Hair is known as Kesha in ayurveda. Scalp hair enhances beauty and protects our scalp. Healthy hair can mask age and make you look young. Ayurvedic hair care regimen is effective and helps to have healthy, voluminous, and long hair.
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Table of content
Anatomy of hair
The hair on our scalp can be divided into two parts, the root and shaft. The root part of hair is in the skin (epidermis)of scalp. The hair root is surrounded by a pouch like structure called follicle.
The base of hair root is in the shape of a bulb. This bulb is indented by capillaries and nerve fibers. The cells in the center of bulb divide. The newly divided hair cells push the previous cells up.
The cells which move upwards die slowly forming hard hair shaft. The hair shaft has three layers the cuticle, medulla and cortex.
Cuticle is the outer layers and protects the inner layers. It is transparent. Healthy cuticle gives a shiny appearance for hair and unhealthy cuticle gives lifeless look Medulla is the innermost layer composed of large cells.
Cortex is the layer between cuticle and medulla. This contains pigment and keratin. Cortex determines the bulk and strength of hair. The hair follicle contains oil secreting glands which make the hair shiny .Stress and illness diminish secretion of oil and pigments causing graying of hair. According to Ayurveda the hair is considered as a tissue which uses the same nutrients of bone and considered as a tissue which is formed as bi-product of bone tissue.
Normal hair growth cycle: – physiology of hair growth
Each hair on our scalp grows approximately at the rate of 1 centimeter per month. This growth continues for 2-6 years. When the hair attains full growth it rests for 2-3 months and is later shed. A new hair starts growing in its place. Thus at any given point of time 10 percent of the total hair on our scalp is in a resting phase and 90 percent of the hair is in growth phase. As a part of this hair growth cycle it is normal for every body to experience a little hair fall every day. Any condition in which the hair fall is more than normal is termed as hair loss. Hair loss can affect anybody irrespective of age and gender.
Causes of hair loss
It is normal to witness shredding of some hair each day as part of hair growth cycle. But few may experience hair fall more than normal. Excessive shredding of hair is called as hair loss or hair fall.
- Hormonal imbalance in men and women: In men high concentration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in hair follicles causes hair fall. In women hormonal imbalances during pregnancy , PCOS or PCOD and after delivery cause hair loss
- High amount of sebum in scalp clogs pores of scalp and prevent nutrition to hair follicle.
- Dieting or eating poor diet. Inadequate nutrition causes hair fall.
- Stress and anxiety , worry, lack of sleep (insomnia) , worry cause hair loss
- Long standing diseases like typhoid, viral infections, anemia, surgery etc cause general debility which lead to hair loss
- Some medicines used for gout, chemo therapy of cancer , birth control pills , antidepressants etc cause this
- Diseases like lupus, diabetes cause hair loss.
- Tying hair tightly pulls the hair from follicles and cause traction alopecia.
- Wearing helmets, tight caps or turbans for long periods.
- Using strong chemicals in hair.
- Obesity can also cause hair loss
- Heredity also causes hair fall.
- Dandruff or Fungal infection of scalp.
- Accumulation of dirt on scalp causes blocking of pores and weakens hair roots. This leads to hair loss.
Obesity and Female Hair Loss
Obesity in women may be a cause for hair loss. In our clinical practice we have observed a large number of obese women having thin hair. This may be due to obesity related health conditions like- diabetes. Some underlying causes for obesity, like thyroid problems, can also cause hair loss. Apart from these there are various reasons which point towards obesity as main cause of hair loss in women. Let us view them
- Usually obese people lead a sedentary life. Reduced physical activity restricts peripheral blood circulation. Thus scalp skin gets deprived of good blood supply and hair follicles get weakened. This leads to hair loss.
- Based on statistics obese people tend to eat too much of fatty food. These foods contain saturated fatty acids which are detrimental to health of hair.
- Stress, anxiety and Obesity create a vicious cycle. That is stress leads to obesity and obesity exaggerates stress. Increased stress is the main reason for hair loss.
- As mentioned earlier obesity leads to many health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, increased blood cholesterol etc. Medications prescribed for these conditions may also cause hair loss.
- Increased body fat imbalances body hormones. In obese men, increased body fat cells tend to produce estrogen (female hormone) where as in women increased fat cells tend to produce testosterone (male hormone). These imbalances can cause hair loss both in female and male.
- Obese people suffer from mal nourishment. Consuming nutrient rich foods help to cope up with hair loss.
Baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia)
Baldness occurs both in men and women as their age advances.
The baldness which occurs in men is called “male pattern baldness” and is characterized by receding hairline and loss of hair on the crown area. It is generally experienced around and from age of 25 years.
The baldness which occurs in women is called “female pattern baldness” and is characterized by overall thinning of hair on scalp and little loss of hair on crown or hairline. This can begin at puberty but usually occurs after menopause.
The cause for both types of baldness is attributed to genetic factors which have been inherited.
Small circular patches of baldness start appearing on the scalp and hair re-grows in these patches after few days. This is called as alopecia areata. Persons who are affected by this condition will have repeated hair fall and regrowth of the above mentioned pattern.
In severe condition total loss of scalp hair occurs. This is called as “alopecia totalis” .Some times complete loss of body hair also occurs. This is called as “alopecia universalis”. In few people the hair re-grows . But the hair loss may occur once again. This is an autoimmune disease.
According to ayurveda the causes of hair loss are described as follows
According to Ayurveda the hair is considered as a tissue which uses the same nutrients of bone. The causes of hair loss are described as follows
- Too much exposure to dust, sunlight, water and other pollutants.
- Too much of sweating.
- Irregular sleeping pattern.
- Anxiety, depression, insomnia.
- Unhygienic way of living
- Alcohol consumption.
Ayurvedic Hair Care Tips and Regimen
These tips assist you to take care of your hair according to nature of your hair.You will be a proud owner of healthy ,shining, soft and thick crowning glory. These tips help to prevent hair loss, hair fall, dandruff, premature graying and split hair. Follow these hair care tips for a healthy , shiny ,thick, long hair
Eat a healthy Balanced diet. Include plenty of green vegetables, fresh fruits, minor millets, milk and milk products which are rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. Vegetables and fruits provide antioxidants and minerals which are necessary to keep the body healthy. Amla (amalaki or Indian gooseberry or emblica officinalis), is considered as a fruit which help in hair growth. Include banana in your diet as banana contains plenty of calcium which is a vital nutrient required for hair growth. Healthy diet prevents hair loss and improves quality and quantity of hair.
Drink plenty of water (2 liters or 12 glasses per day). Water flushes out toxins and increases moistness of skin and hair. This prevents splitting of hair. Drink Copper water which helps to keep hair healthy.
Apply Ayurvedic Hair Oil
Based on principles of ayurveda, vitiated doshas affect the scalp skin and cause hair loss. Massage your scalp with good ayurvedic hair oil. Hair oil which is processed with hair friendly herbs help to condition the hair and prevent drying of hair. A good head massage help to increase blood circulation to scalp skin and aid hair growth. Head massage also reduces stress, tension headaches and induces good sleep.
The oil should always be lukewarm, which enables it to enter the pores of follicles easily. Add one vitamin E capsules to the oil and then massage the scalp. The oil should be applied with the help of a cotton pad. Massage should be done with fingertips only. Avoid vigorous massage after oiling as this can cause weak and brittle hair to fall. Oil interferes with adequate cleaning therefore avoid a massage before shampooing.
Medicated oil with the herbs Bhringaraja ( Eclipta Alba ), Amalaki ( Embelica officinalis ), onion, aloe vera, neem (best for dandruff) , Haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ) and Vibhitaki ( Terminalia bellirica ) is a best remedy for hair fall. The base oil should be any of these- sesame oil, coconut oil, mustard oil, jojoba oil, almond oil oilve oil etc
Essential oil of Indian borage or ajwain leaves are mixed in oil which can be used as hair oils. Due to its sharp penetrating quality , this herb helps in hair growth and prevent hair loss. It is also useful in dandruff and scalp acne as it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Wash your hair twice in a week
Dust, smoke, oil etc makes hair look dull and also harms scalp health. Hence wash your hair once in 2 days. Our body produces natural oil which is secreted through oil glands of skin and scalp. This oil keeps our hair strands conditioned. Hence do not use harsh shampoos or soaps which strip off natural oil of scalp. Brush your hair from root to tips before taking head bath. Wash your hair once in three days. Repeated hair wash leads to dry hair and split ends. Use a mild shampoo with no alcohol that won’t dry out the hair. Use the shampoo on scalp and roots. The ends get cleansed while rinsing. Massage is especially beneficial for dry hair as it increases blood circulations and produces natural oil. Do not use too much oil for massaging for oily hair as there is enough natural oil in scalp.
Apply Hair Conditioner and Hair Mask
Use a conditioner or a cream rinse every time after shampooing. Conditioners soften the hair while adding nutrients and give the hair a shine. Cream rinse provides a light conditioning, detangle the hair and still give it shine. Applying few drops of coconut oil in the end of headbath acts as natural conditioner.
Applying hair mask is also beneficial in hair loss. These ayurvedic hair masks provide nutrition to hair and also act as conditioners. They prevent drying of hair, split ends and dandruff.
How to dry the hair ?
Dry the hair carefully. Use a wide toothed, hard rubber or plastic comb (metal breaks the hair) to gently detangle the hair. Ideally one should allow the hair to dry at least partially on its own.
Gently dry the hair with towel before blow-drying. Hold hair dryer at least six inches away from head to minimize heat damage.
Ayurvedic Lifestyles for Healthy Hair
Exercise regularly. This helps to increase blood circulation and keep our whole body healthy and rejuvenated. A brisk walk for 30 minutes is advisable for all ages. Practice Yoga and meditation to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Keep addictions at bay. Avoid hairstyles which pull hair. Wear a swimming cap to prevent hair damage due to chlorine.
A Special Care and Ayurvedic Remedies for Dry Hair
Dryness of hair occurs when hair is washed excessively, shampooed with harsh chemicals or blow dried. Malnutrition, hypothyroidism and anorexia nervosa are few other causes which make hair dry. Rigorous, repeated brushing, bleaching and perming cause dryness of hair. Excessive exposure to wind, water and polluted air also cause dryness of hair. According to texts of ayurveda increased vata causes dry hair.
Tips for dry hair
Avoid blow drying
Prevent using harsh shampoos and colorants
Use a low pH shampoo.
Apply few drops of oil to hair. The best way to apply it is to put a few drops of hair oil on your palm and start applying from end of the hair and work towards scalp.
Over brushing, exaggerated back combing, brushing wet hair, blow drying, coloring hair etc damage cuticle and cause splitting of hair. Malnutrition also causes splitting of hair.
How to prevent splitting of hair
- Do not brush hair repeatedly.
- Avoid brushing of hair when it is wet.
- Use a wide toothed comb
- Minimize or avoid using hair dyes, sprays and gels.
- Prevent harmful effects of extreme weather conditions on hair, by wearing caps or scarves.
- Apply hair conditioners to the tips of hair.
- Cut the split hairs as soon as you spot them preferably 3 cms away from the split end.
- Avoid elastic hair bands.
- Remove bands, rollers and clips cautiously.
Massage scalp and hair regularly with ayurvedic hair oils like
Ayurvedic Home remedies for hair loss and dandruff
- Applying juice of neem or margosa leaves to scalp prevent dandruff and hair loss caused by it.
- Washing hair and scalp with decoction of neem leaves helps to prevent hair loss and stabilizes color.
- Boil few pieces of amla, curry leaves and neem leaves in pure coconut oil till it becomes crisp. Massage this oil on scalp. This is best tonic for hair growth.
- Rubbing scalp with equal quantity of amla juice and lime juice after washing hair help in hair loss and increases the luster.
- Consuming fresh lettuce leaves or lettuce juice helps in growth of hair.
- After washing hair with cold water, rub the scalp vigorously with finger tips till you feel the heat. This effectively controls hair loss.
- Applying a pack of soaked and ground fenugreek seeds for half an hour help to prevent dandruff.
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