Who does not have a desire for a beautiful, long and dense hair. If we talk about girls, they always long for pretty hairs and if we talk about boys, they also want their hairs to be silky and smooth, and look beautiful. But sometimes due to certain reasons, our hairs start falling i.e. problem of hair fall starts. This is the problem which we are going to discuss today.
Pollution, dust and sun…all of them damage our hairs and as a result we have rough and weak hairs which break very easily. Gradually we become so much conscious about our hairs that we try almost all available shampoos and conditioners on our hairs. But the chemicals used in these shampoos and conditioners do more damage than good. The result is premature graying of hairs, hair fall, baldness, dandruff etc.
To discuss hairfall in more detail, as usual we have our Ayurveda expert, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora. Welcome to the show doctor.
Q. As I have told our viewers, we are going to discuss hair fall today. First of all, as we all see, hair fall is a very common problem. It is said that hair fall upto a certain percentage, is quite normal and should not be considered a problem. But at what stage, we start considering hair fall as a disease?
Infact, there is no such criteria to decide this. But if I put it simply, if the hair fall during combing or hair wash is as much as to draw your attention, it means now your hair fall is no longer a normal thing but is gradually acquiring form of a disease.
Q. As I understand, if the number of hairs coming out during combing or hair wash is sufficient to draw our attention or make us conscious, it means that gradually it is taking the form of a disease. But what are the reasons behind hair fall?
Basically, the causes behind hair fall can be divided into three categories: 1) Physiological reasons 2) Genetic reasons, and 3) Pathological reasons
By physiological, I mean, hair loss begins automatically as we age. We don’t even notice hair fall but our hairs start thinning or becoming lighter. Also, at the time of season change, i.e. at the time of change from winter to summer or during monsoon season, we often notice an increase in hair fall. So, this also falls in the category of physiological reasons. In such cases, as the season become stable, there is automatic recovery.
When we talk about the category of genetic reasons, they have a great impact on hair fall. We often ask our patients about the kind of hairs that his father have or the kind of hairs that his uncles or grandfather have. If your father has a problem, undoubtedly by being careful about your diet and avoiding stress, you can delay this problem to a great extent but you will always be prone to that type of baldness.
Q. If our nutrition is not good, how would it affect hair fall? Upto what extent can it increase our hair fall?
The most common and foremost reason that we see behind the problem of hair fall is actually nutritional. Our eating habits now-a-days is not good at all. We consume packaged or tinned things which fail to provide us any nutrition. We often see that though they contain a lot of calories but believe me these calories are worthless. It is very important to be careful about the food that you eat. You must make sure that it gives you the proper nourishment. We always talk about fresh food and say that we should include fresh fruits, salads, green leafy vegetables but when it comes to bringing them in practice, we seem to ignore everything and somehow take very refined food. Today all the freshness has been lost as we consume tinned food. The tinned or packaged things are prevented from rotting with the help of preservatives but they can’t be considered fresh. I always hear people saying that they are eating fresh things but I can’t consider these things as fresh at all. The truth is that you have successfully prevented the things from rotting whether by refrigerating, deep freezing or using preservative but they are not fresh at all. The nourishment that you will get from fresh food cannot be compared with the nourishment provided by stale packaged food. Apart from this, we often eat junk food and moreover the combination of food items that we consume is too bad. We consume cold drinks with pizza and so on. We can’t expect good nutrition from such food items. And, in my opinion this is the most common cause in hair fall. By practicing such diet, while we are not otherwise sick, but almost every second person is suffering from hair fall.
Loss of nutrition makes us a victim of many other diseases including hair fall. So, first of all we should consume homemade fresh and nutritious food. We should say bye to junk food and trust the homemade food as it is very good and provides us with complete nutrition too.
Q. If we talk about reasons other than nutrition then, as you had mentioned, the use of chemicals is another important factor. Do you want to say anything to the girls and boys who go for hair rebonding or use different shampoos and conditioners by getting influenced by advertisements?
I would definitely talk about it but before that, I would like to emphasize on one thing. As you said, we should eat homemade food which our mother or wives cook for us at home. But the fact is, these days both the partners go out to work. So somehow, they are forced to eat food from outside and even for the kids generally food is ordered from outside. So, the trend which used to be followed earlier that wives used to take care of the house and cook food and husbands used to go out to work…does not exist any longer. See, everything has an advantage but there are disadvantages too. It’s good that women are coming out and working but as a physician, I would like to tell you that this too has a side effect. The unavailability of homemade food has become a reason for various problems.
I am afraid you are sharing your own problem with us.
I am also one amongst you and like you I am also a part of society. So obviously, what happens to you, happens to me as well. As I told you, any change in the society has a positive aspect but a bit of negativity is always attached to it. So, when women are working outside, it has a lot of positive impact but a bit of negative thing which is attached with it is that, there is lack availability of homemade food. Nutritional deficiencies are seen as a results of this.
Q. Coming back to use of chemicals, what would you say to those who use chemicals?
Nowadays, you regularly apply heat and use chemicals on hairs, do straightening, coloring ( try different types of colors). So we have adopted all such harmful things and at the same time stopped practicing one good practice i.e. oil massage. Oil massage used to give nutrition to our scalp. So in a sense we have increased negativity and decreased positivity. This imbalance is quite harmful. Obviously if you are using chemical shampoos on your hairs, it’s definitely not good for them. By doing so, you are somehow damaging the hair roots.
Heat is responsible for scarring and scarring is related to burning. If we get our skin burnt then the hair loss observed in that region is of scarring pattern. It means there will be no hair re-growth in that region as the hair follicles have become damaged. When you use dryer on daily basis, you are applying heat to your scalp. Of course the heat is not as intense so it won’t bring the damage at once but gradually and progressively, it will bring the damage. In my opinion, the things like heat applications and detergents or shampoos which contain large amount of chemicals are very harmful for your hair roots and have negative impact on them. So I advise against them and instead would ask you to use amla (Indian gooseberry), Reetha (or soapnut), shikakai (Acacia concinna or fruit for hair) and various other natural things as shampoo. I would tell you the method of using them in a bit. Thus, adopting natural things would be beneficial.
Of course we would like to use them but I would like to tell our viewers that we need to use home remedies and be alert as healthy hairs enhance our beauty. For boys too, I would say that, hairs are very important gift of god and we need to take care of them. We should not use such chemicals which deteriorates our hair quality by making them harsh or affecting their growth, or by being responsible for hair fall.
Q. So, what are those natural home remedies which can be used at home to control hair fall?
Whenever a patient comes to us with the problem of hair fall, first of all, we try to find the reasons which can be responsible for his/her hair fall. Dandruff can be a reason of hair fall. So, if it is found to be a cause then we can’t expect results by providing nourishment to hairs but instead we will have to find the cause of dandruff. In case of dandruff, we always recommend a scalp massage with ‘kutjadi tel’. For consumption we give them ‘rasayan churna’. Rasayan churna should always be consumed in a special way. If 1 spoon of rasayan churna has to be consumed then we have to mix 1 spoon of honey and almost 1/2 spoon of molten ghee (‘clarified butter’) to it and ask the patient to consume the mixture, empty stomach. This rasayan churna mixture provides nourishment and removes dandruff internally. The external dandruff is controlled by the oil massage with ‘kutjadi tel’. Thus the patient gets immediate relief from hair fall. Fungal infections are also seen quite often.
As I had said, the combination of amla (or indian gooseberry), reetha (or soapnut) and shikakai (acacia concinna or fruit for hair) works as a very good shampoo. You can prepare the combination in powdered form and even mix in brahmi (or water hyssop). All of the ingredients are easily available at any provisional store. Amla (or indian gooseberry) can be used in a larger amount because it is very good for hairs. It gives nourishment externally when applied to hairs in the form of shampoo, and provides nourishment internally when consumed in the form of rasayan churna. If you suspect that there is some infection in our skin or some form of fungal infection is causing hair fall then instead of soaking the above mentioned mixture in water (while preparing shampoo), we should soak it in decoction of neem. This will clean the scalp as well as clear the septic atmosphere present there. The amla (or indian gooseberry), reetha (or soapnut), shikakai (acacia concinna or fruit for hair) combination works as a herbal shampoo.
So, these are the kind of suggestions that we give to our patients. Though these are very simple remedies but believe me if you are suffering from hair fall and use rasayan churna, muktabh yog (as calcium supplement) and bhringraj (or false daisy) then within a period of one month 99% of the patients get 50-70 % relief. In next one month, they get complete relief from hair fall and in the third month the hairs start re-growth which includes improvement in texture. Also, use of bhringraj (or false daisy) provides color to the gray hair. So, this actually happens and even the graying of hairs can be stopped. But then the patient should have patience. Every problem has a remedy but the actual cause has to be ascertained and resolved thereafter. It needs to be found out that whether the hair fall is due to dandruff, lack of nourishment, or fungal infection, or use of chemicals, or alopecia totalis, or alopecia areata. Sometimes, we see that the hair loss happens in a very small region. This is termed as alopecia areata, which is a form of fungal infection. Thus, if you adopt natural remedies, then hair fall is not such a big problem which cannot be dealt with and resolved.