Hair Apparent

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Hair loss is not just a cosmetic problem; it is actually a medical disorder. It not only affects one’s self-confidence, it can also ‘hijack’ one’s career. Research suggests that people with hair loss don’t get promotions on time.

Studies suggest that certain cells [stem cells] that can send molecular signals to [dormant] hair follicles to initiate new hair growth. You’d call it a ‘stem cells-initiated’ permanent solution for baldness.

  • Did you know that men whose fathers have experienced hair loss are 2.5 times more likely to experience hair loss themselves?
  • Hair thinning in men, also known as male pattern baldness [androgenetic alopecia], can begin as early as the end of puberty.
  • Almost 25 per cent of men begin balding by age 30. Nearly 60 per cent of them show balding by age 60.
  • There has been a 250 per cent rise in hair loss cases in the 16-25 years’ age-group.

Hair loss can also lead to divorce.

Hair loss in men is four times greater than in women. Statistics suggests that about 4.5 crore men are bald.

The most common type of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, which worsens with age. It’s marked by a receding hairline, with balding over the scalp.

The cause may be hereditary, smoking, alcohol, depression, or the use of steroids and body-building supplements.

Other causes are hormonal [DHT-dihydrotesterone] issues, thyroid disorders and excess stress.

Hair loss also predicts an underlying disease. Hair starts thinning 5-6 weeks before the detection of diabetes. Likewise, hair loss is said to suggest a three-fold increased risk of heart disease.

Alopecia Areata

This refers to hair loss in patches, primarily on the scalp. It can also affect any part of the body — in certain cases, the eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair [beard; moustache].

It can lead to total loss of hair on the head [alopecia areata totalis], or complete loss of hair, all over the body [alopecia areata universalis].

You may have always thought that hair loss is just a cosmetic disorder. You may be wrong. It is actually a medical problem. It should, therefore, be treated by a medical professional — better still, a homeopath, or Ayurveda physician, specialised in dermatology.

There are as many causes for hair loss as there are types. Causes can be genetic, dietetic imbalance, hormonal problems and emotional stress.

Hair loss can also, likewise, be triggered by dandruff, certain cosmetics and skin disorders, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis [eczema] of the scalp.

Hair loss often presents with a generalised thinning of hair over the crown, or top, and front of the head.

Hair Loss In Women

Hair loss is said to affect nearly one-third of women.

It affects a woman’s emotions and self-esteem, much more, perhaps, than it does in men.

Hair loss is a nothing short of a terrible experience for most women, who, as a rule, cannot even think of hair loss in their dreams. This is because the very thought of hair loss can trigger intense emotional, or psychological, reactions in them.

What is characteristic of hair loss is a reduction in the size of the hair follicles on the scalp.

Research suggests that hair loss may be an early, latent sign of an underlying illness, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. It is, therefore, advisable to investigate and rule out, or confirm, such possible causes.

It is reported that nearly 60 per cent of Indian women suffer from hair loss due to a low intake of dietary iron [anaemia]. Other causes include a desire to maintain size-zero appearance, or lose weight quickly, aside from polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS].

PCOS presents with excessive hair growth in ‘non-hairy’ areas — on hands and chin — with loss of hair on the scalp. This is a hormonal condition; it is imperative to treat PCOS appropriately.

Laboratory investigations should include blood sugar tests for diabetes, thyroid hormone function test for hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, haemoglobin levels, serum ferritin for iron-deficiency anaemia, and abdominal ultrasound for polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS] — because PCOS, as already stated, is one of the classical triggers of hair loss in women.

Hair loss, due to hormonal changes, or vitamin or mineral deficiency, is also common during and after pregnancy. Subject to the likely cause, your doctor will treat your hair loss by correcting the underlying trigger.

Hormonal factors that cause hair loss during pregnancy will resolve as the body returns to pre-pregnancy hormone levels and/or once the normal cycle of hair growth and loss starts again.

According to one study, the strongest predictor of hair loss in women is their marital status. Another study has found that women experience the most hair loss during autumn.

Hair loss in women is not just about genetics. It may also be triggered by ‘separation blues’ [divorce], smoking, or drinking.

  • Hair loss affects 45 per cent of all women
  • Marginal hair loss and thinning on the crown occurs in 25 per cent of women by age 45
  • Hair loss in women can begin as early as twenties; so, take care. And, any which way you look at it, the best thing one can do is to seek early medical treatment.

Ayurveda

Treating alopecia with Ayurveda medicated oils have gained importance due to the safety and efficacy of their use. Dhathri Hair Care Plus herbal oil is an Ayurveda proprietary medicine formulated as oil with herbal extracts aimed at reducing alopecia [hair loss], premature greying of the hair and seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp [dandruff]. It stimulates the growth of hair, provides a cooling effect to mind and body. The herbal oil contains herbal extracts prepared and concocted using the traditional healing effect of Ayurveda.

Objective. The aim of this clinical study was to evaluate the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of Dhathri Hair Care Plus Herbal Oil in comparison with coconut oil in the management of alopecia, premature greying of hair and seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp in adults.

Material and methods. 36 healthy respondents were enrolled and completed the period of study positively. The 60 Second Hair Comb Test, Adherent Scalp Flaking Score, Grey Hair Shade Card Assessment, Objective Hair Assessment Questionnaire, Subjective Hair Assessment Questionnaire and Subject IP Feedback Questionnaire were used in the study.

Conclusions. Dhathri Hair Care Plus Herbal Oil was effective in reducing hair loss, treating Seborrhoeic dermatitis and slightly delaying the premature greying of hair, compared with coconut oil as the standard.

  • Ramasamy M S, Godavari Amar, Sajikumar Sahadevan, Rajeshkumar Appukuttan, “Effectiveness of Dhathri Hair Care and Herbal Oil Against Alopecia and Seborrhoeic Dermatitis — A Clinical Study.” J Pre Clin Clin Res. 2023;17[1]:5-9.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy takes into account each person’s lifestyle, dietary regimen, likes and dislikes. It recommends natural ‘hormone-inhibiting’ foods, such as soya. It lays emphasis on the ‘hair-affected’ individual to take adequate rest and sleep; and, do regular exercise, or yoga, to improve blood circulation to the scalp.

Homeopathy also emphasises on correcting general, or local, concerns, while looking at issues related to proper hygiene, nutrition, bathing and clothing, along with proper care of the scalp.

Clinical studies in Europe have shown that 83 per cent of women patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS], who had enrolled, started ovulating normally and had no sign, or presence, of ovarian cysts, after homeopathic treatment. There was also a marked reduction in their hair loss.

Homeopathy has been clinically proven to stimulate the hair follicles and rejuvenate hair. This is followed by re-growth and improved density of hair in the previously affected area.

Nutrition

Pumpkin seed oil, zinc and other nutritional supplements may help with hair loss, according to new research. Researchers in Boston and Miami reviewed 30 different studies — some had men participating, while others focused on women, and another looked at hair loss in children — and, found nutritional supplements with the best potential benefits from several hair loss brands and natural supplements. A few of the brands included Viviscal, Nourkrin, Nutrafol, Lamdapil and Pantogar, and potentially beneficial supplements, viz., capsaicin and isoflavone, omega 3 and 6 with antioxidants, apple nutraceutical, total glucosides of paeony and compound glycyrrhizin tablets, zinc, tocotrienol and pumpkin seed oil, according to the findings. All of the supplements in the study reportedly had mild to no side-effects. Whether or not the supplements work may depend on the person and the type of hair loss that person is experiencing, according to health specialists. The study reported that zinc improved hair thickness and density, apple nutraceutical showed increased hair density and hair formation, and Viviscal showed improvements in hair counts and decreased hair shedding.

  • Lara Drake, Sophia Reyes-Hadsall, Jeremy Martinez, et al, “Evaluation of the Safety and Effectiveness of Nutritional Supplements for Treating Hair Loss: A Systematic Review,” JAMA Dermato 2023;159[1]:79-86. Source: ABC News.
Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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