Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Most people lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. Yet, the thinning of scalp hair is almost unnoticeable owing to the simultaneous hair growth filling up the vacant spots. But permanent hair loss occurs if the cycle of shedding and growth is disrupted or the hair follicle is damaged and substituted with a scar tissue.

Few possible causes can be-

Genetic factors- Genetic factors bring about gradual hair loss in both the sexes; resulting in bald spots and a receding hairline in men and the thinning of hair among women. Hereditary factors also determines the age at which you could start losing hair.

Medical conditions- Medical conditions such as hormonal imbalances attack the body’s immune system, thus resulting in damaged hair follicles, scalp infections such as ringworm, skin disorders and hair pulling disorder, a psychological condition that causes people to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other parts of the body.

Medications- Hair loss can be caused due to intake of certain drugs, such as the ones for birth control or for treating high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, arthritis or cancer. Consumption of excessive Vitamin A can cause hair fall as well.

Stress: Physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss. Surgery, high fevers, and blood loss can cause enough stress to cause excessive shedding. Childbirth can result in hair loss for several months after delivery. As for psychological stress, the link is less well defined, but many people have reported losing hair at times of extreme mental stress or anxiety.

Other Possible Reasons: Other reasons such as radiation therapy to treat cancer, emotional or physical trauma, surgery, extremely high fever or sudden and excessive weight loss can all contribute to hair loss. Hair styling equipment and other chemical based treatments are some of the other triggers of hair loss.

Anemia: Anemia (insufficient red blood cells in the blood), Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (a condition marked by enlarged ovaries and the formation of tiny cysts on the outer edges of the ovaries), thyroid disorders or pregnancy can also result in hair loss.

Dandruff is a non-contagious condition that is characterized by the appearance of skin flakes on your scalp. The disorder is not a serious one, but can be embarrassing for the person concerned. Mild symptoms of this disorder can be taken care of by shampooing with a mild cleanser on a regular basis. In case of severe dandruff symptoms, treatment may be required.

The symptoms of dandruff are easily spotted; white flakes of dead skin appear on the hair and shoulders. You may experience itchiness on the scalp due to the accumulation of the dead skin cells. The condition tends to aggravate in dry and cold weather conditions.

Dandruff can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

Not shampooing regularly: Irregular shampooing can cause dead skin cells to accumulate, leading to dandruff.

Oily and irritated skin: This condition is characterized by the appearance of greasy skin covered by flaky white scales. It occurs in areas, which are rich in oil glands such as the eyebrows and the nose.

Fungus: Yeast like fungus, known as ‘malassezia’, lives on the scalp and may lead to the buildup of excess skin cells, thereby, causing irritated skin.

Dry skin: Dry skin is the perfect spot for the accumulation of dead cells, a condition that results in dandruff.

Ayurvedic View

Ayurveda places the problem of dandruff in the category of Shudra Roga, which appears due to an imbalance of all three doshas. The primary doshas involved are Pitta and Vata. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor which symbolizes heat or fire and Vata is dry and rough in nature. In an aggravated state, both doshas cause production of specific impurities, called ama, which are dry and heating in nature.

These impurities accumulate in the deep tissues of the scalp and contaminate them. Contamination of the deep tissues and aggravated Vata-Pitta Dosha cause itching and patches on scalp. Due to these factors, the scalp sheds larger than normal amounts of dead epidermal cells, which leads to the problem of dandruff.

The Ayurvedic line of treatment is to generally pacify Pitta and Vata through herbal medicines, as well as a tailor-made diet and lifestyle plan. Also, special herbs are administered to cleanse the body of accumulated digestive impurities.

Ayurvedic treatment options:

If the cause lies on the scalp such as dry skin, then just hair oil application or local treatment will be sufficient to cure dandruff.

If the cause lies in underlying skin disease such as psoriasis, treatment for the causative disease will be required.

Ayurvedic treatments such as shirodhara, shirobasti helps not only to relieve dandruff and improve hair quality. They also help you to relieve stress and lack of sleep (which also cause for dandruff).

Ayurvedic herbal hair oils for dandruff:

-Bhringaraja taila
-Triphaladya taila
-Durdurapatradi taila
-Chemparutyadi taila
-Nalpamaradi taila etc

Internal medicines helpful in this complaint are-

Saptamrita loha – Contains Indian licorice and Triphala, useful in skin diseases

Bhringarajasava – an alcoholic Ayurvedic medicine. Improves immunity, skin complexion

Chandanasava – improves immunity, relieves excessive oiliness

Narasimha Rasayana – Improves hair quality and scalp skin health. Especially useful when dandruff is caused due to dryness in the scalp.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice

Wash hair regularly 2-3 times a week with a mild shampoo.

Massage your hair with oil every time before washing the head and hair.

Avoid spicy, greasy, hot and penetrating foods, junk food, and aerated drinks.

Have food with good nutritive value; include fiber-rich foods, salads, fruits, and lentils.

Do regular yoga and exercises to minimize stress levels.

Avoid scratching the scalp with hands or any other objects.

There is hardly anyone happy with their looks, especially when it comes to their hair. Those who have straight hair wish that they had curly hair. The ones with curly hair envy the ones with straight hair as they don’t have to worry about brushing it all day. As such, there is a constant rush at salons to curl up straight hair and straighten up curly hair.

There are instant ways to do this, but what is important for us to understand is that this is not natural. Both pressing and curling happen with the use of artificial chemicals and extreme heat, which can be harmful for hair.

Another fad we see is people going in for these treatments by using peers as reference. It should be borne in mind that each person would react to these treatments differently, depending on the type of hair and length of hair. What worked for a friend may not necessarily work for you too. The intent is not to discourage, but to caution. Think about it, be mindful of what can possibly go wrong, and then put yourself in safe hands to get this done.

Possible Harmful Effects

1. Allergic Reaction: The chemicals used may possibly cause allergic reaction. So it is always advisable to do a small test before going ahead with it. Apply the chemical on your arm and wait for 24 hours. If no reaction is seen, go ahead with it. Even if that tested positive, there is a chance that the chemical can cause a delayed allergic reaction, which can happen with exposure to sun or even after a few days. Seek medical help if that happens.

2.Dryness: Hair straightening leaves the hair dry and devoid of its natural moisture. Avoid using the dryer as much as possible and oil the hair frequently.

3.Hair Fall: Using poor chemicals and improper techniques can cause hair fall, as the follicles break away from the roots.

4.Overall Appearance: Though curling or straightening could be a temporary move, if not done well, you are worse off than the just-unhappy feeling you had with your natural hair. This is an even bigger blow for your self-esteem and personality.

All this does not mean hair straightening and pressing should be completely avoided. The trick is to do it in moderation, use good styling products, choose a stylist carefully, and go for regular hair care. The home hair care products also should be of high-quality standards. When you see your hair not harmed, you will feel it was worth the investment.

When it comes to skin and hair care, natural oils can prove to be quite beneficial. If you wish to have a soft, supple and nourished skin, then natural oils can do wonders as they have their own unique set of skin benefiting properties. Rice bran oil is used as a dressing in salads. It is not only great for cooking but is also widely used as a natural skin care product. It is quite rich in various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For those wondering, rice bran is the outer layer of rice grain. Rice bran oil is the oil extracted from the hard outer brown layer of rice called chaff (rice husk).According to Bangalore-based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, "Rice bran oil has the right amount of poly unsaturated fatty acids in it. Apart from this, it also has flavonoids present which can do wonders for skin and hair health."
Here's a list of 5 benefits that rice bran oil has to offer.

1. Nourishes Hair:

Rice bran oil is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help nourish the hair. If you happen to have frizzy hair, then bring this oil to your rescue as regular use of this use oil could possibly make your hair thicker and easily manageable. To reap its benefits, massage your hair using this oil before hair wash. It will keep your hair follicles healthy.

2. Protects Skin From UV Rays:

The sun could get pretty merciless to your skin. To prevent damage caused due to sun's UV Rays you can use some rice bran oil. Take 2 drops of rice bran oil and gently massage it over your face until it is fully absorbed. This oil will protect your skin from pollution and also act as a natural sun screen.

3. Acts As A Makeup Remover:

The natural antioxidants present in the rice bran oil could also help you get rid of excessive makeup, making your skin look supple and soft. It is an excellent source of vitamin E which has the tendency to penetrate deep into your skin's layers.

4. Prevents Early Hair Greying:

The antioxidants present in the oil not only provide skin nourishment but also help in keeping the skin young. It prevents early signs of hair greying. Use warm rice bran oil and massage your hair twice a week. To make the most of it, add 2-3 drops of this oil to your shampoo as well.

5. Prevents Dark Circles:

Aren't you juts fed up of the dark circles that almost always manages to spoil your look for the day? Rice bran oil enhances the blood circulation around the eye area and prevents puffy eyes and dark circles. The high concentration of sterol in it lightens the under eye skin and prevents dark circles.

So what are you waiting for? Bring this natural oil to your rescue and reap all its benefits!

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.

1. Neem

"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.

3. Amla

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.

Dr. Manisha Garud
Dr. Manisha Garud
BDS, Dental Surgeon Dentist, Pune
Dr. Shalthiel Sathe
Dr. Shalthiel Sathe
BHMS, Medical Cosmetologist Trichologist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sayali Khare - Pendse
Dr. Sayali Khare - Pendse
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 3 yrs, Pune
Dr. Dr Anirudha Vaidya
Dr. Dr Anirudha Vaidya
MPTh, Neuro Physiotherapist Obesity Specialist, 7 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sujay Patil
Dr. Sujay Patil
MBBS, General Medicine Physician, 5 yrs, Mumbai