Hair is an important part of our body. Healthy hair enhances beauty of the body. People may not be aware that the visible hair called hair shaft or cuticle is non-living part and the living part lies under the skin. To ensure healthy hair production scalp skin must be kept healthy. There are glands in the human skin called sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum. This sebum protects hair and skin from micro organisms as it inhibits the growth of microorganisms on the skins. This oily substance give moisture and shine to the hairs and is distributed mechanically by brushing and combing. Brushing the scalp also stimulates the sebaceous glands which in turn produce more sebum. Washing of hairs removes excess of sweat and oil.
There are various body conditions which influence the growth, color and texture of hairs. Hair may be affected by diseases of various systemic diseases as well as local conditions of the scalp. Diseases like hypothyroidism, hypopitutarism, diseases of supra renal glands, liver disorders and anemia have their influence on hairs. Few drugs and therapies like chemotherapy and radiotherapy which are used in cancer management are related to hair problems.
Hair loss and thinning of hair is a very common problem. This condition is caused by various scalp conditions like fungal infection, alopecia. Some systemic diseases like iron deficiency, pregnancy, lactation, excessive male hormones and few drugs. When pregnancy or lactation causes hair loss then it returns to normal in three to four months. Therefore a detailed physical examination and laboratory tests can confirm the cause of hair loss.
Premature graying of hair is a common condition seen in human beings. It is normal to see an old man with grey hair but in present scenario this condition is seen very common in young individuals. The color of hairs is due to pigment melanin. When our body stops producing this pigment then hairs become grey. In this conditions hair do not get the nutrition that is needed. Deficiency of vitamin B complex, iron, iodine, zinc and some micronutrients causes premature graying. It also results from anxiety, stress and excessive worry. In many cases heredity also plays an important factor. These days people are using chemicals to change the color of hair, but this is a temporary change and affects only hair shaft. So the new hair growth will be of natural color and texture. To change the color of hair permanently requires the cuticle of hair to be opened and can damage the hair leaving it dry and weak. Interfering with the nature may come out with different hair problems also.
10 HAIR CARE TIPS BY AYURVEDA
1.Bhringraj: A very common and easily available, known as king of herbs for hair. Applied to scalp as a paste or as oil, enhances hair growth and prevents early graying of hair. Studies show that petroleum ether extract Bhringraj increases hair re growth. It also increases number of hair follicle, which improves condition of hair on scalp.
2.Amla: Can be used externally and internally both. Externally it can be used as a paste application or a decoction to wash the hairs. Internally, works as a body booster and as a nutrient for hair roots.
3. Shikakai: Used as black, shiny and long hair care herb and acts as hair conditioner.
4. Reetha: Commonly known for its cleansing action on hairs & used as an important ingredient of all herbal shampoos.
5. Shoe flower: It can be used a paste of fresh or dried flowers. Effective in combating hair loss and dandruff. Contains high percentage of mucilage that soothes dry hair and provides colour to the grey hairs naturally.
6. Mehandi leaves: Provides color to the grey hairs naturally without harming the scalp and provides shine to the hair.
7. Aloe vera: Magnificent herb that protects hair. When consumed as juice or tablets, the process of digestion goes very nicely keeping our body and hair healthy.
8. Scalp Massage: Plays a big role in maintaining healthy hair and treating the diseased conditions of scalp that ultimately affects hair growth.
9. Steaming of hair: Hot water soaked towel improves the blood circulation of the scalp thereby provides essential nutrients for hair growth.
10. Yogic kriya: Yoga has a great role to play in the form of Asans, Pranayamas and relaxing techniques.
At last, good sleep for at least eight hours a day, drinking plenty of water and juices, balanced diet and contentment in life are very much important for keeping the hair strong and beautiful.
Split ends is another most common problem. Exposure to heat or chemicals give birth to this condition. Due to the long exposure to sun, shampoos, hair dyes and hot iron, hairs become dry and brittle. The protective cuticle strips away from the ends of hair fibers. Infrequent trims can intensify this condition. Scalp skin can also suffer from hair follicle infections like Fungus, lice can cause hair damage. Chemicals used for dandruff treatment are also a cause in scalp damage. Hair loss is a big issue during pregnancy and lactation. In these conditions hair loss is due to hormonal imbalance. When either of them ceases hair fall rises and it takes three to four months for hormones to shift to the normal. There after hair fall also decreases.
Genetics and health play major role in health of hair. Proper nutrition is important for healthy hairs. As living part of hair is under the skin, nutrition to this part is provided form blood. Eating complete and balanced diet with proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins in proper amount is important in any type of hair problems. Anemia can also cause hair fall, that can be controlled by managing the factors for iron and vitamin deficiency in the body. B group of vitamins give strength and shine to hair. They also prevent hair loss, graying of hair and prevent dandruff. Vitamin B-6 is vital to prevention form dandruff and is found in cereals and egg yolk. Vitamin B-12 which is essential to prevent hair loss and is available from milk, eggs, fish and chicken. Essential omega -3 fatty acids found in fish prevents dry scalp. Dark green vegetables which contain high amount of vitamin A and C help in production of sebum and thus help in hair growth. Nuts contain selenium that is important for healthy scalp. Low fat dairy products are important source of calcium, a key component for hair growth. But the speed of hair growth varies on the basis of genetics, gender, age, hormones and nutrition. Ayurveda can help the patients suffering from hair problems in many ways. Natural products that are used in Ayurveda are very much similar to human body nature and acts on various factors together. In present times a lot of people use Ayurvedic remedies for common hair problems. Ayurvedic management has a lot of power packed secrets that can help in gaining gorgeous hairs.
Deptt. of shalakya
Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar.