When it comes to skin problems we generally focus on the outer layer of the skin that is visible to us. We focus on skin tags, moles, marks, wrinkles, dark circles etc. Did you know that hair is also a part of our skin? We treat hair problems as something different than skin troubles. We must understand that hair loss is a skin problem. 

What is hair? Hair loss is a skin Problem 

Hair is a modified type of the skin. We have hair growing on every part of our bodies except the palm, soles of the feet and lips. Just like the skin, hair also goes through many changes and it grows more in the summers than during the winters. Keratinocytes, a type of protein produced by the skin is the basic component of hair, skin, and nails and helps create an intact barrier.

The hair on our heads is completely there for the looks. It keeps us warm by preserving heat. The eyebrows and eyelashes protect the eyes. The hairs on our bodies provide warmth and protect the skin and also protect us from any injury.

Our hair has hair shafts which project from the surface of the skin. The root is a soft, thickened bulb at the end of the hair and is embedded in the skin. The root sits inside the skin in a sac called the follicle. It is the hair follicle from which hair grows.  At the bottom of the follicle is the papilla which contains an artery that nourishes the root of the hair. The cells multiply and produce keratin to make the hair structure hard.

Each hair has three layers:

  1. Medulla: the center part of the hair which is soft
  2. Cortex: This surrounds the medulla and is the main part of the hair
  3. Cuticle: the hard outer layer that protects the shaft

Why does hair fall?

Each hair grows to about 1/4th inch every month for about 6 years. Then it falls out and another grows in its place. Follicles are active for 2-6 years and they rest for about 3 months. A person becomes bald if the scalp follicles are no longer active and they are not producing any new hair.

People have thin and thick hair. Thick hair grows out of large follicles while small follicles produce thin hair.

The color of the hair is determined by the amount of melanin distribution in the cortex of each hair. Hair also contains a yellow-red pigment in it and that is why some people have blond hair. Hair becomes gray when people age because the hair stops producing this pigment.

Sometimes there can be unnatural hair loss and thinning of hair. 

Reasons for unnatural hair loss

  1. Genetic:  A genetic predisposition may see a gradual decrease in hair volume and thinning of hair. Certain hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones and this causes follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer, shorter hair.
  2. Reactive: Hair shedding reacts to certain internal imbalances. Nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting can be a cause for hair loss.
  3. Hormonal imbalance: Estrogens (female hormones) are hair friendly and helpful in the growth and keeping the texture of hair. Androgens (male hormones) are not very friendly and can shorten the hair growth cycle. Excess of Androgens for women who suffer from PCOS can cause hair loss.
  4. Iron deficiency/ Anaemia: Iron is essential for growth and health of hair. If you are iron deficient, chances are that you need to take supplements to balance your hair loss.
  5. Thyroid: Any thyroid imbalance affects hair growth. Thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s metabolism. It controls the production of proteins and tissue use of oxygen. If the thyroid is left untreated, it may result in anemia, another cause of hair fall.
  6. Diseases and medications: Certain diseases like cancer result in hair fall due to the chemotherapy. Certain medications can also result in hair fall.
  7. Age: Another important aspect is age. As we grow older hair loss becomes prevalent. For women, it happens just when the menopause period begins. Our hair also ages as we grow older, it gets finer and thinner.

Ayurveda and hair

In Ayurveda, hair is considered as a by-product of bone formation because the tissues that are responsible for the formation of bone are responsible for hair growth as well. Ayurveda considers pitta dosha a problem to hair fall. When pitta dosha is in excess; hair fall increases. Ayurveda associates hair loss on a person’s body type and the stability of the mind and body structure. Ayurvedic treatment for hair loss includes changes in diet, lifestyle, meditation, yoga along with medicated oil massages.

Some Ayurvedic techniques:

  • It is the bad eating habits that increase the pitta dosha in one’s body. One needs to identify them first. Excessive tea, caffeine, alcohol, meat, and smoking are harmful to the body in every way. Along with this- oily and greased food, eating too much fried and spicy food can also trigger pitta.
  • Aloe Vera is considered a very effective remedy for hair loss. It can be consumed as well as applied on the hair.
  • A dietary change to more green leafy vegetables, fruits, fresh juices and consumption of a lot of water can reduce hair fall.
  • Meditation and yoga can help reduce stress. Thus triggering the hormones which will help your mind to relax. Inverted asanas stimulate the flow of blood to the head and keep anxiety at bay.
  • Various medicated oils like Bhringraj, Amla, Brahmi, Neem, reetha, Ashwagandha can all be applied and massaged into the scalp to get an improved hair texture and stronger roots.

How to Arrest Hair Fall? – A Comprehensive Guide

Baldness



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