Causes for baldness, greying; hair care tips

03-03-2017 Fri 15:25

Hair adds to beauty. Many like to have thick, black and shiny hair. They make a lot of efforts to protect their hair. Many suggest or recommend a lot of things. How many of these tips work, is doubtful.
Pollution, lack of nutrition hereditary, stress and use of certain medicines all lead to hair loss and greying of hair. But certain hair care tips will certainly help in growing a crowning glory. In this context it is important to know, how hair grows, what helps in their growth, why they turn grey, why hair falls, why some people are bald and what is dandruff.

How hair growsrepresentative imageOur skin has three layers: Epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. There is fat and related minerals in the hypodermis that is the innermost layer. It gives support and strength to the skin. The second layer is dermis. There are hair roots (follicles), sebaceous glands, blood vessels and nerve ends in it. Epidermis is the covering or outermost layer. Hair and sebaceous glands split the epidermis and open out. There is a tube at the root of each hair, called follicle. It has pigment (colour producing dye) cells. They produce a dark black colour called melanin. Because of this, hair gets its dark black in colour.

The amount of melanin produced by the follicle determines the colour of our hair. If melanin is more, the colour of hair is jet black. As the amount of melanin keeps decreasing, the colour of hair changes, from wheatish, light wheatish, red, mixed colour to grey hair.

representative imageDaily hair loss common
At a given time, there are at least one lakh hairs on the head. Usually about 100 hairs keeping falling daily. This is a part of the skin cells and hair growth. However, hair fall is a problem, if it crosses the limit. Hair fall goes unnoticed if it is about 100 hairs per day. But if it is more than that, the problem has to be addressed. This kind of unusual hair fall is called Alopecia. This gradually leads to baldness.

Life-span of hair is just 4.5 years
Scientists have concluded that the average life-span of the hair on your head is just four and a half years. Hair falls completely, along with its root, four-and-a-half years after birth. New hair grows in its place within the next six months. Sometimes, due to lack of nutrition as well as other reasons, new hair stops growing. This leads to baldness.

How fast does hair grow?representative imageIt is estimated that each hair grows up to 6 inches (15 cm) in a year. There are many doubts in this matter though. Hair growth is affected by genes, environment, food, pollution and hair care solutions. Worldwide it is seen that hair growth is maximum of six inches in Asians, while it is a minimum of four inches in Africans.

Problems begin at 20
Currently, the number of people making the rounds at hospitals and beauty clinics, for solutions to hair loss, greying, baldness and dandruff is increasing. These problems that were seen only in aged people some time ago, are arising among youngsters aged 20 years, in the recent times.

Hairstyles and rubber bands cause problems
We are used to trying out new hairstyles from time to time, to look different. For this we use hair strengtheners, curlers, dyes and bleaches that have chemicals in them. These cause hair loss as the roots are damaged. Sometimes, the damage to the roots is so much that there is no re-growth after hair loss, creating bald patches. That is why it is necessary to be careful while trying out new hair styles. It is better to take expert guidance.
representative image- Those suffering from hair loss better not try hairstyles. Do not use chemical dyes, hair rollers or strengtheners.- By binding the hair with rubber bands, there is a pull on the roots of the hair, leading for them to get loosened.
- Too much of combing the hair too leads to hair break and loss. It is better to use a wide-toothed comb to comb the hair.
- Hair is strong when wet. So it is better to comb the hair, before it dries up, after washing it.
Shampoo should not be used daily. Always use conditioner along with shampoo to avoid hair loss.
- You should not rub the hair with a towel or any fabric vigorously to dry it.

Reasons for hair loss, greying
- As we grow old, the roots of the hair get contracted. Growth of new hair stops. With this, there are chances of getting bald. However, this is based on hereditary factor, which is more in some and less in others.
- The main reason for hail loss is lack of well-balanced diet. A majority of us lose hair because of this factor.
- Hair loss is also caused due to thyroid hormone deficiency.
- New mothers have severe hair loss for two to three months after delivery. This is because of the hormonal activity during pregnancy.representative image- Also, high blood pressure, medicines used for nervous disorders, cancer treatment, chemotherapy etc., have a great effect on hair. There is hair loss also due to excess intake of Vitamin A, pills to stop pregnancy and anti-depressants.- Hair loss is huge due to fungal infection like dandruff.
- Iron deficiency, mental and physical stress also lead to hair loss.
- Hair roots are weakened due to vehicle pollution and contaminated water, leading to hair loss.
Hair loss and baldness are mostly due to hereditary reasons.
- Even lice infestation leads to hair loss.
- Diagnostic tests for diabetes, complete blood picture, tests for determining percentage of thyroid hormone, lipid profile tests help in determining the cause for hair loss.

representative imageProblem with hair dryer
Using of hair dryer will damage hair, leading to hair fall, thinning or breaking of hair and such other problems. Hair fall problem will intensify by using hair dryer. Hair follicles contain a tiny amount of moisture, besides melanin. When hair dryer is used, the moisture is heated up and evaporates, leaving a bubble in its place.

This condition is called hair bubble, which causes the hair to weaken, break and tangle. When the hair is combed, the strands break, wherever the bubbles are formed, and the hairs fall. Better not to use hair dryer at all. If necessary, use it for a short while, at a low speed and temperature. Hair can be dried under a running fan or in a place where there is good breeze.

How to diagnose, treat the problem
To determine the cause for hair fall, doctors will conduct various medical tests and will inquire about your mental condition and any medicines that you might have been taking at that point of time. If they fail to determine any normal cause for hair fall, they will take a sample of some hair along with the skin from the scalp and conduct a biopsy, to test for a more serious problem. They will later determine if there is any auto-immune or fungal disease.

Methods of treatment?representative image
There are a number of methods available, to treat hair fall or greying of hair. Doctors will determine the method of treatment, depending on the condition of the patients and their needs.
- Hair fall can be corrected with medication in some cases. They are available in the form of creams and lotions. Those who acquire baldness due to hereditary will find these useful. The results can be seen only after using for some five to six months.
- Certain kinds of steroids are used to repair damaged hair or correct the roots. But these are very expensive and side effects are more. Only expert doctors will administer these steroids, under careful supervision.
- Skin grafting is used to cure baldness. Skin from other parts of the body is stretched and secured, to cover bald patches on the head so that hair could grow again. But this also is an expensive method, and the result is not guaranteed.
- There is another method of reviving weak hair roots with laser beams so that it would produce hair again. Even this is expensive.
- Alternative medicines like homeo and Ayurveda are available to treat hair loss. These are proving effective in some.
- For those who are totally bald, or lost their hair completely, due to Cancer treatment, might use wigs. Even those who cannot afford high cost of treatments, can use wigs temporarily.

Use Vitamin B7
Vitamin B7 (biotin) will help in the growth of hair and nails. That is why it is called Hair Vitamin or Vitamin H. It is naturally found in liver, cauliflower, raw banana, yeast, whole grains, eggs, chicken and dairy products. Adequate intake of biotin leads to thick and long hair. Its deficiency leads to thin and breakable hair, scientists have concluded.

representative imageWhy curly hair?While some of us might have straight, thick hair, others might have hair that is curled up. While straight hair is common, very curly hair is genetic. In people with similar genes, the shape of the follicles and the way the hair grows through the epidermis, is different. Curly hair is the result of this. Actually, curly hair is much dryer than straight hair. It is easily breakable. Hence special care is necessary.

Will tonsure help hair growth?
It is just an illusion that hair growth is more and thick, when the head is tonsured frequently. Researchers claim that there is no scientific evidence for these beliefs. They also made it clear threpresentative imageat it is a myth to think that hair grows thick once a beard is shaved. Once the head is tonsured, use of hair oil and shampoo is adequate and effective, leading to better hair growth, some people think. Also hair is thick and rough at the roots, thinning out as it grows, becoming softer at the edges. Especially when hair is shaven closely, the stubble is rough to touch. So we think that the new hair is thicker.

There is another belief that if we use a hat, hair does not grow well and therefore leads to baldness. But scientists have dispelled this myth also. Some hair is lost when we wear a tight hat or pull the hat while removing it. If this is done for a long time, along with neglecting hair care, there is chance of hair falling. The problem will not arise if the caps are not tight and care is taken about the hair.

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