This is called as losing hairs anywhere on the head. The condition is known as ‘alopecia’ in medical science. Alopecia is Latin, but we can also found the Greek ‘alopecia’ meaning alopek – the fox. Literally, it refers to mange in foxes. This may be due to various causes. There are lot many types especially alopecia areata or scarring alopecia etc.
Loss of hairs on daily basis is considered physiological and is quite normal. It is obvious that when you comb your hair or take head bath, 50-100 hairs fall off. This is natural tendency of the body. Nevertheless, losing too many hairs even when one sits, sleeps or performs daily routine can be considered as abnormal and the condition is labeled as alopecia.
This seems common and affects almost in age group from young to e4lderly. Apart from the physical problem, losing hairs also affects one’s mental status. The physical appearance plays an important role to one as a self-image. Hairs are important part of the body and people spend lot of money to make-up them and take care for hairs.
When one is getting hairline back, one may feel lack of confidence in both the ways; social and mental. This is because losing hairs not only makes the person bald but also elder than what actually he ages.
Alopecia is nothing but losing the hairs from the scalp. This may be from any part of the head. Ayurveda terms this condition as ‘khaalitya’, which literally means an empty or flat. So, a person with flat head is known as ‘khaalitya’ in Ayurveda. There are many other conditions closely related to ‘khaalitya’ like indralupta (meaning hair loss from one particular place on the head) and paalitya (premature graying of hairs).
Hairs are often considered as ‘crowning glory’. Hairstyles and hairs carry great deal of cultural and social importance. They play important role in religious activities in some religion. However, improper hair care, diseases and many other conditions may cause hair loss.
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One can examine this hair-loss case by evaluating the exact cause. The cause depends on many factors. Medications, diet, food taken since last six months, hereditary and many more reasons are to be kept in mind.
Certain hormonal changes may involve and hence, menstrual cycles, pregnancies, menopause may carry significant cause of having hair loss in women and hence it is asked by doctor examining the hair loss case. After the examination of the scalp and hair, a physician can check your hair under the microscope to know the exact cause and structure of the hair. In more serious problem, rarely but truly the scalp biopsy is done to know the exact cause. It is quite important to find the exact cause of the disease as the treatment will depend accordingly.
Many people use chemicals for their hair care. Improper hair care using hair cosmetics those are harmful may result into hair loss. These harmful products may include dyes, bleaches, tints, permanent waves and straighteners. The hair can break or get weaken if any of these are used in excess. One should also not keep the solution in the hair for a long time/period. Many times hairs become brittle by using these products so it is advisable to stop using these chemicals and to wait until the situation is fully under control.
Certain hairstyles like ponytails, bridal hairstyles are carried out with various techniques of pulling and tying hairs and this procedure may take off your plenty of hairs. Constant pulling of hairs creates hair loss, especially at sides of the scalp.
Shampooing, brushing and combing frequently can also damage the hair roots. Using the cream rinse or herbal conditioner after shampooing will be better idea. This will make them smoother and easier to comb. When the hairs are wet, they are to be taken extra care as wet hairs are more fragile and so vigorous rubbing them with towel and combing or brushing immediately may pull your hairs out. One should use the wide toothed combs to prevent hair loss.
Thinning of the hairs and baldness of the hairs is one of the most common causes for losing hairs. Ayurveda states that hairs from the father side i.e. genes from the father carries the hairstyle and type to the son. If your father is bald, you are most likely to be bald too. Modern science also believes that the gene responsible for the hair loss seats on ‘Y’ chromosome. Therefore, the baldness is very very uncommon in females as they are having the chromosome ‘XX’. The condition is called as androgenetic alopecia. This situation can affect a person on teenage, twenties or even thirties. The very nude fact is it is quite difficult to reverse the hair loss other than some latest techniques like hair transplantation and some typical Ayurvedic treatment.
Other causes that include baldness are major illness or drug therapy. Hair loss due to stress is also becoming common nowadays. Anger, anxiety, stress, depression makes hormonal changes in the body, which in turns, create the hair loss. Over or under functioning of the thyroid gland also produces the hair loss in an individual. Androgens and estrogens hormones start malfunctioning in some cases and this may lead to hair loss. Having too much dandruff is also a prime indication of having hair loss in future.
Some physiological hair loss can be seen in a mother who has given a birth to a baby recently. Meaning to say, after delivery, one may lose hairs for about 3-4 months due to hormonal imbalance. Some treatment like chemotherapy brings drastic hair fall in an individual, which is generally irreversible. Medications used for gout, anti-coagulants, birth control pills, anti-depressant drugs and Vitamin A in excess are well known factors that bring hair loss.
Ayurveda believes that diabetes, fungal infection and some dietary habit play important role in losing hairs. Salty food and salty water for head bath is one of the major causes of hair loss. In some geographical area, you find excess salt in the water that is used for bathing as well as drinking. Hair fall or loss in these areas becomes epidemic and general.
The disease itself is a symptom. In other words, losing hairs-it is an indication of the disease. However, when you comb or take head bath, many hairs are lost if you are the patient of alopecia. You start looking bald as the hairline goes backwards. Even with lightest effort, you are able to pluck out your hairs on the head. Notice your shirt/top, pillow and bedspread, you may find many hairs on it. This is clear-cut indication of losing hairs in excess.
If it is hereditary, it is quite difficult to prevent. However, some precautions like avoiding hard brushing or combing may help up to certain extent. If you lose too many hairs, try to keep your hairs short. Long hairs and long hairstyle makes the hairs weak and so they can easily fall off.
Coconut oil is considered best for treating hair loss. This can be applied on daily basis or alternate day. Head massage with other Ayurvedic oils is beneficial. One should avoid excessive salt in diet and salty water for head bath. Too much spicy, oily and sour tasted food is also to be avoided.
Chemical based shampoo, soap and hair products are not to be used. They must be herbal product to use. Avoid greasy and muddy hair conditioners those are freely available in market. These conditioners may weaken the hair roots on the scalp. There are hundreds of hair products like hair gels, conditioners, soaps, shampoos, and hair fixers are available to choose. Therefore, one has to see the ingredients of a product, and avoid chemical products.
One has to be careful while massaging the scalp. This is to be done with the flat palm rather than vigorously massaging with fingers that can break or pull hairs easily. Flat hand massage also reaches to the scalp and nourishes it with the oil used.
The diet that is rich in silica, calcium and iron may help this situation up to certain extent. This may prevent hair from falling as the hair roots become stronger with these supplements. Green leafy vegetables, raw oats, dried fruits, cherry juice and beets are therefore considered as good diet in hair loss.
Adding coconut in various forms like coconut oil for cooking, coconut paste in vegetables and coconut oil for massaging may prevent hair loss in a great way. High fat, meat based diet alters testosterone hormone levels in males and that badly affects the hair follicles making it somewhat weaker. A person with anemia is more susceptible to have hair loss problem. Include beets, iron rich foods, dates, eggs etc in such case.
Foods are to be included; brown rice, oats, root vegetables (carrots, ginger, and onions), winter squash, black beans, black pepper etc are good and favorable diet in the case of hair fall or baldness. One can also include whole grains, nuts and seeds. Avoid sugary foods, junk foods, canned or packed foods, oily and spicy foods. Tomatoes, tofu, millet, dairy products are to be restricted and excessive raw foods, citrus foods and animal proteins are to be avoided.
Ayurveda favors food that increases the Kapha Dosha like good quality of ghee (butter oil), coconut, green leafy vegetables are good in alopecia. Brinjals, ladies fingers, fresh fruit and vegetable juice is also good.
Ayurveda has numbers of single drugs and formula that work for alopecia. Aamla, bhringaraj, mehndi, naarikel, baadam etc are good to have. There is another treatment for alopecia called ‘prachhana’ in which, the hair roots are pierced in a very special way after an application of herbal paste or oil. Piercing in that way stimulates the roots, hence, prevents hair loss, and gains more hairs that are new.