Hair loss is experienced by all of us at one or the other time. To know the causes of hair fall, it is very essential to know the structure of hair and its normal growth cycle.
Structure of Hair
The hair on our scalp can be divided into two parts, the root and shaft. The root part of hair is in the skin (epidermis) of scalp. The hair root is surrounded by a pouch like structure called follicle. The base of hair root is in the shape of a bulb. This bulb is indented by capillaries and nerve fibers. The cells in the center of bulb divide. The newly divided hair cells push the previous cells up. The cells which move upwards die slowly forming hard hair shaft.
The hair shaft has three layers the cuticle, medulla and cortex. Cuticle is the outer layers and protects the inner layers. It is transparent. Healthy cuticle gives a shiny appearance for hair and unhealthy cuticle gives lifeless look.
Medulla is the innermost layer composed of large cells.
Cortex is the layer between cuticle and medulla. This contains pigment and keratin. Cortex determines the bulk and strength of hair.
The hair follicle contains oil secreting glands which make the hair shiny. Stress and illness diminish secretion of oil and pigments causing graying of hair. According to Ayurveda the hair is considered as a tissue which uses the same nutrients of bone and considered as a tissue which is formed as bi-product of bone tissue.
Normal Cycle of Hair Growth
About 10 % of the hair on the scalp is in a resting phase at any given time. The resting hair falls after 2 to 3 months and new hair starts growing in its place. The growing phase continues for 2.25 to 6 yrs. During this phase each hair grows approximately 1 cm per month. At any given time about 90% of the hair on scalp will be in growing phase.
Few strands of hair fall as the part of normal hair growth cycle. But some people may experience excessive hair fall which is more than normal cycle. Excessive hair loss can affect men, women and children.
Causes of Hair Loss
1. Hormonal imbalance in men and women: In men high concentration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in hair follicles causes hair fall. In women hormonal imbalances during pregnancy and after delivery cause hair fall.
2. High amount of sebum in scalp clogs pores of scalp and prevent nutrition to hair follicle.
3. Inadequate nutrition causes hair fall.
4. Stress, worry, lack of sleep, worry and anxiety cause hair fall
5. Long standing diseases like typhoid, viral infections, anemia, surgery etc cause general debility which lead to hair fall
6. Some medicines used for gout, chemo therapy of cancer, birth control pills, antidepressants etc cause hair fall
7. Diseases like lupus, diabetes cause hair fall.
8. Tying hair tightly pulls the hair from follicles and cause traction alopecia.
9. Heredity also causes hair fall.
10. Dandruff or Fungal infection of scalp.
11. Accumulation of dirt on scalp causes blocking of pores and weakens hair roots. This leads to hair fall.
According to Ayurveda the causes of hair loss are described as follows
1. Too much exposure to dust, sunlight, water and other pollutants.
2. Too much of sweating.
3. Irregular sleeping pattern.
4. Anxiety, depression, insomnia.
5. Unhygienic way of living
7. Alcohol consumption.
Hair Loss Remedies
1. Liberal intake of vitamins.
2. High protein and iron rich diet.
3. Consumption of raw vegetables, fresh fruits, salads, green leafy vegetables regularly.
4. Washing hair regularly (twice weekly) with suitable shampoo.
5. Using relaxing techniques to overcome stress, anxiety and sleeplessness.
6. Preventing fungal infections of scalp.
7. Preventing hairstyles which pull hair.
Due to these causes the tridoshas get vitiated and cause hair loss. The vitiated doshas affect the scalp skin and cause hair fall occurs. Medicated oil with the herbs Bhringaraja (Eclipta Alba), Amalaki (Embelica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and Vibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) is a best remedy for hair fall.
Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
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Calcutta - 700002