and figs
• Consume plenty of fluids like buttermilk, coconut water, lime juice and water.
• Consume foods like carrots,apricots, papaya,mangoes,pumpkins at least once a day so that you get your daily quota of vitamin A.
• Foods rich in Vitamin E like a handful of groundnuts or 2-3almonds/walnuts or Seafood should form a part of your daily diet.
• Consume at least 2cups of milk or milk products.
Next Article : Acne - An Ayurvedic View