Hair is the crowning glory of man. It is a valuable beauty asset that is a prominent feature of an individual’s personality. It is considered to be the mirror of your health and is an indicator of beauty and well being. Generally, the distribution of the growth of hair in men and women is under genetic and hormonal control. Scalp infections and reactions to drugs or radiation, exposure to excessive heat, chemicals and the use of mechanical devices leads to a number of hair problems.
Hair loss or Alopecia is a common hair problem that can arise due to hereditary factors as well as external factors such as medication, radiation, drug reaction etc. Heredity plays a big role in the growth of hair. Hormones do affect hair growth. For instance, hormonal changes during pregnancy result in the retention of an increased number of scalp hairs in the anagen phase causing the hair to grow luxuriously. However, three or four months after pregnancy there is apparent hair loss, due to the normal component of resting hair getting lost. The thyroid hormone also plays an important part in hair growth. Too much thyroid hormone makes the hair grow profusely whereas too less makes is lusterless and leads to hair fall. Patients on chemotherapy for cancer treatment often experience hair loss as the drug interferes with the cell division process of the hair leading to the formation of thin hair shafts that break within the follicle. Hair fall also occurs due to anemia or lack of iron on account of certain diseases such as typhoid or hormonal alterations and various other factors.
Dandruff: Hair loss due to dandruff is accompanied by infection. Dandruff appears in the form of skin that falls from the scalp. Dry flakes cover the scalp in small patches and then spread to the entire scalp surface. The oily type of dandruff manifests itself as an accumulation of thick crust. This can spread beyond the scalp to the forehead, ears, neck and face causing skin irritation and itching. This condition is caused due to an increased secretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands. This can also be a hereditary trait.
Lice and nits: Hair lice and nymphs also lead to severe hair loss and are a common hair problem. Lice breed on dry scalp especially during the rainy season in the presence of oil, water, dust, dirt and perspiration. Lice and nits can also thrive in excessive humidity. These parasites suck the blood from the scalp and attach their eggs to the hair. Application of special preparations on the scalp containing mercaptan or sulfur compounds help in treating this condition.
Dry damaged hair: This is one of the most common hair problems faced by a number of individuals. It is the outcome of exposing the hair to chlorinated water, blow dryers, excessive heat due to radiation, sunlight, regular hair straightening, perming, coloring etc. Permanent hair color contains ammonium peroxide and changes the natural texture of the hair making it brittle and dry. These colorants may also be mutagenic in nature. A number of ammonia based colorants contain nickel, cobalt, chromium and lead which are harmful chemicals and may result in stealing the luster and softness of hair.
Effective ways to combat hair problems:
Never blow dry the hair completely dry. Always leave moisture and let the hair dry on its own.
- Use a thermal protector when exposing the hair to heat. Such as while blow drying, perming, straightening etc.
- Use a low ammonia hair color or one which does not have ammonia in it.
- Avoid using a neutralizer while perming. Prefer air oxidization of the perms.
- Avoid brushing wet or damp hair.
- Always remember to clean your hair after a swim.
- Eat a well balanced and nutritious diet rich in proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish, liver, nuts, green leafy vegetables, coconut, carrots, milk etc.
- Add vitamin A, B, C, D and E supplements along with cod liver oil to your diet.
By combating the various hair problems you can have beautiful hair. The key is to go low on chemicals, take a well balanced diet, adequate amount of rest and stick to a hair care program on regular basis.