Top Reasons for Hair Loss

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2014, 12:42 PM IST

Rama Sreekant

New Delhi: Worrying about that receding hairline? You are not alone, finds Rama Sreekant in this online exclusive.

For 33-year-old Natasha, her 20s were her best hair years. She`d scrunch it, curl it, perm it and bask in her crowning glory. Now in her 30s she frets over the thin strands and retiring scalp over her forehead. “I have been exercising regularly and eating nutritious food but the hair loss seems to be the bane of my life, today,” she complains. Losing you hair can be a catastrophic experience and it could be particularly traumatizing for a woman given the social stigma attached to it. Hair loss can affect your psychological and emotional personality.

According to Dr. Punit Saraogi. Clinical and Cosmetic Dermatologist and Trichologist, “women can suffer from hair loss in all age groups ranging from 10-70 years.” It happens during your shower, while you are brushing it, when you are blow-drying it and even post pregnancy. In his opinion, it is a generalised statement that we tend to lose about 100 strands a day. “Hair strands lost per day may vary from 5 to 200. If there is a considerable increase in the hair lost per day which is consistent, then one should investigate the same further. Also if there is hair thinning or increased scalp visibility along with increased hair loss, then it is a concern,” he adds.

The Mane Bane

Sharing a scientific definition of hair loss, Punit tells us, women suffer hair loss because of three main causes—hair shedding, hair thinning and hair breakage.

1. Increased hair shedding is called as telogen effluvium, the most common causes of which are acute illnesses like typhoid and malaria, poor nutrition, iron deficiency, thyroid disorders etc.
2. Hair thinning is called as female pattern hair loss in which there is thinning of hair over the crown of the head resulting in widening of the middle hair parting. This is the equivalent of the common male pattern baldness seen in men. This is generally inherited, but can also reflect an underlying hormonal imbalance like poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
3. Hair breakage is not true hair loss from the roots but represents hair that breaks along its length during shampooing, combing and hair styling. Hair bleaching, coloring, ironing, straightening etc  make the hair bonds weaker, making it easier to break.

Hair Treatments and Crash Diets

Weight loss, low iron levels, poor diet and stress, along with thyroid and hormonal imbalances, can all cause hair to fall. Hair needs a healthy diet and a well-functioning endocrine system to flourish. According to hair expert, Renee Melek, “Our lifestyle is to blame for increasing number of youngsters facing hair fall problem. There is great pressure on the younger generation to look slim, as a result they go under crash diets.

When the body is deprived of nutrients it focuses on preserving the important parts of our body. Only when the body has enough resources does it supply food and strength to less important parts such as hair, nails, etc. Hence any kind of crash diet causes hair fall and eventually, hair loss. Also wrong sleep habits and patterns affect your overall health which indirectly affects hair”.

Excessive use of hair styling tools like strengtheners and curling iron or hair products like gels, mousse, sprays, colours, etc can damage the hair shaft and prolonged usage can hamper its growth. “Tight ponytails, wrong combs, parting your hair, can further aggravate the condition,” says Dr. Vijaya Iyer, a Mumbai-based skin and hair care expert.

According to experts at Richfeel Trichology Center, there are several other external factors that contribute to hair loss—change in the weather, change in water, chemical hair treatments, using wrong tools to comb or brush the hair, and not following the right method to shampoo and condition your hair.

The Future Looks Bright

It is no surprise then that a growing celebrity influence, increasing awareness to take care of one’s appearance, societal pressure and higher awareness levels are all turning out to be potential drivers for the hair transplant market. A large number of customers of hair transplant services are in the age group of 25-30 years when they are keen to tie the knot. Select metros and Tier-I cities like Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, etc are growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25-30 per cent in. The size of the Indian hair transplant market was estimated at Rs 453 crore in FY 2012-13.
International chains are seeing India as a potential market for hair restoration. This has also given a push to global brands eyeing into the India’s cosmetic market. Keeping this as an inspiration players like Bottega Di Lungavita (an Italian beauty brand recently entered in India) has a whole array of organic hair care products to combat the problems associated with hair.
“The hair transplant industry is at an interesting phase and is flourishing and looks bright. There are few surgeries which are leading in aesthetics; hair transplant surgery is one of them,” says Dr. Manoj Khanna, an aesthetic and cosmetic surgeon at Enhance Clinics.

According to Dr. Anup Dhir Senior cosmetic surgeon Apollo hospital, “Earlier, hair restoration was a common thing among men, but now there is an increase of hair transplant on women as well.”

Get back to Good Hair Days

While you are not alone in the anguish of hair loss, it`s only up to you to choose a lifestyle that can bring you healthy and happy hair.
1. You are what you eat and that is true for your hair, as well. Include iron, zinc and vitamin C in your diet. Eat fruits and raw veggies or lightly sauted veggies in olive oil. Hair is made up of protein called Keratin hence a protein rich diet is recommended.
2. Make sure you know your hair products. Wash your hair regularly to keep the scalp clean. Follow the right method of washing your hair—shampoo, conditioner and a leave-in oil.
3. Do not shock your hair with myraid hair treatments and colours. It has a life, just like you! Be aware of the effects of the treatment.
4. Pamper your hair. Indugle in a hair spa, once a month. If time is a luxury, then follow the grandmother`s remedy—massage some warm cocount oil on your scalp, on a lazy weekend morning, and wash it off after an hour.
1. 5. No sleep, no beauty. Maintain a good sleep pattern. Sleeping before 11pm helps the body to repair all the wear and tear of the body.