TEENAGER WITH SEVERE HAIR LOSS
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