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

A certain amount of hair loss is normal. This is because each hair follicle goes through an individual cycle of birth, growth, and death. On an average, our hair is replaced every three and a half years. Since each hair follicle has a different rate of growth, all your hair does not grow or fall off at the same time. According to many physicians, losing up to 100 strands of hair a day is normal. However, this can be accelerated by hormone imbalances caused by thyroid problems. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can affect the production of a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This makes hair follicles shrink and makes it easier for them to fall out. It also slows regrowth.

Ayurveda likens this hormonal imbalance to an imbalance of doshas. It suggests a number of remedies that can help balance these doshas and stop or reduce hair fall. Ayurvedic remedies are based on herbs and natural ingredients that you may have at home. They are also relatively safe and have negligible side effects. Some popular Ayurvedic remedies for hair loss include:

Scalp Massages: Massaging the scalp with hot oil can help improve blood circulation and improve hair growth. It can also strengthen the hair roots and prevent them from falling off easily. Some of the best oils for a scalp massage to combat hair loss are coconut oil, bhringraj oil, and brahmi oil. Adding crushed garlic and onion to the oil is also known to reduce hair fall. You may oil your hair before an hour or two before a shower or leave the oil overnight.

Eat the right foods: While we think of the hair as dead cells, the hair roots are very much alive and need nutrition. Reduce the amount of salt being consumed and stay away from store bought masalas. Consuming fresh amla or amla juice can help strengthen the hair. You could also boil a cup of milk with three cups of water and 2-3 cardamom pieces till all the water has evaporated and only the milk remains. Drink their milk on an empty stomach for 2-3 menstrual cycles. Thyroid patients experiencing hair loss can also benefit from Ayurvedic preparations such as Ashwagandharishta and Bhringarajasava. However, these should be consumed only under the supervision of an ayurvedic doctor.

Yoga: Certain yoga asanas can also help improve blood circulation and strengthen the liver and uterus. They also help relieve stress that can be a contributing factor towards hair loss. These include the Vajrasana, Pawanmuktasana and the Shirisasana. When practicing these asanas it is important to follow the yogic guidelines and practice only those asanas that suit your body.

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.

Symptoms
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.

Causes
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.

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.

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.


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. Vijay E Chaudhari
Dr. Vijay E Chaudhari
BHMS, Homeopath, 25 yrs, Pune
Dr. Gauri  Nerurkar
Dr. Gauri Nerurkar
BHMS, Dermatologist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sachin Patil
Dr. Sachin Patil
BHMS, Family Physician Homeopath, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Suryakant Bhoite
Dr. Suryakant Bhoite
BAMS, Family Physician, 34 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sagar Achyut
Dr. Sagar Achyut
BDS, Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Dental Surgeon, 11 yrs, Pune
Hellodox
x