When you think of baldness and hair loss, you may conjure up visions of middle-aged men with shiny heads. But women are not immune. According to the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA), as many as 40 percent of those affected by balding are women. And the American Academy of Dermatology notes that hair loss in general affects more than half of American women by age 50.
In the past, balding and hair loss were dismissed as minor cosmetic problems not requiring treatment. But today, researchers are increasingly recognizing that hair thinning in women is a serious problem that can cause embarrassment and low self-esteem and affect quality of life, if left untreated.
“Women are much more affected socially by hair loss than men,” says Amy McMichael, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston Salem, NC. “Women judge themselves harshly and have fewer coping mechanisms associated with their hair loss than men.”
Hair Thinning: Factors That Affect Women
From hormones to ceramic flat irons used to straighten hair, abnormal hair loss, also called alopecia, has multiple causes that can affect women, including:
Hormones: Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, is believed to be triggered by dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Derived from the male hormone testosterone, DHT attacks hair follicles by reducing their size. Although women have far less testosterone than men, menopause can trigger hormonal changes that may cause hair loss. Oral contraceptives can also trigger hair loss in some women.
Androgen index: Progestin implants, hormone injections, and the patch can all contribute to hair loss in women. The AHLA advises all women to use birth control pills with a “low-androgen index,” and women with a family history of hair loss to use non-hormonal birth control.
Stress: Childbirth, surgery, disease, malnutrition, and other forms of stress can cause telogen effluvium, a condition in which women lose hair by the handful. Marital status may also play a role. Researchers from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that women who had experienced the stress of losing a spouse, either to divorce or death, exhibited more hair loss than married women.
Autoimmune disorders: Sometimes the body makes antibodies to its own hair. In alopecia areata, white blood cells assault hair follicles and make hair fall out in patches.
Chemotherapy: By attacking growing hair follicles, chemotherapy can cause almost complete hair loss.
Hairstyles: Braids, cornrows, or other hairstyles that pull hair too tightly can cause hair thinning and hair loss. Other hair-loss culprits include chemicals used to process hair and flat irons.
Hair thinning can be devastating for both men and women, so early intervention is advised, says Dr. McMichael: “As with most medical conditions, the key to controlling the hair loss cycle is to seek treatment early."
Hair Loss Treatments
Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for hair loss and thinning hair. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following hair loss treatments:
Testosterone-blocking drugs: As women approach menopause, they have decreasing levels of estrogen compared to testosterone. Treatments geared toward blocking testosterone at the hair follicle, such as Eulexin (flutamide) and Aldactone (spironolactone), are helpful in treating hair loss, according to McMichael.
Rogaine (topical minoxidil): The sole treatment for female pattern baldness to receive FDA approval, Rogaine is available over-the-counter in 2 percent and 5 percent solutions and works by stimulating new hair growth.
Treating underlying problems: Curing an underlying condition that is causing the hair loss, such as an inflammatory disorder, can reverse hair loss problems.
Topical or injected cortisone: This can help reverse some hair loss.
Hair transplantation: This involves surgically moving existing scalp hair to thin spots. “Surgical hair restoration is a very helpful treatment for women because women usually have less bald area to cover than men, so it is easier to make the density of hair look fuller,” says McMichael.
Laser phototherapy: Also known as low-level laser therapy, this new light treatment may help to regrow hair. But McMichael says this therapy needs to be refined because its effectiveness in most patients is not yet proven.
Hope for Thinning Hair
Research continues to dispel the notion that some types of hair loss are permanent. Experts at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, for example, recently found that people who struggle with hair loss don’t have dead follicle stem cells, as previously feared — just malfunctioning follicle stem cells, which may be fixable. And another study found that mice with deep skin wounds could regrow hair, sparking hope for a cure for baldness in humans.
Dandruff is one of the most common hair problems faced by the millions across the globe. And, maybe because the condition is so common, people are aware that there is nothing much to worry. There are several shampoos and hair-care products available in the market that often go the length of making fancy claims of removing dandruff in 15 days. While some of them are indeed effective, most of these products are laden with chemicals that may prove harmful for your lovely tresses. Dandruff is portions of your scalp that chip off gradually upon drying. They are caused due to cells underneath the skin that have a very short life. The scalp condition is caused by a fungus, called Malassezia, which feeds on sebum (the oily secretions from our scalp) and the dead skin cells, which occur naturally due to formation of new skin. Although, this microbial activity is a normal phenomenon; the problem occurs when the fungus aggressively feeds on sebum, leading to irritated scalp.
Ayurveda has many home remedies that may help fight dandruff. Here are some ways in which you can manage the condition naturally.
"If a fungal infection of the skin is causing the dandruff, the neem oil, which has disinfectant properties, will help heal," notes 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad. Neem has been a significant part of Indian hair care regime since time immemorial. Neem is known to have antifungal and antiviral properties. Its antimicrobial qualities can help fight dandruff. You can prepare neem oil at home or purchase it from the stores near you; better still, you can prepare an effective neem hair mask. Make a paste of neem leaves, add it to a bowl of curd and apply all over your scalp. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. The antifungal properties of neem in combination with soothing curd could do wonders in fighting dandruff.
2. Egg White And Lime Juice
"Put two egg whites in a small jar or container with fresh juice of one lime; mix together and apply to your hair for a half hour, then wash your hair with a neem soap. The egg-white will provide the scalp with the lacking protein, and the dandruff will soon disappear," notes Dr. Vasant Lad in his book. Egg whites are rich in protein, which is essential for good health of hair. Vitamin C too on the other hand is effective in protecting against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Vitamin C also helps boost circulation and collagen, which further enhances the scalp health.
This vitamin C-rich juice cures the dryness and prevents the accumulation of dandruff. Amla with its vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties can stop dandruff formation. Additionally, it would also help prevent the itchy feeling that is triggered due to dandruff. You can make a hair mask of amla to treat dandruff. Start by making a paste of amla powder in water. Now, grind about 8-10 tulsi leaves with a little water and mix this paste into the amla paste. With the help of your hands, apply this paste on to your scalp. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and mild shampoo.
4. Fenugreek Or Methi Seeds
Fenugreek seeds also have a high protein and nicotinic acid content, which helps prevent hair fall and dandruff, moreover, treats a variety of scalp issues like dryness of hair, baldness and hair thinning. Applying this fenugreek hair mask may help treating dandruff. Soak three tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in the water overnight. With the help of a blender, blend the soaked fenugreek seeds the next morning. Make sure you blend them well until you reach the consistency of a paste. Now, add one tablespoon of lemon juice to the paste. Apply this paste to your scalp and hair ends. Leave it on your hair for 30 minutes. Rinse your hair with a mild shampoo. This mask would help revive your scalp health.
5. Amla, Reetha, Shikakai
Amla, reetha (soap nut) and shikakai acacia concinna are all rich in vitamin C, which can do wonders to your hair and scalp. Reetha is quite effective in cleansing your scalp by removing infection-causing microbes. You can make amla, reetha and shikakai shampoo easily at home. Soak 5-6 reetha pods, 6-7 pieces of shikakai and a few amla pods in water overnight. Heat the mixture in the morning till it begins to boil. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Now, blend the mixture with the help of a blender. Strain the mixture and discard the residue. Use this liquid concoction as a shampoo.
Use these kitchen ingredients as part of your hair care regime and see the results for yourself.
Men and women alike dread the thought of hairfall. For most of us, this is an age related problem, but for others it could also be a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle. Thankfully, there are many home remedies that are effective ways to treat hair fall.
Onion juice: The sulphur present in onion can help reduce hairfall and speed up the hair growth process by increasing the production of collagen in the body. Chop or grate an onion and squeeze out the juice. Apply this to your scalp and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off with a mild shampoo. Ideally, this should be repeated twice a week.
Garlic: Garlic is also a rich source of sulphur, but it cannot be used in its pure form. Boil a little coconut oil with a few crushed cloves of garlic. Massage the cooled mixture into your scalp and leave for about half an hour before washing it off. You could combine this with onion juice as well.
Coconut: Coconut oil is very good for the hair as it can promote hair growth as well as reduce breakage and prevent hair fall. If you are using bottled coconut oil, warm it before massaging into the scalp. Alternatively, grate a coconut and mix with a little water before squeezing out the milk from it. Apply this on the scalp and leave overnight.
Amla: Amla or the Indian gooseberry is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. This helps keep the scalp healthy and promotes hair growth. To benefit from it, apply a mixture of lemon juice and amla juice or amla powder on the scalp. Once dry, rinse the mixture off with luke warm water. If used in the initial stages of hair fall, amla can help reverse the process.
Fenugreek: Fenugreek contains hormone antecedents that help stimulate hair growth and help strengthen hair follicles. Soak a cup of dried fenugreek seeds in water overnight and grind into a paste. Apply this paste to your scalp and leave for about half an hour before rinsing off. Using this hair mask every morning for a month should have noticeable results.
Aloe Vera: The enzymes in aloe vera promote healthy hair and help stabilise the scalp’s pH levels thereby promoting hair growth. It can also help reduce itchiness and dandruff. To benefit from it, you could consume a tablespoon of aloe vera juice or apply aloe vera juice directly onto the scalp as a hair mask.
All the above information is according to the modern research work, while ayurved science deals with the skin holding the hair follicles. There are few measures like Nasal instillation (Nasya), Head Massage (Abhyang), some nutrients containing medicines like Narsimh Rasayana, Amalaki Rasayana, etc. are helpul to keep hair healthy and for regeneration.
Dandruff is common condition that causes flaky skin on your scalp. This skin often falls off, leaving white flakes on your shoulders.
Some people with dandruff go on to develop hair loss. Is dandruff to blame?
In most cases, dandruff doesn’t directly cause hair loss. However, the itchiness it causes can lead to scratching. This can injure your hair follicles, leading to some hair loss, though not complete baldness. In addition, dandruff can increase hair loss in people with androgenic alopecia, a condition that causes male- and female-pattern baldness.
Read on to learn about tips for preventing dandruff-related hair loss.
How to prevent hair loss from dandruff
Preventing dandruff-related hair loss focuses on eliminating as much itchiness as possible. This will reduce your urge to scratch and protect your hair follicles against further damage.
Get a diagnosis
Several things can cause dandruff, from hair-washing habits to underlying skin conditions. If you’re not sure what’s causing your dandruff, make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist.
They can take a look at your scalp to help determine if your dandruff is simply a matter of washing your hair too frequently or not enough. They can also check for signs of an underlying problem, such as:
Dry skin. This results in small flakes that usually aren’t accompanied by redness or inflammation.
Seborrheic dermatitis. This condition causes a rash that often looks red, scaly, and oily. The resulting skin flakes can be either white or yellow.
Malassezia. Malassezia is a fungus found on most people’s scalps. However, it can sometimes irritate your scalp and cause the growth of extra skin cells. When these skin cells die, it can cause dandruff.
Contact dermatitis. Sensitivity to certain ingredients in products, such as shampoo or hair dye, that you use on your hair or scalp can cause red, flaky skin.
Once you’ve figured out the underlying cause of your dandruff, you can more effectively treat it.
Use a medicated shampoo
If you haven’t already, try using a medicated shampoo designed to help with dandruff. Look for products containing any of the following ingredients:
Shop for antidandruff shampoos containing these ingredients.
For mild cases of dandruff, you may only need to use medicated shampoo for a few weeks.
If you have light-colored hair, you may want to stay away from selenium sulfide, which can cause discoloration.
Regardless of the underlying cause of your dandruff, it’s important to hydrate your scalp with conditioner. This is especially important when using medicated shampoos, especially those containing salicylic acid. These can be drying when used regularly.
For an added benefit, try massaging your scalp with coconut oil, then rinse it out. In addition to being moisturizing, coconut oil has antifungal properties. In fact, a 2015 study found that its antifungal activity was similar to that of ketoconazole, a common ingredient in antidandruff shampoos.
Steer clear of using oils on your scalp if you think you might have seborrheic dermatitis. Extra oil can sometimes make this condition worse.
Avoid irritating hair products
Hair dye and other hair products often contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. This can lead to contact dermatitis. Preservatives and fragrances are common causes of contact dermatitis on your scalp.
Examples of potentially irritating ingredients in hair products include:
natural or artificial fragrance
Some people use products for years before noticing any kind of reaction. Even if you’ve used the same hair products without any problems, consider changing up your routine if you notice dandruff.
While stress won’t directly cause dandruff, it can weaken your immune system over time. This can make your scalp more sensitive to naturally occurring malassezia fungus. Learn more about the effects of stress on your body.
Try to manage your stress by practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation. Even taking a walk around the block or doing some controlled breathing for a minute or two can help.
Get a little sun
Though ultraviolet rays cause premature aging and increase your risk for skin cancer, a little bit of sunlight may be good for dandruff, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you head outside, be sure to wear sunscreen on your face and body.
The bottom line
Having dandruff doesn’t immediately lead to hair loss. However, constantly scratching your scalp can damage your hair follicles and lead to some hair loss. This isn’t permanent and should resolve once you find out what’s causing your dandruff. If you don’t already know the cause, your doctor or dermatologist can help.
If you're a guy with thinning hair and dandruff, you've got a lot of company. Men often have both.
Thinning hair and dandruff don't share the same cause. Thinning hair is about your hair. Dandruff is about the skin on your scalp.
The way some guys treat hair loss can make their dandruff worse, says New York dermatologist Michele Green, MD.
Everyone sheds some hair, and men often notice it in the shower. Seeing their hair float toward the drain makes some men quit washing their hair, Green says. That's a mistake, especially if you're prone to dandruff.
"They feel like they lose more hair when they wash, so they stop, and that's not that healthy. In fact, it's just the opposite," she says. "If you have dandruff, you should be washing your hair every day or every other day."
Washing your hair makes little difference in the amount of hair you lose, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. If you avoid washing your hair for a few days, you'll see more hair in the shower when you finally do reach for the shampoo.
It's as if your hair loss is making up for lost time. "It falls out a bit if you wash every day and a lot if you wash every 3-4 days, because it accumulates on the days you don't wash," Benabio says.
The bottom line: Skipping the shampoo doesn't help your dandruff, and it doesn't slow hair loss. So you might as well lather up.
Hair Loss Medications and Dandruff
Green says minoxidil, which is used to treat thinning hair, can cause dandruff-like flaking as a side effect. The alcohol in minoxidil can dry out your scalp, and after a few months of treatment, dandruff may set in.
In most cases, Green says, you can solve the problem by switching to another medication or by using a dandruff shampoo -- or if its really bad, a prescription steroid cream.
Finasteride, another medication for hair loss, does not cause flaking, Green says.
Dandruff is what Green calls a "cosmetic disease." It's not serious, it's not contagious, and it won't lead to other health problems. But if left untreated, it can become so itchy and inflamed that it causes temporary hair loss. That's another good reason to wash your hair with a dandruff shampoo. Once you've treated your scalp, the hair will probably grow back.
If you're a guy watching your hairline retreat, there's a small silver lining if you also have dandruff. Benabio says that as you lose your hair, you'll likely lose some of your dandruff along with it.
"Dandruff," he says, "tends to stay in areas where there is hair."