Friday, September 5, 2014

Hair loss mega guide – causes, treatments, medications, home remedies and more

Hair loss is a feared condition which in addition to one’s hair also results in a certain loss of self-esteem and confidence. The sad part is, it is quite prevalent in youngsters these days but the good news is, it can very much be controlled and reversed with the latest advancements in technology.
There are certain common causes which lead to hair loss. These include:

Stress: Fast-paced and hectic lifestyles can sap a lot of energy out of us and increase our stress levels. Numerous studies hold stress responsible for many health problems ranging from smaller ones like a headache to life-threatening ailments like a heart attack. True, a good percentage of people who shed a bit of extra hair are susceptible to a lot of stress, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that stress is the only factor responsible for baldness.

Hair styling tools: Blow drying your hair after a shower may seem to be an easy and no-fuss method, but numerous studies suggest that blow drying your hair on a daily basis could contribute to a lot of hair fall. Other styling treatments like straightening and curling if done frequently, contribute to a few extra strands on your hairbrush.

Junk food: Junk food is criticised and held responsible for almost all health conditions, and it’s mostly because junk food hardly gives your body any nutrients. Living on junk food could lead to nutritional deficiencies, which may contribute to baldness. People having eating disorders are also more likely to suffer from extensive hair loss.

Not just these, hair loss could also be a result of certain conditions: 

Psoriasis: Dandruff is a common problem that can be easily treated with an anti-dandruff shampoo. But if your dandruff is starting to turn into thick, scaly patches, it could be a sign that you have psoriasis. It is a long-term skin problem that causes skin cells to grow rapidly that leads to thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin. 

Protein deficiency: Another sign of a more serious problem could be dry and brittle hair that breaks easily. Your hair is made up of a protein called keratin, and if you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, it could weaken your hair. This could also be another sign of a thyroid issue, so be sure to check with your doctor if this is the case.

Home remedies to treat hair loss

If you are experiencing hair fall, you can control it with inexpensive home remedies. These help in strengthening the roots to initiate new growth. Some of these are:

Onion: Squeeze an onion and take juice out of it. Add one to two teaspoons of honey to it. To do away with the odour, you can use rose water with onions. Mix and apply it on your hair. Keep it for 40 to 50 minutes. Then wash your hair. 

Coriander: Make a paste with freshly chopped coriander leaves and water. Use its juice to apply on the scalp. Keep it for about an hour and then wash it off.

Curry leaves: You can make an effective hair tonic by boiling some curry leaves in your hair oil and applying it on your scalp. Massage it well for at least 15-20 minutes. Follow this procedure twice a week to stimulate your hair growth.

Coconut: Coconut provides a host of ingredients that naturally condition and promote growth of hair. The milk of the coconut contains proteins, essential fats and minerals such as potassium and iron; using it regularly can reduce the breakage of hair. Coconut oil also carries the same rich ingredients and it helps to make the hair stronger right from the root, through the shaft to the tip. Regular use of this oil to massage the scalp has a protective action against hair loss. Grate coconut and squeeze out the milk by mixing in a little water. Apply this to the specific area where you notice thinning or balding. Allow to stay overnight and the next morning, rinse off with water.

Amla: Packed with vitamin C and rich in antioxidants, amla is the perfect solution for most hair loss woes. Besides applying to the scalp, it is also helpful to consume it on a regular basis because the vitamin C is good for your body. Crush the amla fruit to extract a juice or buy the amla powder available at an herbal store. Add 2 teaspoons of the juice or the powder into an equal quantity of the juice freshly squeezed from a lime. Mix well, apply to the scalp and leave it to dry; then rinse using warm water.

Other treatments

Hair transplant: This is perhaps the most permanent solution for hair loss. It is broadly achieved by removing grafts/follicles from the back of the head which are more resistant to hormonal changes, and placing them in areas of scanty growth or baldness. There are two methods to remove the grafts – Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

Hair restoration: This procedure consists of regrowing hair on the scalp without any linear scarring. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area before the procedure and hair follicles are removed from the non-testosterone sensitive zone at the back of the head. After this, the hair follicles are placed on the scalp. On an average, 6,000 to 9,000 hair follicles are placed on the scalp. The hair begins to grow after about three months of the treatment and thickens up between the fifth and eighth months. Patients can see a full growth within 10 months of the procedure. This method of hair restoration does not use cutting objects like scalpels or sutures which cause scarring and takes up to six hours for one sitting.

Hair extensions: Hair extensions are a temporary solution for people who have lost hair either made of human hair or synthetic hair fibre supplements. They can make your thin hair look voluminous. Wax, glue, adhesive or silicon rings are used to attach the extensions to hair. If you are using human hair, you need to take care of it by keeping it well-conditioned. On the other hand, synthetic fibres lose shine and colour due to frequent washing. So be careful with them.

Stem cell treatment: In this process, a small amount of fat is taken from the waist area of the person whose hair is being treated through a mini-liposuction process. This fat, which contains dormant stem cells, is then put in a centrifuge and spun to separate the stem cells from the fat. Once that is done, an activation solution is added to these cells. The cells might have to be multiplied in number depending on the size of the bald area that needs coverage. Once activated, the solution is washed off so that only cells remain. Now, the stem cells are injected into the scalp where hair loss has appeared. One can find some hair growth in about two to four weeks.

In this technique, a thin and transparent membrane containing human hair is applied to the scalp and woven with rest of the hair for a natural look.

Wefts and strand-by-strand procedures: The process involves selecting the hair type and membrane that matches best with the patient so as to give the hair a very natural look and feel. The colour, hair type etc. need to be similar to their existing hair. Next in line is the adhesive used for bonding the membrane to the scalp. Due to technological advancements, the adhesive used these days is very strong and does not come off due to sweat or water. 

Apart from these, there are also medications to control hair fall depending on the type of hair loss you are suffering from.

For male pattern baldness

Finasteride: It is a pill that blocks the action of natural hormones in scalp hair and reduces hair loss. Approved for use in only men with androgenic hair loss, this drug is found to be safe in postmenopausal women. 

Dutasteride: It may help in hair loss by blocking the production of or binding of testosterone in the scalp hair follicles. You are not permitted to donate blood before the six-month clearance time after taking this medication.

For patchy hair loss

Small amounts of steroids like triamcinolone may be injected into your affected scalp patches to stimulate hair growth. 

Other options such as oral steroids, immune-suppressants or ultraviolet light therapy are available for severe cases but they have potential side effects or risks.

Though these are the available options you can choose from if you suffer from hair loss, in order to avoid it, eat a healthy diet and nourish your hair to keep it from falling. Massage using oils like olive, coconut, almond, etc.

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