Hair loss has become a major problem that is faced by almost everyone. In order to treat the hair loss, we should first know about the structure of hair and the causes of hair fall.
Structure of hair:
Hairs are elastic keratinized thread like structures. The hair consists of two parts, a shaft and a root. The root is embedded in the skin while the shaft projects above the skin surface. Hair follicle is a pouch like structure that surrounds the hair root. The hair follicle, at its deep end, is expanded into a hair bulb.
Each hair follicle is associated with one or more sebaceous glands and a bundle of muscle fibers. The capillaries and nerve fibers indent the bulb and at the center of bulb are present cells which have the ability to divide. When these cells divide, the old cells are pushed upwards which then die and forms the hard hair shaft.
The hair shaft consists of cells that are arranged in three concentric layers which are cuticle, medulla and cortex.
The outermost layer is cuticle which functions to protect the inner layers of hair. It is a transparent layer of cells and it gives a shiny look to the hairs. If the cuticle is unhealthy it does not give a shiny look to the hairs.
The innermost layer is medulla which is composed of two or more layers of large cells. In fine and blond hairs, the medulla is absent.
The layer between cuticle and medulla is called cortex. It forms the main bulk of hair and it also gives strength to the hairs. This layer contains keratin and pigment. The color of hair depends upon the amount of pigment present.
As discussed above, the hair follicles are associated with sebaceous glands which produce oily secretions. This secretion gives shiny appearance to hair. The secretions from these glands can become diminished during the period of stress and illness. This can cause graying of hairs.
Normal cycle of hair growth:
On scalp, about 90 percent of hairs are in growing phase and about 10 percent are in resting phase at a given time. The hairs in resting phase starts to fall after 2 to 3 months. At this time the new hairs start to grow in its place. The growth occurs at a rate of approximately 1 cm per month and the duration for growth is about 2.25 to 6 years.
During the normal cycle of hair growth only few strands of hair fall, but in some people excessive hair fall occurs which is not the part of normal hair growth cycle. The excessive hair fall has become a major problem for men, women and even children.
Causes of hair loss:
There are many causes of hair fall. Some of them are mentioned below:
1. One of the major causes of hair loss is hormonal imbalance. The hormonal imbalance can occur in women during pregnancy and also after delivery, which can cause excessive hair fall. In men, if dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is present in hair follicles in high concentration, can cause hair fall.
2. In some people there is excessive secretion of sebum which blocks the pores of scalp. When the pores get blocked, the hair follicles cannot get enough nutrition due to which the hair starts to fall.
3. Hair fall can also occur if the hair follicles are not getting enough nutrition.
4. Stress, lack of sleep and anxiety can cause hair fall by diminishing the secretions from the sebaceous gland.
5. Hairs also become weak during chronic diseases like typhoid, anemia, viral infections, surgery etc which leads to hair fall.
6. Medicines which are used to treat gout, depression and for birth control cause hair fall. Chemotherapy which is done for treating cancer also causes massive hair fall.
7. Traction alopecia occurs when someone ties their hair very tightly, which pulls the hairs from their follicles.
8. Hair fall can also occur in people affected with diseases like diabetes and lupus.
9. The other major factor that contributes to the hair fall is heredity.
10. Most people have dandruff and fungal infection of scalp. This also blocks the nutrition of hair follicle and causes hair fall.
11. Blockage of pores also occurs due to accumulation of dirt on the scalp.
The causes of hair loss according to ayurveda are described as follows:
1. When a person is exposed to too much sunlight, dust, water and other pollutants,the hairs become weak and then falls.
2. In many people excessive sweating occurs which causes hair fall. Excessive sweating is a major cause of hair fall in people who live in hot regions of the world.
3. Hair loss also occurs in people whose sleep cycles are disturbed.
4. Anxiety, depression and insomnia also lead to hair fall.
5. Diseases like typhoid, diabetes, lupus also affects hair.
6. Eating unhygienic food and living in an unhygienic environment.
7. Hair loss also occurs in people who drink alcohol.
Hair loss Remedies:
Using following remedies can prevent hair fall and make them look better and shiny
1. Intake of vitamins either through diet or through supplement is essential to make your hair healthy.
2. Take a diet rich in iron and protein.
3. Fresh fruits, raw vegetables, salads and green leafy vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, so make them part of your regular diet.
4. Wash your hair twice a week with a good shampoo.
5. Always try to avoid taking too much stress and make your sleep patterns normal.
6. Always take good care of your hairs and prevent them from excessive dust and sunlight.
7. Try to prevent your hairs from fungal infections.
The best remedy to prevent hair fall is to use medicated herbal oils like Haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ), Bhringaraja ( Eclipta Alba ), Amalaki ( Embelica officinalis ) and Vibhitaki ( Terminalia bellirica ).