8 Reasons Why You're Losing Hair
Stop seasonal damage by altering these habits
Certain medicines (like statins, antidepressants, antianxiety and antihypertensive drugs or hormone replacement drugs) can contribute to hair loss. "These can interfere with the normal cycle of hair growth, but not all drugs that are known to cause hair loss have the same effect on everyone," says Dr Apratim Goel, Mumbai-based cosmetic dermatologist. Birth control pills that have a higher concentration of male hormones are equally liable. They force hair strands in the growing phase (anagen) to enter the resting phase (telogen), and shed in about two to three months, explains Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, Delhi-based dermatologist.
Fix it: Check with your doctor for alternatives that don't have similar hair-loss reactions. For birth control pills, consult your ob-gyn and dermatologist about switching to low-androgen index birth control pills.
Any event that puts excessive stress on your body -- like childbirth, surgery or rapid drop in weight -- can result in hair loss. The effects aren't immediate, but can be seen over time.Also, when you don't eat right, your body redirects its energy towards vital functions -- such as helping your heart and brain function -- rather than hair growth. Iron and vitamin D2deficiency can also trigger hair loss.Smoking affects the health of your hair. Research shows that nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes can damage hair follicles and disrupt the growth cycle, says Goel.
Fix it: Stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet including foods that contain biotin, such as egg yolk, liver, hilsa or pomfret, cauliflower, carrots and bananas. Check with a nutritionist or dermatologist about hair-boosting supplements.
Scratching your head
An itchy scalp (like that caused by seborrhoeic dermatitis) and subsequent scratching causes trauma and damage to the hair follicle.
Fix it: Relieve the itch with a shampoo that has selenium, zinc pyrithione or tea tree oil. If over-the-counter products don't help, your doctor can prescribe an antifungal shampoo.
Our strands are fragile when they are wet or damp, as the protective cuticle is slightly raised. Brushing or combing wet hair and aggressive towel-drying isn't ideal. Men tend to suffer more than women during the rainy season, as many of them do not have a fixed haircare regime. As a result of sweat and sebum formation, the monsoon is also a time when there's massive dandruff build-up, adds Chhabra.
Fix it: Avoid brushing your hair when wet. Goel recommends shampooing every day during the rains and after your gym session in case you are a regular. Then, gently towel-dry your hair. The goal is to keep the scalp clean and dry. If you have dandruff, use an anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week, Chhabra recommends.
Environmental factors also contribute towards hair loss and damage. Here's how to protect your mane.
Pollution: "Air pollutants like nickel, lead, arsenic, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) settle on the scalp, clogging pores, and make hair weak and brittle," says Chhabra.
The Sun: Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays makes hair rough, dehydrated and frizzy, says Goel. Cover up with a hat or scarf and use shampoos that offer UV protection.
Water quality: Travelling or moved to a new place? The water supply could cause hair loss. Pollutants like calcium, copper and lead strip away moisture and may cause hair to break off from the roots, says Chhabra. Give your hair some time to get used to the water.
Chlorine: Swimming in public pools could also cause dryness and make them fragile. "Always oil your hair before you go swimming and wear a cap," Chhabra suggests. Oil acts as a barrier and protects hair.
-- With inputs by Meghna Kriplani
Adapted from Prevention India. July 2015 LIVING MEDIA INDIA LIMITED.