hair loss

Hair grows all over the human body externally barring the glabrous skin like the palm, lips, and sole of the feet and on the mucus membrane. Hair is a bio-material made of a particular type of protein called keratin which is responsible for growth of the nails also.

A number of textures of hair are found in different individuals. The textures differ in curl pattern, color, consistency, length and quantity or volume. Most of the people, men and women, have common and special interest in their hair growth, quality and style and take special care in nourishing them.

Based on the type of pigment, the color of the hair become black, brown, red, grey or blond. While the hairs grow all over the body in many places, it is so fine making it invisible.

It is estimated that there about one hundred thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand hairs grow on the head and each day, one loses about one hundred of them.

Men and women have different patterns of hair loss. A particular form of hair loss called telogen effluvium is known as hair thinning. Women are more prone to hair thinning particularly during pregnancy and after the delivery of the child. While hair fall or thinning is attributed to iron and vitamin deficiencies, such loss of hair during pregnancy is not due to any deficiency but due to changes in estrogen level (female hormone). Estrogen is primarily responsible for female reproductive system and female secondary sexual characteristics.

Post-delivery hair loss

Hair fall after pregnancy is nothing more than a normal biological condition and there is no cause for worry.

During pregnancy the estrogen level in the pregnant women increases and freezes the hair follicles and prevent the hair fall. The growth cycle of the hair is stopped. This is the reason why women who are pregnant experience some thickness of their hair. On account of this the volume or quantity of hair increases due to prevention of hair fall during pregnancy. Normally the hair fall cycle is broken from about six weeks of pregnancy to up to about eight months. Thereafter the cycle of hair fall is resumed. Hair fall after delivery is called postpartum hair loss.

However, immediately after delivery of the child, the estrogen level decreases and within a few months, the normal estrogen level in the body is reached. Because of this phenomena few months after delivery hair falls as the normal growth cycle is resumed.  Since the cycle of hair growth is resumed in addition to the normal hair fall, the rested hair during pregnancy also falls making it appear as if there is abnormal hair fall.

Since stress is also a reason for general hair fall condition, post pregnancy hair fall may be accelerated in some women.

Prevention of hair fall after delivery can be done as in general hair loss or hair thinning condition. Only thing which need to be taken care of is the overall health of the person post-delivery.

If the women experiencing hair fall can correlate the quantum of hair fall to the addition (thickening) of hair during pregnancy, then there is no cause for anxiety. However if there is disproportionate hair fall, it is a cause of worry which has to be treated. To be precise, while the normal hair fall on account of growth cycle is about 100 per day, the fall after pregnancy may increase up to about 500 per day.

If there is unreasonable thinning after six to eight months of delivery, hair fall need to be prevented to the normal level. This situation prompts various treatments. If the hair fall is only on account of pregnancy and child birth it is enough if the hair is properly maintained by keeping it well cleaned preferably with natural shampoo. In addition, consumption of balanced diet with adequate nutrition to take care of breast feeding too is a must. Health conditions after delivery has to be addressed with appropriate medications. Any vitamin deficiency has to be supplemented.

But if the hair fall is excessive even after breast feeding is stopped, normal treatment for general hair fall or hair thinning is to be done.

Treatment to prevent hair fall

  • Application of castor oil on the scalp regularly prevents hair fall. As castor oil is very thick in comparison to other oils, it prevents falling of follicles.
  • Egg mixed with grape seed oil or lavender oil or yogurt and used as scalp mask at least once in a month provide good results both in preventing hair thinning and thickening of the hair.
  • Henna leaf powder can be made into a paste by mixing with water and applied on the scalp and allowed to rest for 30 minutes and then shampoo washed for the twin benefit of improving the hair color and reducing the hair fall at a time.
  • Application of coconut oil extract by mixing with Indian goose berry
  • Use of coconut oil regularly as hair oil is bound to strengthen the hair and prevent hair loss due to the presence of iron and other vitamins and protein in the oil.
  • Use of avocado helps in promotion of the health of the hair due to vitamin E present in it.
  • Massaging of the hair with natural oils during bath time enhances the blood circulation in the scalp and strengthen the roots and prevent hair fall.
  • Consumption of food which contains good amount of protein and vitamins regularly is a preventive measure against hair thinning.
  • Leading a stress free life is as important as external applications and food consumption to prevent hair thinning.
  • Hair care methods, like removing the knots with a comb gently without uprooting bunches of hair, massaging the hair with natural applications regularly, flipping the hair upside down periodically for faster growth are useful tips.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.