There’s nothing in this world more disturbing than the deteriorating hair health. After all, doesn’t your heart cry out loud every time you shed strands while combing your precious mane? Don’t you cringe when you see that once-thick ponytail of yours turn into one that resembles a thin, worn-out rope? Don’t you simply feel like life has come to a standstill when you see your scalp getting scanty?
Well, if in those moments of grief, you only end up blaming your lack of hair care rituals for your condition–then you’ve got to know that you’re probably thinking on the wrong lines.
“The condition of your hair can sometimes act as a window to our general health condition,” says Dr Nirupama Parwanda, dermatologist and founder, Zolie Skin Clinic, Greater Kailash, Delhi.
She goes on to explain and list down the many underlying health issues that the condition of your hair might be indicating. Take a look:
1. Premature greying of hair | Cause: Stress and/or anxiety
Premature greying has more of a genetic basis, which explains why it tends to occur in women with a history of premature greying that runs in the family.
However, increased stress can lead to an increase in the production of the cortisol hormone, which accelerates the ageing process. “Though supplements like calcium pantothenate have shown to help but not as much and studies are ongoing,” says Dr Parwanda.
2.Rapid balding | Cause: Cushing’s syndrome
This is another problem caused by the excess production of and prolonged exposure to the stress hormone, cortisol.
This, in turn, can lead to hypersecretion of androgens, a group of hormones that play a role in developing male traits and reproductive activity. The result? Loss of hair and bald patches.
3.Thinning hair | Cause: Thyroid imbalance
The thyroid hormone plays a major role in regulating your metabolism and the growth of the human body–which makes it quite an important hormone.
Now, both hyperthyroidism (excess hormone production by the thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (inadequate thyroid production) can lead to dry, dull, brittle, and thin hair. However, the good news is that once the thyroid balance is restored in your body, you can expect your hair to go back to normal.
4. Excessive hair fall | Cause: Hormonal imbalance
Apart from thyroid, an imbalance of other hormones such as estrogen, especially in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and post-menopausal women (low estrogen production) can lead to thinning and weakening of hair follicles and overall hair fall.
5. Sudden hair loss | Cause: Protein deficiency
“Protein is the building base of our cells and it forms a major part of our hair,” Dr Parwanda explains. Thus, a protein deficiency in your body can result in the quality of your hair getting deteriorated, ultimately leading to hair loss.
6. Hair shedding | Cause: Anemia
“Your blood naturally contains iron and just like protein, it is needed for a lot of essential processes in your body and its adequate levels are required for maintaining the health of your hair too,” Parwanda points out.
Needless to say, in case of anemia, a condition arising from iron deficiency in the body, your hair tends to get weaker and may shed off.
7. Itchy scalp and hair loss | Cause: Fungal infection
According to Dr Parwanda, any infection on the scalp can lead to the hair shaft becoming weak and can thus, lead to hair loss.
8. Perennially greasy hair | Cause: Fatty diet
If your hair’s always oily despite you washing it regularly, an excess of fat consumption could be to blame for it. This typically means that you’ve got to start eating healthy and dump the junk.
So, how can you ensure healthy hair and a good overall health?
“Have a balanced diet and make sure you get an adequate dose of nutrients like iron, vitamin B, and vitamin D,” Dr Parwanda suggests.
“Regular intake of green, leafy vegetables and fresh fruits can help as well and so can regular exercise and maintaining a good sleep cycle,” she adds. The doctor also recommends keeping your scalp clean at all times and shampooing your hair two to three times a week.