Health & Fitness

Hair loss: When losing your hair makes you lose your mind

Experiencing hair loss? If you are under 40, and have been big on biotin for long spells, pump up the vitamins and minerals to kick in cellular turnover and metabolic activity.

Experiencing hair loss? If you are under 40, and have been big on biotin for long spells,  pump up the vitamins and minerals to kick in cellular turnover and metabolic activity.

Bald jokes on hair loss are simply bald. Humour is something that does not help you cope with hair loss, especially if you are under 40, and have been big on biotin for long spells. What you need to do is pump up the follicles with a bold mix of nutrients in antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, to kick in that cellular turnover and metabolic activity. Curious? Read on.

Say ‘boo’ to biotin

It is not a quick-fix solution to your peeping bald patches. Biotin is produced by the gut flora and is easily available in most foods. “It is very rare to have a biotin deficiency to really require a biotin supplement,” says dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal, founder and medical director, Yavana Aesthetics Clinic. “You need to understand that if biotin deficiency happens, the initial symptoms are observed in the skin, not hair. Though there is a hype over biotin consumption when we talk about hair loss, there are no studies or research that proves biotin boosting hair growth.”

Dr Rinky Kapoor, consultant dermatologist, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, adds, “Biotin powder claims to stimulate the production of keratin in your hair and help increase the rate of hair follicle growth. Yet, it is better to consult the doctor before you decide to take any biotin supplements.

Age of onions

With onion juice masquerading as the “tress superstar” in a multitude of shampoos and hair care potions, is the hype justified? “Onion has nutrients providing benefits of antioxidants and antimicrobial action on hair. There are anecdotal experiences of improvement in hair texture, hair loss and dandruff while using onion juice. Onion acts like an irritant ingredient when applied to scalp. So, its juice can temporarily improve the blood circulation of hair, like any other irritant agent and the hair result is seen till the time it is applied. However, there are no scientific large-scale studies proving the benefits of onion juice or oil for hair. The claimed benefits stand unvalidated,” says Dr Agarwal. What about the scalp serums? “Use the serum recommended by the doctor. Do not just blindly follow any trend on social media. Ingredients commonly used in scalp serums are panthenol, rice protein and wheat protein, biotin, caffeine, and lauric acid. They should be paraben-, sulphate-, formaldehyde- and silicone-free,” advises Dr Kapoor.

Those vitamin besties

What you need is a just mix of nutrients in your diet. Provided there are no challenges in your gene pool to hair growth, and there is no sign of any affliction on your health index, or medicine consumption that may have a spin-off impact on your strand growth, there is no power on earth that will hinder your hair harvesting measures. Dr Sonali Kohli, consultant dermatologist and venereologist, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, says, “Vitamin D is necessary for healthy skin and hair. Inadequate levels of vitamin D may lead to hair loss as it plays a vital role in hair follicle cycling and maintaining the hair growth cycle. Insufficient vitamin B12 levels can lead to hair thinning and premature greying as this vitamin is involved in the production of red blood cells, which supply nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles.”

The skin and hair champion though arrives in Vitamin C. “It is essential for the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure and strength to the hair. Insufficient vitamin C levels can weaken the hair follicles, leading to brittle locks more prone to breakage,” she explains. “It also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting the hair follicles from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. When there is a deficiency of vitamin C, the hair follicles may be more susceptible to damage and slower growth. Also, Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron from plant-based sources (non-heme iron). Iron is necessary to produce haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the hair follicles.” A deficiency of Vitamin C can contribute to anaemia leading to brittle hair and hair loss. Vitamin C also inhibits copper absorption thereby reducing free radical damage.

Shilpi Madan for

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