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Bad hair season

Dr. ARVIND POSWAL
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Hair fall can get worse in summer but there's no need to panic, writes Dr. ARVIND POSWAL.

Learn to relax:Stress can also damage your hair.Photo: S.S. Kumar
Learn to relax:Stress can also damage your hair.Photo: S.S. Kumar

With summer approaching, your hair could take a beating. Dull hair, dandruff and excessive hair fall are some of the problems you could face. The scorching heat leads to excessive sweating and damp skin. As a result the pores on the skin's surface open up to release sweat. This constant moisture on the scalp makes the hair roots weak and more prone to falling off. It also causes itching and irritation, which worsens the condition.

Though hair fall is a common problem seen all through the year, it is definitely more in summer. Remember, fretting and worrying about it can make things even worse. Hair fall itself has a number of causative factors. One is heredity, something that nobody can control. But factors like improper diet, intake of food with high sugar content, stress and use of chemicals (in shampoos and conditioners) are in your hands.

Don't panic if you lose some strands daily while combing your hair. This is a common phenomenon and a natural process. It is common to lose 45 to 60 hairs a day and these are replaced by new growth. When the number of hairs lost is more than 60 a day then it's time to worry. Consult a specialist. But here are a few simple tips that should help deal with the problem:

The first requirement is regular hair wash. Not doing so could lead to oily scalp, excessive hair fall, dandruff and roughness. Remember to use a mild shampoo, however.

Loss of hair is mainly associated with old age but today even youngsters seem to suffer from it. Sometimes this tends to cause loss of self-confidence. It is important to realise that hair loss can be of different types. The most common is androgenic alopecia also known as male pattern baldness (in men) or female pattern baldness (in women). The main causative factor here is heredity and genetics. The other types are usually temporary and may be symptoms of major illness like skin infection, stress, drug overdose, etc.

Split-ends, dryness of hair, frizziness are other problems that most people face. Dry hair makes hair look dull even after a wash and also causes dandruff. Split-ends make the hair look thinner at the bottom and leads to breaks. But here's how you can deal with it. Frizzy hair not only looks unkempt, but also makes a person look much older. Regular trimming reduces split-ends and applying oil and conditioners helps prevent dryness and use vinegar or castor oil smoothens the frizz. .

But how does one differentiate between normal hair fall and abnormal hair loss?

Most people are not sure when it is a serious problem and when it is a passing phase. An answer lies in the basic hair cycle. Change of seasons always has certain effects on skin and hair. Each strand of the scalp goes through a growing phase or anagen, which lasts for almost 1000 days. Then comes a transitional phase or catagen, which lasts for 10 days, when hair stops growing. Then comes the final phase, or telogen, which goes on for another 100 days. After this, the hair finally falls out of the follicle and is replaced by a new strand of hair and a new cycle starts again. Most people expect not to lose even a single strand of hair, which is totally impossible. If the case is severe, then a doctor's visit is definitely indicated. There may be an underlying problem that may require treatment.

But it is also important to do the things that can at least reduce, if not stop, the rate of hair fall. Keep your scalp as clean as possible. If you have clogged pores, there chances of hair fall are more. Don't stay out in the sun for too long. This can make your hair dry and eventually lead to balding. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly and, more important, try to stay relaxed. During summer take twice as much care of your hair as you would normally.


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