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Is Hair Thinning Fixable?

Young man with hair loss problem

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Seek help the first time you experience hair fall more than usual!

A A A tT

There’s a reason hair is often referred to as our ‘crowning glory’. Or why #goodhairday has over two million (and counting) posts on IG. Thick, healthy hair makes us all feel confident, irrespective of our genders. Which is why every man out there is interested in knowing how to prevent hair loss! Even the ones with amazing mane (like Bollywood favourites, Ayushmann Khurrana and Ranveer Singh)—want to be reassured with the idea of the possibility that it can be done—even if he particularly isn’t worried about losing his hair! 

Today, hair loss is one of the most common concerns for many. So, Man’s Life sought the expertise of Dr. Jaishree Sharad, one of Mumbai’s most in-demand celebrity cosmetic dermatologists—to give us some insights and advice on the same. Take notes…

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR HAIR FALL OUT? 

Angry young man loosing hair and holding a hairbrush

Dr. Sharad says that the number of people experiencing extreme hair fall has alarmingly increased in the last five years or so. According to her, though alopecia is more prevalent in adults, it can even occur in children. “It is important to distinguish hair loss due to breakage of the hair shaft from the hair loss due to decreased hair growth. It is normal to lose over 100 hair strands per day. Shampooing loosens the hair that is ready to fall out,” she reveals.

Dr. Sharad lists out a few causes that lead to hair thinning….

1. ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA: Hereditary male or female pattern baldness is one of the leading causes of hair loss. “Androgenetic Alopecia may begin as early as puberty, triggered by certain sex hormones. Predetermined genetics play a huge role in this,” explains Dr. Sharad.

2. STRESS: Stress is bad for our bodies, mind, skin and hair. There’s no contesting that!

3. CRASH DIETS: Crash diets and the body constantly being in ‘starvation mode’ will only speed up the ‘balding’ process!

4. DISEASE: Illnesses like malaria, dengue, TB and typhoid and so on, can result in hair fall. Sometimes, people experience hair loss after undergoing surgery. “Patients with thyroid or pituitary disorder or those on anti-cancer treatment, antithyroid drugs, cholesterol lowering agents—and patients on anticoagulant therapy may suffer from drug-induced hair thinning.” 

5. NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY: If you don’t get adequate amounts of protein, biotin, calcium from your diet or have iron and zinc deficiencies, you will have to deal with hair fall.”

6. CHEMICAL/HEAT-INDUCED STYLING TREATMENTS: If you’re someone who loves to colour or chemically straighten/perm your hair frequently—your locks are bound to get damaged. Excessive ironing or using a blow-dryer daily on high heat will only make matters worse! Like with everything else in life, moderation is key here too!

7. SCALP ISSUES: “Scalp disease or infections like psoriasis or severe folliculitis can set off hair loss too,” she says.

THE FIXES

young man eating breakfast in restaurant

1. THE HAIR DIET: “A protein-rich diet is mandatory,” says Dr Sharad. “Supplements of iron, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, selenium chromium, calcium, Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, omega 3 fatty acids should be consumed.  Biotin supplements alone won’t cut it. Try to include whole wheat, cereals, sprouts, egg whites, lean meats, milk and soya in your diet. Collagen supplements also aid in strengthening your hair.

2. DE-STRESS: In a world that propagates the ‘hustle’, taking time off to unwind daily is vital. Make space for stress management, yoga, pranayama, meditation or a hobby in your schedule. 

3. BE KINDER TO YOUR HAIR SHAFT: “Physical trauma to the hair shaft caused due to vigorous combing, excessive shampooing, drying or brushing should be avoided.”

4. GO EASY WITH THE PRODUCTS: Too many hair products on a regular basis will cause product build up and result in a sensitive scalp. Also, scalp infections, if any, should be treated immediately.

TREATMENTS

Man with hair loss problem receiving injection in head

If your hair is shedding at warp speed even after dietary and lifestyle changes, it’s time to seek medical intervention before it’s too late! The first line of treatment for hair loss is over the counter medications—which include topical medications like Minoxidil 5% concentration that can be applied daily at bedtime,” she says. “Always consult a dermatologist or trichologist, as these medicines have side effects—such as headache, scalp irritation and hair growth in the adjacent areas like forehead or neck because of the medicine dripping,” cautions Dr. Sharad. 

Next up, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy or PRP! “This line of treatment uses your own blood platelets to stimulate hair growth where you are balding,” explains Dr Sharad. These quick and affordable injections can promote growth when follicles are present, if done on a monthly basis till you need to! “Around 8ml of your blood is taken and spun in the centrifuge machine, which separates it into layers of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Then, the platelet-rich plasma is injected into the thinning areas.” It’s a lunch-time procedure and requires no downtime.

before and after picture of bald head of a man

If all else fails, the only remaining option for you is surgical hair transplant. If the follicles are dead and gone, then you need to do something to replace, redistribute, and relocate the follicles from the permanent zone—the back of the scalp—into the thinning or the balding area. It’s not a lunchtime procedure like PRP, as recovery can take a bit. It’s also not cheap! Actor Salman Khan is believed to have gotten one done!

Hair loss is something that most men will experience at some point in their lives or the other. Getting treatment in its early stages can help minimise it overall and increase the odds of a treatment’s efficacy! So, if you see a lot of hair on your pillows or the bathroom drain, get an appointment with a dermatologist or a trichologist pronto! 

UNDERSTANDING THE HAIR GROWTH CYCLE

Hair grows from the root/follicle beneath the skin where it gets its nourishment from the blood vessels at the base of the follicle. Each hair passes through four stages:


1. Anagen Phase: The growing stage of the hair follicle, which lasts for two to seven years and determines the length of the hair.


2. Catagen Phase: This is the intermediate or the transition phase which lasts for about 10 days, where the hair follicle detaches itself from the dermal papilla (responsible for the regulation of hair growth).


3. Telogen Phase: The resting/shedding phase, which lasts for around three months!

4. Exogen Phase: The phase where the old makes way for the new! The old hair sheds while the new hair continues to grow. Normal hair shedding equals to the loss of 100 to 150 hair strands per day!

 

[All Images Credit: Shutterstock]

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