Stress, nutritional deficiency, pollution… The causes of hair loss are many. However, there are several new ways to fight hair loss, for both men and women.
Hair loss can be triggered by infections, drugs, diseases, diet and other factors, but most of the time it’s a result of genetic predisposition. The generic trait, which can be passed on by either parent, determines not just if, but when, we will lose hair. The condition is called androgenetic alopecia because it is an androgen (a male hormone) that causes the problem.
Researchers believe that in those predisposed to hair loss, the follicles start to produce the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which grabs the male hormone testosterone from the blood and converts it to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. DHT attacks the hair follicles, which then weaken and shrivel. For men, hair usually recedes along the hairline or falls out at the crown – or both. For women, hair loss tends to be more diffuse, thinning all over the scalp. Female hair loss is usually less severe because, it’s believed, women produce an enzyme called aromatase, which can turn DHT into estrogen and lessen follicle withering.
The chemical reasons for hair loss are complicated, so it’s not surprising that many products promising they can make hair grow back don’t work. Among them are special hair nutrients, herbal remedies, oils, amino acids, proteins and hair ‘restorers’ containing chemicals which are supposed to encourage new hair growth by unclogging follicles the way floor cleaners cut through built-up dirt.
However, there are a number of methods proving to be effective in fighting hair loss. A few of them are listed below.
It is illegal to sell non-prescription products that claim to prevent baldness or re-grow hair. But many shampoos, conditioners, mousses and gels contain “volumizers”, which – though they can’t replace hair – can at least make what’s left look thicker by anti-static-coating each strand and preventing them from sticking together. They also contain “humectants” that absorb and retain moisture making the hair seem fuller, temporarily.
Hairpieces and wigs can be expensive and costly to maintain. They also wear out. Worse, though it’s rare, they can shift at embarrassing moments. But these hair additions supply an instant head of hair and can also buy time for people considering surgery.
New technologies have improved hairpieces, making them look natural. Human or artificial hair (or a mixture) is sewn into finely netted nylon or polyurethane or silicone, all of which are pliable, mould to the skin, and allow air, water and perspiration to circulate around the scalp. One hair at a time is attached to the base in the direction it would normally grow. And the customer’s own hairline, hair density and curl can be matched.
Many hairpieces can be washed, blown dry, colored and permed – just about anything you’d do with your own hair. Most weigh very little, and are attached with double-face surgical adhesive tape, combs or clips. A taped-on hair-piece can be left attached for a couple of days or removed whenever desired. Hair extensions that are bonded to natural hair with acrylic or polymer glue, or woven to a braid of existing hair, can be left in place for several weeks.
Yoga and Head Massage
The yogic practice of ‘pranayam’ increases the efficiency of oxygen utilization thereby improving blood supply to the scalp. Consult a yoga teacher to learn about more benefits through yoga. Regular ayurvedic head massage using specific oils can increase blood supply to the scalp and stimulate healthy growth, though it’s unlikely to reverse baldness.