METRO PLUS

Preventing hair loss

Hair loss can result from several reasons ranging from hormonal imbalance to an improper diet. You can control hair fall with a few simple dos.

FOR CENTURIES, women have taken pride in their crowning glory. One gets worked up when there is a threat to the lovely tresses. A few strands of hair in the comb and you hit the panic button. But wait, hair fall may be part of the hair cycle or a result of improper hair care.

The hair cycle...

Each strand grows from a hair follicle, where the new cells produced are added on to the root causing the hair to grow. On an average, hair grows at half an inch per month. Hair grows more quickly in summer and between the ages of 16-24. Normally, each hair has a life span--a single strand lives for seven years, and is then replaced by a new one. But when the rate of hair fall overtakes the rate of replacement, or hair loss becomes obvious.

The `why's of hair loss...

There are several causes for hair loss. Between the ages of 40-50 women tend to lose about 20 per cent of their hair, though at a slower rate when compared to men. In men, the hereditary pattern of hair fall is observed. Childbirth, contraceptive pills, menopause and related hormonal changes and hysterectomy result in hair fall among women. "Women too complain of diffused hair loss, thinning in the top frontal part or localised baldness, Alopecia. This is due to over and improper use of hair styling and colouring products. Dietary deficiencies and stress are the major lifestyle causes of hair loss today," says beautician Laila Kakade.

And solutions...

"To rescue falling hair, take 2-teaspoons of castor oil, 2 teaspoons each of amla and shikakai powder, powdered fenugreek (methi) seeds, 2 teaspoons of neem paste and 2 eggs. Apply the paste to the scalp and hair and leave it on for 45 minutes. Wash off, with a mild shampoo.

For dandruff, massage hair with warm coconut oil and apply the the juice of one lemon to the scalp. Grind 550 grams of methi seeds. Mix in two eggs and apply on the scalp. Leave on for 30 minutes, shampoo with an anti-dandruff shampoo. For a final rinse, take warm water and add juice of one lemon to it. Do this twice a week to wash the hair off dandruff," says Laila. Scalp diseases from bacterial or fungal infection can lead to hair fall. Get medical help for any persistent hair infection and keep you hair clean and dandruff free as a maxim.

Food for the sheen...

What you eat reflects on your hair. "Hair needs proteins, vitamins and minerals, so incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables and milk in your diet," says Laila. Green, leafy vegetables, fresh fruit salads, coconut, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, yoghurt, almonds and cottage cheese give hair strength and a natural shine. Drink at least eight glasses of water, herbal teas and unsweetened fruit juice. Go easy on tea and coffee. They increase the drainage of water and important nutrients and hamper the absorption of minerals crucial for hair health. Alcohol is antagonistic to several minerals and vitamins that are essential for healthy hair.

Fitness for hair...

Exercise regularly. Regular exercise stimulates the circulatory system, encouraging a healthy blood supply to all cells, nourishing and helping in hair regeneration and repair. Be calm and de-stress yourself with yoga," says Laila. The maxim then, a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet, regular workouts and a stress free outlook should do wonders to revitalise the crowning glory.

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