Hair Anatomy and Causes of Hair Loss – An Ayurveda View

Hair Anatomy and Causes of Hair Loss – An Ayurveda View
Dec 2021

Anatomy of hair
The hair on our scalp can be divided into two parts, the root, and the shaft. The root part of the hair is in the skin (epidermis)of the scalp. The hair root is surrounded by a pouch-like structure called a follicle.
The base of the hair root is in the shape of a bulb. This bulb is indented by capillaries and nerve fibers. The cells in the center of the bulb divide. The newly divided hair cells push the previous cells up.
The cells which move upwards die slowly forming a hard hair shaft. The hair shaft has three layers the cuticle, medulla, and cortex.
The cuticle is the outer layer and protects the inner layers. It is transparent. A healthy cuticle gives a shiny appearance to hair and an unhealthy cuticle gives a lifeless look Medulla is an innermost layer composed of large cells.
The cortex is the layer between the cuticle and medulla. This contains pigment and keratin. Cortex determines the bulk and strength of hair. The hair follicle contains oil-secreting glands that make the hair shiny. Stress and illness diminish the secretion of oil and pigments causing graying of hair. According to Ayurveda, the hair is considered as a tissue that uses the same nutrients of bone (asthi Dhatu) and considered as a tissue that is formed as a by-product of bone tissue.
Normal hair growth cycle: - physiology of hair growth
Each hair on our scalp grows approximately at the rate of 1 centimeter per month. This growth continues for 2-6 years. When the hair attains full growth it rests for 2-3 months and is later shed. A new hair starts growing in its place. Thus at any given point of time, 10 percent of the total hair on our scalp is in a resting phase and 90 percent of the hair is in the growth phase. As a part of this hair growth cycle, it is normal for everybody to experience a little hair fall every day. Any condition in which the hair fall is more than normal is termed hair loss. Hair loss can affect anybody irrespective of age and gender.
Causes of hair loss
It is normal to witness the shredding of some hair each day as part of the hair growth cycle. But few may experience hair fall more than normal. Excessive shedding of hair is called hair loss or hair fall.
Hormonal imbalance in men and women: In men, a high concentration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in hair follicles causes hair fall. In women hormonal imbalances during pregnancy, PCOS or PCOD, and after delivery cause hair loss
A high amount of sebum in the scalp clogs pores of the scalp and prevents nutrition to the hair follicle.
Dieting or eating a poor diet. Inadequate nutrition causes hair fall.
Stress and anxiety, worry, lack of sleep (insomnia), worry cause hair loss
Long-standing diseases like typhoid, viral infections, anemia, surgery, etc cause general debility which leads to hair loss
Some medicines used for gout, chemotherapy of cancer, birth control pills, antidepressants, etc cause this
Diseases like lupus, diabetes cause hair loss.
Tying hair tightly pulls the hair from follicles and causes traction alopecia.
Wearing helmets, tight caps, or turbans for long periods.
Using strong chemicals in hair.
Obesity can also cause hair loss
Heredity also causes hair fall.
Dandruff or Fungal infection of the scalp.
Accumulation of dirt on the scalp causes blocking of pores and weakens hair roots. This leads to hair loss.
Obesity and Female Hair Loss
Obesity in women may be a cause of hair loss. In our clinical practice, we have observed a large number of obese women having thin hair. This may be due to obesity-related health conditions like- diabetes. Some underlying causes of obesity, like thyroid problems, can also cause hair loss. Apart from these, there are various reasons which point towards obesity as the main cause of hair loss in women. Let us view them
Usually, obese people lead a sedentary life. Reduced physical activity restricts peripheral blood circulation. Thus scalp skin gets deprived of good blood supply and hair follicles get weakened. This leads to hair loss.
Based on statistics obese people tend to eat too much fatty food. These foods contain saturated fatty acids which are detrimental to the health of hair.
Stress, anxiety, and Obesity create a vicious cycle. That is stress leads to obesity and obesity exaggerates stress. Increased stress is the main reason for hair loss.
As mentioned earlier obesity leads to many health conditions like diabetes, hypertension increased blood cholesterol Medications prescribed for these conditions may also cause hair loss.
Increased body fat imbalances body hormones. In obese men, increased body fat cells tend to produce estrogen (female hormone) whereas in women increased fat cells tend to produce testosterone (male hormone). These imbalances can cause hair loss both in females and males.
Obese people suffer from malnourishment. Consuming nutrient-rich foods help to cope up with hair loss.
Baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia)
Baldness occurs both in men and women as their age advances.
The baldness which occurs in men is called "male pattern baldness" and is characterized by receding hairline and loss of hair on the crown area. It is generally experienced around and from age of 25 years.
The baldness which occurs in women is called "female pattern baldness" and is characterized by overall thinning of hair on the scalp and little loss of hair on the crown or hairline. This can begin at puberty but usually occurs after menopause.
The cause for both types of baldness is attributed to genetic factors which have been inherited.
Alopecia Areata
Small circular patches of baldness start appearing on the scalp and hair re-grows in these patches after a few days. This is called alopecia areata. Persons who are affected by this condition will have repeated hair fall and regrowth of the above-mentioned pattern.
In severe conditions, total loss of scalp hair occurs. This is called "alopecia totalis".Sometimes complete loss of body hair also occurs. This is called "alopecia Universalis". In a few people the hair re-grows. But the hair loss may occur once again. This is an autoimmune disease.
According to Ayurveda, the causes of hair loss are described as follows
According to Ayurveda, hair is considered a tissue that uses the same nutrients as bone. The causes of hair loss are described as follows
Too much exposure to dust, sunlight, water, and other pollutants.
Too much sweating.
Irregular sleeping pattern.
Anxiety, depression, insomnia.
Unhygienic way of living
Alcohol consumption.
Due to these causes, the tridoshas get vitiated and cause hair loss.
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Consult Dr.Savitha Suri for ayurvedic remedies. Email drsavithasuri@gmail.com . WhatsApp + 91 6360108663
Author: Dr. Savitha Suri Consultant Ayurvedic Physician