You simply can’t take your hair for granted!
I have straight waist length hair. Many of my friends ask me the secret behind its thick glossy shine. I tell them, “coconut oil”. They still think that there is some untold secret behind it. Only I know that the only secret is patient care which many of them fail to give their hair.
My paternal grandmother was hardly 5 ft tall but had thick black knee length hair which camouflaged her age. She only had sons, which is perhaps why, I, her granddaughter inherited it. My mother made sure that I carried forward the tradition.
Before I tell you those hair care secrets, I think you should know the primary reasons which check hair growth and cause hair fall.
11 Causes for Thinning Hair
Bear it or not, the ugly truth is, hair will fall every three years. A few strands of hair are sure to go every day.
- Lack of nourishment – Nourishment, both inside and outside is a must for health skin and hair. Often deficiencies of Vitamin B and certain macro nutrients can cause hair loss.
- Wrong food habits! Your hair bears the brunt for the food that you eat. Foods that provide zero nutrition and crash diets steal away nourishment.
- Merciless tugging and pulling of hair – This can be an unconscious activity. Be it scrunchies, rubber bands or hair clips, your hair cannot stand too much harassment. It will fall.
- Not allowing hair time – Those who keep hair in a bun or plait for long hours should give it a breather sometime in the day. On the other hand, leaving hair open always can also result in split ends.
- Pent up heat – Wearing cap or helmet for long duration causes pent up heat and leads to hair fall. Pent up heat aggravates androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) too. Long exposure to hot sun is also a NO-NO to hair.
- Medical Reasons – All those ladies out there, keep in mind that common conditions like iron deficiency anemia, diabetes and hypothyroidism can cause hair fall.
- Change in temperature affects both skin and hair. Winter is a time when many people lose a lot of hair. In winter, you may tend to wash your hair a little less than during summer. The dry dust in winter settles on the skin and hair making them dry. Lack of moisture also adds to the woe.
- Even henna (mehandi), if done improperly, can cause dry hair and hair fall. Henna is definitely a good hair conditioner. I use henna hair packs whenever I can. In my experience, henna dries up my scalp and hair when I do not add either curd or oil to it. Sometimes, I oil my hair (only the hair and not the scalp) before doing henna. Since I do not need colour this normally works. However, I feel it is best to avoid henna during winter.
- Regular use of blow dryer is a crime. I hear you say, hair dryer cannot cause hair loss. I totally agree. But, regular use of hair dryer weakens hair and increases damage.
- It’s foolish to use warm water to wash hair. A few people do this. You can use lukewarm water but not very warm to wash hair. Pouring warm water on the head is not good for your eye health as well.
- Smoking – If you have taken care of everything else but enjoy the smoke, then that could be the only reason for your hair loss. Smoking affects blood circulation, pollutes blood with a burst of toxins and accelerates aging process. If baldness runs in your genes smoking makes it worse.
- Shampoo! You are tempted by the long, shiny hair in the commercials. You are made to believe that shampoo worked that charm. But, it’s on the contrary. Shampoos contain chemicals. Result? Dull, unhealthy hair and hair loss, when used too frequently.
- Chronic emotional stress – Hair fall due to stress is common amongst teenagers and students. Stress causes a rise in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. An increase in this chronically is not good for hair. Hair fall caused by physical stress or trauma is also not uncommon.
- Other common causes – These are some other common and well known reasons. Dandruff, scalp infections and other skin conditions, the use of harsh chemical based hair products, certain medications, hair treatments and colouring.
Remedies for Hair Fall
- Start at the root. Your hair needs protein, biotin and keratin. Proteins are the building blocks of our body. Keratin is a type of structural protein that makes up hair, nails and skin. Biotin is an essential vitamin, also called Vitamin B7. If you fail to eat foods from all food groups you may not get enough of proteins and other nutrients. That presents as brittle nails, unhealthy skin or damaged hair. Eat foods like almonds, walnuts, berries, bananas, beans, mushrooms, soy, avocados, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, whole wheat, fish and egg to replenish yourself with these nutrients. (You should not take supplements unless advised by your doctor.) Limit junk food.
- Remember the bane of empty calories.
What are empty calories? Any food that lacks nutrition gives nothing but calories. Empty in nutrition full in calories. The best example is your favourite cake. Cake is delicious, tempting. All it contains is sugar and fat. When you eat a piece of cake, your body gets nothing but sugar and fat. It provides no vitamin, mineral or any other nutrient. A diet dominated by Empty Calorie Foods can affect your overall health.
- There was a time when my hair screamed with split ends. I used a lot of hair clips at that time.I know you cannot completely avoid scrunchies and hair bands. Just be gentle when you use them.
- Carefully avoid pulling at hair when you untie your plait or pony tail.
- Do not brush wet hair.
- Always brush your hair gently. Use a wide toothed comb that can untangle hair. Have you seen an Afro comb? It is wide toothed comb mostly used in salons. Invest in a good comb which can treat your hair royally.
- When you untangle your long hair, do it with hand from bottom moving upwards to the roots.
- Wear your hair up in a bun when you hit the bed. Shorter hair can be tied up. This will prevent hair from rubbing against the pillow which can result in damage, breakage and even hair fall.
- If you wear cap, helmet or scarf, avoid that for a few hours in a day. Let your hair enjoy the breeze sometime. (By no means should you discard helmet for safety reasons.)
- Hair fall can be one of the symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia and Hypothyroidism. Managing the underlying disease will stop hair loss. Diabetes weakens immune system resulting in thinning hair.
- Conditioning is the only cure for dry hair. I shall tell you some easy homemade conditioners in my next post.
- I know most of you believe in lathering up. Trust me! Your hair doesn’t need all that shampoo. Your scalp does. When you use shampoo, use it on the scalp and let it run down the hair. Rinse well. Choose herbal shampoos over the commercial ones. Herbal shampoo is very gentle on hair.
- Both physical and emotional stress has a negative impact on hair health. You should talk to your doctor about hair loss related to physical stress as in an accident or surgery. Manage emotional stress with meditation, pranayama, exercise and yoga.
- Common Causes:
- Dandruff is a big concern when you have it. Whatever you do, it adamantly stays on.
Try these quick remedies to treat dandruff:
- Soak two teaspoons of methi dana (fenugreek seeds) overnight. Grind them in the morning with curd. Apply on to scalp and hair. Rinse well after 20 minutes. (This paste is a little difficult to get rid of.) Do this thrice a week for best results. Fenugreek is good for hair growth as it contains protein and lecithin. Lecithin is a fatty substance that will help to mend dry, damaged hair.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to coconut oil and massage on to scalp. Rinse off after 15 minutes. (Extra lemon juice is bad for hair.)
- Add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to your hair oil or shampoo. Tea Tree Oil is a natural anti bacterial that can arrest scalp infections and dandruff. (I love this stuff. It is a good treatment for pimples and acne as well.)
- The other day, a teenaged friend of mine was brooding over her sudden hair loss. She straightened her curly hair for a programme. She failed to ask her salonist about the follow up care she needed for this treatment. And her salonist too forgot to advise her on the same. Only after a couple of days that she realized she was losing a lot more hair than she normally did. Obviously, she was not using the deep protein conditioner that she had to.
I would ask you to avoid all hair treatments and artificial colouring. And if at all you have to, for unavoidable reasons, then follow your salonist’s instructions to keep hair healthy afterwards.
Remember the hair care mantra: Deep condition your hair. Snap in all the moisture and protein.