Structure of Hair – Ayurveda way
|Estimated Reading Time - 7 minutes|
As per ayurvedic principles, our body shall be in harmony with nature. This applies to all body parts including hair. Like in Summer or autumn, trees become lifeless and shed leaves, similarly our hair also feels the brunt of summer and becomes dry, with rough edges.
Our hair can be divided in two parts – the root and the shaft. The root part of hair is in the scalp and the hair shaft is what is visible to us. Root of the hair is in the shape of a bulb and is surrounded by follicles. The new hair cells are formed in the root regularly and these cells push the previous cells up. Cells that move up die and form the hard hair shaft.
While the cuticle decides the shine and appearance of the hair, the cortex determines the bulk and strength of the hair.
Why do hair fall happen?
On an average people lose 50-100 strands of hair per day. This is quite normal because new hair replaces what is lost. At any point in time, approx. 90% of hair on our scalp is in the growing phase. During this phase, they grow by approx. 1 cm/month.
However, if more than normal hair loss happens, it could result in hair thinning or decrease in hair density. While some experience it on a temporary basis during hormonal changes or change of season, for some others, hair fall may last for a longer duration. This could happen due to reasons given below. While it is impossible to identify reasons for Hair fall, this shall send a warning signal to review our dietary habits and lifestyle like oiling hair with natural, ayurvedic oil such as Bhringraj oil, Coconut oil, Almond oil etc., before or after hair wash.
How does “hair straightening” or “hair rebounding” harm the hair?
Hair like any other part of the body has the ability to restore its health naturally.. Any artificial and chemical induced treatment is bound to introduce synthetic elements in hair and take it far away from the fundamental Ayurvedic concept – to be in sync with nature. Chemical straightening & perming works by breaking the existing bonds in hair and then re-attaching the broken bond. Strong alkaline solutions (pH of 13+) like Lye, Guanidine hydroxide and Ammonium thioglycolate are applied to hair. These chemical compounds break the disulphide bonds even more effectively as compared to heat.
These treatments further damage hair by the monomolecular layer of fatty acids that is bound naturally to your hair cuticle. This fatty acid layer is a water repelling layer. When this layer is removed by chemical straightening and smoothening treatments, your hair becomes dull, frizzy and is more susceptible to static electricity. However, this damage can be treated with natural ayurvedic treatments. Massaging oil on a regular basis may treat the damaged hair and bring back its shine. As suggested earlier, use natural oils like Bhringraj Oil, which is also known as the king of hair herbs. Alternatively, coconut oil or even almond oil works wonderfully well for hair.
Why do Hair become Gray?
Hair color is a factor of melanin and premature graying of hair occurs due to melanin deficiency. Graying of hair is directly proportional to the hair care.
Few common reasons for melanin deficiency, which results in graying of hair are:
- Improper nutrition or food supplement intake
- Not providing additional supplement to hair like Hair Oil or Hair Serum
- Hereditary or genetic reasons
- Excessive intake of fast food and junk food
- Excessive use of cosmetics and chemical products
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking
- Medication reaction
As per Ayurveda, hair is considered as a tissue that uses the same nutrients as that of bones. Therefore, like we take care of joints/bones, we need to take care of hair.
The hair follicle contains oil secreting glands that make hair shiny. Stress and illness diminish secretion of oil and pigments causing graying of hair.
(Tips: Bhringraj oil is extremely beneficial in maintaining the natural color of hair and prevents premature graying)
What you sow, you shall reap
Laws of nature apply to every tissue of our body and hair is no different. Well combed, well oiled hair has better longevity and healthy lifespan as compared to hair exposed to chemicals and improper care.
The advancement of science has created chemicals that make hair look good, shiny, flowy, jet black or purple red or velvety blue, but in longer run these chemicals strip hair of its nutrients and limits their ability to produce oil to keep it healthy and lively. Hence, topical application of a good ayurvedic hair oil, which is natural, becomes an important part of hair care regime. A good oil must contain the benefits of Bhringraj Oil, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Manjishtha, Neelpatra etc. There are many herbs in our Ayurvedic science that have specific benefits for hair.
Chemical treated hair tends to become dull, damaged or dry & frizzy. It is important to not let science interfere with our nature of hair and let it be in harmony with nature by using ayurvedic products. Keeping these principles in mind, there are natural ayurvedic ways to ensure that Hair loss is prevented or hair graying is prevented. Make sure to read the labels of ayurvedic hair care products too. If they contain natural oils like Bhringraj Oil, Almond OIl or Coconut Oil, then these are the products you need on your vanity table.
Nevertheless, if you are still the one with an adventurous streak and do want to experiment with your hair, be ready to invest more effort in maintaining them post your adventure. Like post a mountaineering adventure, our muscles and joints demand special attention, similarly post hair color sojourn, be ready to nourish hair with good hair oil (Bhringraj oil), head massage, hair spa.
Tip: Massage with bhringraj oil not only helps in healthy hair but also provides instant relief from headaches especially improved mood and sleep pattern.
How to prevent Hair fall?
First step in preventing hair fall is to accept the fact that it is not 100% in our control. As described above, we reap what we sow. Ill treatment of 10-20 years can not be reversed in 6 months time.
Key points to keep your hair happy and natural are:-
- Proper diet– Balance and proper diet to be eaten at the right time of the day, in the right sequence and with the right combination. E.g.
- Salads and fruits to be eaten 20-30 min before meal.
- Water to be consumed 20 -30 min before meal or after the meal.
- Dinner shall be taken before 7 PM. Avoid sweets at dinner.
- Hydration– Drink approx. 3-4 liter of water per day. This will provide natural sheen and moisture to hair.
- Head Massage- Take out time every 2-3 days to massage your hair with good head massage oil like Bhringraj oil. It nourishes and moisturizes your hair. After using Bhringraj oil, wash your hair after a gap of 30-45 min.
- Use mild Sulfate and Paraben free Shampoo and Conditioner.. It's advisable to use oil that’s suitable for you like bhringraj oil, coconut oil before shampoo.
- Last but not the least, keep yourself stress-free and happy which will reflect in the looks of your hair, and massaging with bhringraj oil is the best way to relieve your stress.
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