What Your Hair Says About Your Health

on Tuesday, 10 January 2012. Posted in Hair Care, Beauty and Skincare Written By: Archana Mahendra

What Your Hair Says About Your Health

Did you know that your hair says a lot regarding your health? Here’s how to interpret your health as per the condition of your hair.

Does excessive dandruff, hair fall or premature greying of your hair trouble you? Generally such problems are not a cause for alarm and occur on account of natural reasons; yet at times excessive dandruff or hair fall could also indicate a health condition. Here’s a guide to help you interpret when your deteriorating hair condition is a cause for concern.

Hair conditions you need to be vigilant about:

Hair Trivia

Hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body

If healthy, hair is as strong as a wire of iron

Over 50 percent of men by the age 50, have male pattern hair loss.

40 percent of women have female pattern (hereditary) hair loss when they reach menopause.

Falling Hair

It is normal to lose some 100 to 150 strands of hair every day. A human head has over a lakh hair follicles, each in a different growth phases. So while several strands of hair fall daily, several new ones grow too.

However if you notice hair coming out in clumps or bald spots on your head, then it is a cause for concern. Excessive thinning of hair can indicate any of the following:

  • Side effects of medications like birth control pills, anti-depressants
  • Hormonal fluctuations, especially during perimenopause and pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Anemia

Excessive hair fall must be discussed with your medical practitioner to rule out onset of any medical problem. If it is a side effect of any medication, you can always get your doctor to prescribe an alternative. One must also note that the hair condition called ‘baldness’ is often hereditary and again not on account of being unhealthy in some way.

Gray Hair

Hair tends to go grey because the melanin production in the hair root decreases as you age. The existing hair on your head remains the same colour, but the new hair strands that grow are the ones that come with little or no pigment and hence, the change in colour.

You are expected to begin going grey with age. While some people begin to grey as late as in their forties, few people get grey hair as early as, in their twenties. The age at which you begin to grey depends on your genes. Hence, if you grey at an early age, it doesn’t always indicate a health condition. Instead you need to check with your parents; in all probability they too would have begun to go grey at your age. However, at times conditions like thyroid, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, anaemia and vitiligo can cause premature greying. 

Dandruff

While researchers are still not sure about the cause of dandruff, they say that it is not harmful in any way. The best way to treat dandruff is by using an anti-dandruff shampoo. However, if your dandruff looks like any of the below conditions, you must consult your dermatologist.

  1. Yellow and greasy - it may indicate seborrheic dermatitis. This condition can affect the face and the scalp and is generally caused by fungus. While this condition can generally be treated with anti-dandruff shampoos, in severe cases check with your doctor.
  2. Thick-scab like- when a thick crust tends to form on the scalp, the condition is Psoriasis. You must consult your doctor immediately if you discover this condition, since psoriasis patients tend to develop other disorders like psoriatic arthritis, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and depression.

Dry, brittle and breaking hair

Use of styling products, excessive exposure to sun, chemical dyes, extreme use of hair dryers etc, can leave your hair dry and frizzy. Styling often damages the hair cuticle and the hair shaft; hence, the dry and brittle hair that breaks easily.  If you feel that your damaged hair is because of reasons similar to those mentioned above; you must reduce use of chemical products on your hair and begin to deep condition it with oils, to mend the damage. Taking fish oil supplements also helps nourish the hair.

Dry and brittle hair however, can also be caused on account of health conditions like:

  • Unhealthy diet, specially lacking in protein and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Cushings syndrome
  • Hypoparathyroidism

Generally when hair turns dry and rough due to some health condition, you may notice additional symptoms like dry and flaky skin too. Check with your medical practitioner for remedies.

While sometimes health conditions tend to cause irreversible damage to your hair, at most times it is lack of care and nourishment to the hair that tends to damage it. You must therefore, eat right and avoid abusing your hair with chemicals. Be vigilant and help yourself get those beautiful, shiny and healthy hair.

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