‘’People need to understand that getting too obsessed with hair can lead to many other problems. Hair is a small part of your life and there are many things to look at other than hair.’’ Dr Batra.

On today’s show I was joined by Dr Mukesh Batra who spoke about the different problems related to hair, mainly hair loss. People have excessive hair loss during pregnancy is a misnomer. During pregnancy there is actually very less hair fall because of the secretion of a hormone which is useful for hair. But after delivery because of the trauma or weakness and also because of the hormones there may be psychological hair loss which can go on for a period of approximately 2 months. But if the hair loss goes on after that, treatment might be necessary according to Dr Batra.

Hair loss can happen due to many different conditions like

  • Dandruff
  • Fungal infections which also look like dandruff but the scales are bigger,
  • Psoriasis of the scalp which is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. It is a common condition faced by many people especially in the UK
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis which is a common condition that causes the oil glands on the scalp to release excess oil causing oily flakes of dandruff; people with seborrhoeic dermatitis can also experience flaking on other parts of the body, such as the eyebrows, side of the nose and anywhere where skin folds together, such as the armpits.

People suffering from hair loss or dandruff tend to worry a lot and that can in turn lead to more hair loss. It’s important to break this viscous circle. It is important to relax according to Dr Batra.

Dr Batra said that there is a permanent solution for dandruff. It is something that needs to be treated both internally and externally. The external treatments for dandruff are at times very harsh and contain a lot of chemicals which can cause damage to the hair as well. If the dandruff is seasonal where it appears only during dry weather or the winter and disappears other times then there is nothing to worry about and using topical or external treatments would be enough. But if these topical applications are used for a long time then they can have side effects and in the long run can lead to a lot of hair loss. So it is important to find the root cause of the problem and then treat it internally.

Specks of dandruff fall on the forehead and back at times which causes acne like skin condition where spots appear on that part of the skin. The treatment for that would be to not use any anti acne creams but to get rid of the dandruff which will automatically make the spot disappear.

According to the New Zealand dermatological society the pH (the acid-alkaline ratio) of the scalp is 6.5. So when selecting a shampoo it is good to go as close to pH 6.5 as possible and this can be done by checking the label during shopping. Most shampoos are very harsh and they can actually damage your hair and your scalp over long term use said Dr Batra. Also by avoiding the use of chemicals on the hair and using a natural shampoo with fewer chemicals, the chances of hair staying on the head are far better.

I have heard many people recommend rubbing lemon on the scalp or using buttermilk or even egg to help reduce the dandruff or in general for healthy hair. Dr Batra said that these suggestions – dadi maa ke nuske, have some logic behind it.  The strands of the hair are made up of a protein called Keratin so the recommendation of using another protein which is present in egg may be helpful.

Another problem that people face with hair is the greying of hair. Once the natural colour of hair is lost, it is very difficult to get it back.  As there is no solution for this many people use hair dye to colour their hair and cover the grey strands. But Dr Batra recommends using a natural hair dye instead of the ones with a lot of chemicals. The chemicals in the dye can cause damage to the hair which can lead to hair loss. After colouring the hair it is necessary to use a shampoo for coloured hair because using a normal shampoo may cause the colour to wear off earlier which will in turn make people colour their hair more often. In the long run this may prove to be more harmful to the hair than using a shampoo for coloured hair.

Many times we might notice that we face excessive hair fall daily but when we go back to our home country then this hair loss completely stops all on its own. Dr Batra said that water which is treated or which is very hard like the water here can be the reason for excessive hair loss. He recommends getting a water softener fitted. He also said that in extreme cases it is recommended to use bottled water for washing your hair instead of the tap water.

Sometime people feel that their hair is very dry and lifeless. Dr Batra said that having very dry hair can be a sign of Thyroid problems and that needs to be checked out before looking at treatment for dry hair. Also people need to get a blood test done and rule out anaemia and also keep in check the nutritional value of their diet. Using a shampoo specifically for dry hair is not the solution for this problem according to Dr Batra. Rather, it would be good to oil the hair once a week. Also he recommends using separate shampoo and conditioners as they have separate functions as a combination of both is more of a marketing convenience rather than anything else.

Having good amounts of protein and omega 3 in the diet is important for people who want a healthy head of hair. Omega 3 is usually present in fish and vegetarians can opt for natural capsules that are easily available. Speaking about multivitamins Dr Batra said that only people with nutritional deficiencies need to take multi vitamin tablets every day. A lot of times multi vitamins taken by people are completely unnecessary and are more of a habit or psychological satisfaction of saying that it is working for me.

Dr Batra stressed that people should not get obsessed with hair and give it too much of importance. He spoke about the psychological effects of hair loss on the younger generation and spoke about a kid he had treated who did not want to go to school or meet people because of severe hair loss. People lose their self confidence and may also go into depression. It is good to give importance to hair as it is one of the first signs of an internal health concern but giving it too much importance can have a negative impact.