Friday - - Beauty -

Q I’m a 16-year-old girl suf­fer­ing from se­vere hair loss. I don’t oil or sham­poo my hair of­ten. Please help.

A Most peo­ple lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. These grow back in the same fol­li­cle on your head. This amount of hair loss is to­tally nor­mal and should be no cause for con­cern.

Hu­mans have roughly 100,000 hair fol­li­cles on the scalp and a fol­li­cle can pro­duce many hair shafts over a life­time; on av­er­age, around 20 times.

Ap­prox­i­mately 85 per cent of all hairs are in the grow­ing phase at any one time. This phase can vary from two to seven years; hair grows ap­prox­i­mately 10cm per year. Af­ter one year it will be 12cm long. Waist-length hair will have taken about seven years to grow.

The rest­ing phase fol­lows the growth phase and nor­mally lasts about five to six weeks. Dur­ing this time the hair does not grow but stays at­tached to the fol­li­cle. Around 10-15 per cent of hairs are in this phase at one time.

At the end of the rest­ing phase the hair fol­li­cle re-en­ters the growth phase and new hair be­gins to form. If the old hair has not al­ready been shed the new hair pushes the old one out and the growth cy­cle starts all over again.

A va­ri­ety of fac­tors can af­fect the hair growth cy­cle and re­sult in tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent hair loss. The ma­jor causes are hor­monal and nu­tri­tional fac­tors. Dur­ing pu­berty your body starts pro­duc­ing hor­mones known as an­dro­gens. Ex­cess amounts of these hor­mones cause hair loss in teens.

The first step for rem­e­dy­ing teenage hair loss is to dis­cover why it’s hap­pen­ing. Ex­treme treat­ments, such as ex­ces­sive hair dry­ing, curl­ing or other heat treat­ments, bleach, teas­ing, and tight hairstyles such as pony­tails can be to blame.

A diet rich in pro­teins, cal­cium and iron will help re­duce or pre­vent hair loss. Green, leafy veg­eta­bles are good min­eral sources. Eat plenty of iron-rich foods, like whole­grain ce­re­als, dark green leafy veg­eta­bles, eggs and dates.

To en­cour­age hair growth, stick to a diet rich in pro­tein. Green gram and soy pro­tein re­in­forces hair and may stim­u­late its growth. Other good sources of pro­tein are: low-fat cheese, eggs, fish, beans, and yo­gurt. An­other im­por­tant nu­tri­ent for hair health, sil­ica, is found in the outer cov­er­ings of pota­toes, green and red pep­pers, cu­cum­bers and bean sprouts. Vi­ta­min C im­proves the ab­sorp­tion of iron. Vi­ta­min E is im­por­tant for healthy hair growth; eat av­o­ca­dos, nuts, and olive oil on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Meet an Ayurvedic doc­tor for a proper di­ag­no­sis. Re­duce spicy, sour and salty foods.

Favour or­ange, amla, mel­ons, straw­berry, cab­bage, broc­coli, peas, spinach, seeds and apri­cots. Consult your doc­tor be­fore tak­ing home reme­dies.

DR VL SHYAM is a Dubai-based Ayurveda prac­ti­tioner

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