(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) It is commonplace to hear people in the sultanate complain of severe hair fall. More common is the assumption that the chlorine-treated water available here is responsible for this damage.
But hair experts in Muscat, who have their hands full with such cases, claim otherwise. According to them, following an unhealthy lifestyle, poor eating habits and ill health are the major contributing factors to hair loss.
Unfortunately, they feel that misinformation and hearsay often prevent many from getting to the root of the problem.
Does treated water cause hair fall?
For many experts, this is still debatable. While some claim that treated water clogs the scalp and prevents regeneration of the cells, others feel that the problem of water is ''just the tip of the ice berg''.
''People find it very convenient to blame the water or the climate. Yes, we live in a dry climate and living in air-conditioned rooms does dry our scalp. But most parts of the world receive treated water today, so one cannot really assume that it is the only factor responsible for hair fall in Oman,'' argues Mini Padikkal, dietician at Atlas Medical Centre.
Dr Maria Veiga, dermatologist and cosmetologist at Kaya Skin Clinic, Oman, also admits that she's found her patients complain about the water here, a time-too-many. ''This grouse is common among people living in Gulf countries, but there is nothing yet to establish that hard water could actually cause hair fall. Generally, most cases of hair loss are hereditary... we call it androgenetic.
''But there are so many other factors that contribute to hair fall too; these include hormonal imbalance, menopause and thyroid deficiency among women, poor diet, lack of iron, excess stress, side-effects of medicines and long intervals between meals,'' Dr Maria says. Another condition that has become very common among the women here is the polycystic ovary syndrome. ''PCOS, which also causes massive hair loss, is again a result of being overweight and following a bad lifestyle,'' says Mini.
Always investigate for illness/deficiencies
Nutritionist Monique Helou believes that rapid hair fall is usually a symptom or sign of something wrong with your body. ''You need to first investigate and make sure that you are fine before claiming that it's natural hair fall or blaming it on the water,'' she says, adding, For instance, if the hair fall is sudden, and you are also simultaneously gaining weight, one should immediately check for hypothyroidism.''
Aromatherapist Daksha Shah, who provides herbal remedies for hair fall at her spa in Shatti al Qurum, also believes that a complete analysis of one's condition is a must before starting any kind of treatment. ''When a client comes to us complaining of hair fall, we do an analysis of their problem. We sit down with them, try and get an idea of their schedule/routine, study the reasons that could have caused the hair fall,'' says Daksha, adding that more than often, it is their unhealthy lifestyle that triggers their problem. According to Mini, our hair and skin react very differently to our bodily conditions.
''When we follow a poor diet or are really stressed out, we can see the difference in our skin within a week or two; we get dark circles or patches, pimples etc. However, the same result is visible in our hair only a month or two later. ''This is why most people fail to identify the actual reason for their hair loss because the actual trigger could have been something that happened in the past,'' she says.
Eating right can strengthen hair roots
''One of the most prominent reasons for hair fall is the lack of a balanced diet. Many people rely on junk food here because it is easy to cook. But junk food contains many deficiencies, like lack of fibre and minerals essential for our hair growth. Another problem is the lack of water intake. Water nourishes our system... drinking at least eight glasses of water daily is a must both for our body and scalp. People, however, prefer drinking cola, concentrated fruit juices and carbonated drinks instead of water. They do not realise that the sugars in these drinks could do great harm,'' says Mini.
Nutritionists believe that incorporating certain foods in one's daily diet can counter the problem to a large extent. Monique suggests eating Omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods for stimulating hair growth. ''I strongly advise eating salmon, sardine and tuna. Flaxseed is also a good source of Omega 3.'' According to Mini, starting the day with an Omega 3-rich breakfast could do wonders to our hair. ''Foods like avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnut can be included in our breakfast. Many people skip their breakfast, but it is a wrong way to go about it,'' she says. Consuming a couple of Indian gooseberries (amla) during the day can also help a good deal.
''Amla contains Vitamin C, which is a proven Ayurvedic medicine for hair growth. Having two or three amlas can support your hair. Vitamin C is not only good for your scalp, it also supports circulation of blood. It needs to be supplied to our body,'' Mini says. According to her, good quality protein available in lentils and Vitamin A-rich foods like spinach are also great for the hair.
Currently, clinics like Kaya and EMC provide treatments like mesotherapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP) to help contain hair fall. ''But if the hair fall is genetic, the person will ultimately lose his/her hair, we cannot stop it. Such treatments can only delay the hair fall,'' Dr Maria clarifies, adding, ''But we always supplement our treatment with the right kind of nutrition. Nutrition is very important fo