Hair fall in Ayurveda is termed as Khalitya. It is classified under Shiroroga. Vitiated Pitta ie. Bhrajaka Pitta along with vitiated vata leads to weakening or withering of the hair form the hair roots. More over role of vitiated kapha along with rakta is also seen causing obstruction in hair roots which results in hindered or no hair growth further from that place. Hair fall – Khalitya is primarily a Pitta dominant tridoshjanya disease. Based on predominance of dosha it is divided into four types – Vataj, Pittaj, Kaphaj and Sannipataj According to Ayurveda, hair is derived either as a by-product or as a breakdown product of Asthi. Any disturbance in this tissue metabolism, which very much dep[ends on the digestive fire, can effect health of hair. The reason for hair loss is a subject that no two doctors, seem to agree on and everyone seems to have their own opinion on the subject. The major causes of hair fall are hormonal, nutritional deficiencies and complication to other diseases and medications. Hormone related hair fall may also result from an increased sensitivity of hair follicles to male hormones or due to greater number of male hormone receptors attached to hair follicles. This is the component that is inherited through the genes — termed as Pitta constitution. Excess of Pitta dosha in the body is increased by hot climatic conditions, excessive intake of spicy, salty and sour food, hot and sharp food, tea, coffee, alcohol, meats and excessive smoking.
Understanding Hair loss
The normal cycle of hair growth lasts for 2 to 6 years and each hair grows approximately one centimeter (less than half an inch) per month during this phase. About 90 percent of the hair on your scalp is growing at any one time. About 10 percent of the hair on your scalp, at any one time, is in a resting phase. After 2 to 3 months, the resting hair falls out and new hair starts to grow in its place. It is normal to shed some hair each day as part of this cycle. However, some people may experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss. Hair loss of this type can affect men, women and children. Genetic baldness is caused by the body’s failure to produce new hairs and not by excessive hair loss. Both men and women tend to lose hair thickness and amount as they age. Inherited or “pattern baldness” affects many more men than women. About 25% of men begin to bald by the time they are 30 years old, and about two-thirds are either bald or have a balding pattern by age 60. Hair loss or hair fall, also known as alopecia or baldness, is a loss of hair from the head or body. Hair loss can refer to general hair loss or male pattern hair loss. Some types of hair loss can be caused by alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder. The extreme forms of alopecia areata include alopecia totalis, which involves the loss of all head hair, and alopecia universalis, which involves the loss of all hair from the head and the body.
REASONS BEHIND HAIR LOSS
- Underlying medical condition: Hair loss can be the first sign of a disease. About 30 diseases, including thyroid disease and anemia, cause hair loss. By treating the disease, hair loss often can be stopped or reversed.
- Illness: Significant hair loss can occur after an illness. A major surgery, high fever, severe infection, or even the flu can cause hair loss. Your dermatologist may call this type of hair loss telogen (tee-lə-jen) effluvium (ih-flu-vee-uhm).
- Some cancer treatments: Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause hair loss. This hair loss is often temporary, but it can cause great distress.
- Ringworm of the scalp: This disease is contagious and common in children. Without effective treatment, ringworm can cause balding.
- Trichotillomania: This medical disorder causes people to repeatedly pull out their own hair. They often feel a constant urge to pull out the hair on the scalp. Some sufferers say they feel compelled to pull out their eyelashes, nose hairs, eyebrows, and other hairs on their bodies.
- Dandruff : Suffering from Dandruff can not only take a toll on your hair, but on your self-confidence as well! And why not? It can sometimes put you in a very embarrassing situation! Even though it is one of the most common problems that people suffer from, not many of us would know that Dandruff occurs when dead skin cells collect on the scalp. Not only does it give you an unkempt and unhealthy look, but the dead cells block the pores in the scalp, and weaken the hair, eventually making it fall off.
Hormones and Stress
- Giving birth: After giving birth, some women have noticeable hair loss. Falling estrogen levels cause this type of hair loss. The hair loss is temporary. In a few months, women see their hair re-grow.
- Menopause: Hair loss is common during menopause. This loss is often temporary. Hair re-grows with time. If a woman is 40 years of age or older, she should not expect her hair to have the fullness that it did when she was younger.
- Stress: Experiencing a traumatic event (e.g., death of a loved one or divorce) can cause hair loss.
Deiting and poor Nutrition
- Weight loss: Some people see hair loss after losing more than 15 pounds. The hair loss often appears 3 to 6 months after losing the weight. This hair loss is common. The hair re-grows without help.
- Vitamin A: Too much vitamin A can cause hair loss. People can get too much of this vitamin through vitamin supplements or medicines. Once the body stops getting too much vitamin A, normal hair growth resumes.
- Protein: When the body does not get enough protein, it rations the protein it does get. One way the body can ration protein is to shut down hair growth. About 2 to 3 months after a person does not eat enough protein, you can see the hair loss. Eating more protein will stop the hair loss. Meats, eggs, and fish are good sources of protein. Vegetarians can get more protein by adding nuts, seeds, and beans to their diet.
- Iron: Not getting enough iron can lead to hair loss. Good vegetarian sources of iron are iron-fortified cereals, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, lentils, and spinach. Clams, oysters, and organ meats top the list of good animal sources of iron.
- Eating disorder: When a person has an eating disorder, hair loss is common. Anorexia (not eating enough) and bulimia (vomiting after eating) can cause hair loss.
Some prescription medicines can cause hair loss. These include:
- Blood thinners.
- High-dose vitamin A.
- Medicines that treat arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
- Birth control pills: Some women who take the pill see hair loss. Sometimes, the hair loss begins when a women stops taking the pill. Women who get this hair loss often have hereditary hair loss.
- Anabolic steroids (steroids taken to build muscle and improve athletic performance) may cause hair loss.
Incorrect Hair Care
Your hairstyle and even some of the products you use on your hair can cause hair loss.
- Products: Frequent bleaching or permanents can cause the hair to break. Regular or improper use of dyes, gels, relaxers, and hair sprays also can cause hair breakage.
- Blow dryers, flat irons, and other devices: Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage.
- Hairpins, clips, and rubber bands: When used to hold hair tightly, hairpins, clips, and rubber bands can break hair.
Years of wearing hair in a style that pulls on the hair such as a ponytail, cornrows, or braids can cause a type of hair loss known as traction alopecia.
The following practices often cause the hair to break:
- Too much shampooing, combing, or brushing (100 strokes or more a day).
- Rubbing wet hair dry with a towel.
- Brushing or combing wet hair (especially people who are Asian or Caucasian).
- For many people, hair is more elastic when wet. This means it breaks off more easily than dry hair. When hair breakage occurs, the hair appears shaggy or too thin. For people who are of African descent, their hair is not more elastic when wet.
Hair Fall – How can Ayurveda Help?
Ayurveda seeks to cure hair loss in a more holistic manner. The therapy is based on addressing the causes behind hair loss directly. So, metabolic disturbances among various biochemicals, including hormones, which lead to hair loss, are corrected. Treatment for hair loss is aimed at pacification of Pitta through a customized diet and lifestyle regime, along with medication. A combination of diet, herbs, oil massage, meditation, aromatherapy, breathing and yoga can be beneficial in addressing the problem of hair loss and premature greying of hair.
Healthy diet: The intake of greasy, oily and fried foods that are heat-generating, acidic and tend to aggravate the Pitta, should be avoided. Thus, ayurveda healers recommend including cooling foods like asparagus, mint (pudina), coriander (dhaniya) leaves, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, bitter gourd (karela), green leafy vegetables, pineapple, cherries, yogurt and warm milk. Ice cold drinks should be avoided for healthier and better digestion. Include protein-rich food like wheat, oats, barley, maize and brown rice in your diet. Kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas and green peas are other great sources of protein. Also, drink a lot of water as it not just keeps your skin healthy but also makes hair roots strong.
Head/Scalp Massage : Massaging of the scalp is an effective way to nourish you hair. Rub hot oil into your scalp for at least one or two hours to restore the moisture of your hair. This will also replenish the hair roots and provide them intense nourishment. You can massage your scalp with coconut, almond, neem, amla or olive oil.
Hair Care : Avoid taking hot water baths as hot water opens the pores, making your hair follicles brittle, leading to hair fall. Hair should not be cleaned with chemical formulations like commercially available shampoos. Ayurveda recommends using natural cleansers like Indian gooseberry (amla) and shikakai for washing hair. This should be supported with regular massaging of the scalp with natural oils like coconut oil and amla oil. Another thing to be kept in mind is to use a thick hair brush and not to comb your hair roughly if you are facing hair fall.
Manage Stress : Stress is a major factor that leads to hair fall. You may try meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.
Healthy living : Ensure that you get ample sleep as insufficient sleep may aggravate the problem. Also, refrain from smoking and alcohol as they aggravate the problem of hair loss. Ayurveda practioners recommend that bowel movement should be regular to ensure that toxins are not retained within the body. These toxins are responsible for aggravating hair loss. Thus, bowel cleansers are commonly recommended. Among these, triphala is the most recommended of all ayurvedic herbs. In case you suffer from chronic constipation, it should be discussed in detail with the health professional. Something random – Watch out if you are doing this !!! Excessive stress and some medication are conclusively known to retard hair growth and promote hair loss. Consult your doctor. Cut down on the use of hair spray, hair gels, and styling creams that contain harsh chemical ingredients, which can dry out the scalp and cause the formation of flakes. Also harsh treatments such as perms, colours, relaxers etc take a toll on the health of your hair. Care for your hair. Avoid changing your shampoo and conditioner constantly. Stick to one good mild cleansing shampoo for six months before changing. Keep patience Excessive exposure to the sun, pollution, rain water and dust without proper protection makes the hair dry, brittle and limp. Use a live in conditioner during the rains to protect it from the humidity and wash and oil it regularly to maintain a healthy scalp. It matters. So now knowing that much about hair, if you are facing a problem of hair loss – no need to worry just visit your nearby ayurvedic doctor and get to the real cause of the problem and follow the advise and treatment for the same. That would be the right approach to address your problem.
Attention Pl. – The information at any place in this website is just on an informative basis as well as to create awareness among the people regarding their health and ecourage to adopt ayurveda in their routine life. Hence no one ever should take it as a forgranted treatment as such for any disesase and is always advised to contact his/her physician before using it in any way