Updated: Feb 17
I often hear, “Doctor,
I really take care of my hair. But still I have hair fall. I don’t understand this.
I eat lot of nuts and salads. But I still have dull skin and hair.
I exercise regularly and follow a great lifestyle; still I do not seem to feel healthy and energetic.
I oil my hair regularly, but I still have hair fall
I thought my hair fall is due to the water and I started using drinking water to wash my hair. But still my hair is thinning and becoming dry and rough
I make sure to moisturize my skin, but it still looks aged and lined.
Why do we have hairfall?
My one answer to all these concerns: Hair and skin care is not skin-deep. It is much more than that. Your hair and skin is actually the mirror of your overall health.
For example, hair is considered as a byproduct/end product of the metabolism of the Asthi dhathu (the skeletal system). This means that only when the metabolism of various other systems of your body is working to their optimum, you can have good hair and skin.
Only when there is abundant water in the river, the cascading waterfall looks beautiful, spectacular and full of vitality. You cannot do anything about a weak and poor waterfall, apart from addressing the lack of water in the river.
Most often, a consultation for hair fall takes the longest time than any other, because the root of the issue is mostly deep within.
Healthy hair does not grow on an unhealthy body. The health and luster of your hair and skin is an indicator of overall tissue health. The goal of great hair and skin can be achieved only when we start working from inward to outward.
So, it is absolutely important to look deep in to other areas of life, which are seemingly not connected to hair and skin care. If we address these issues, some of which are a part of our constitution and some which are developed due to lifestyle unsuitable for us, we are automatically close to great hair and skin.
Let us consider the following. While answering them, say yes if you think it is having been there consistently over a long period of your life (I have always been/felt like this) and also if you have been feeling it more recently (never had/felt this before, but happening more often now)
Excess thinking and worrying
Nervousness, anxiety, panic, fear, feet
Stiffness in the neck and other joints
Twitches and tics in the eyes and lips
Darkening of skin, dry and rough patchy skin
Sudden spasms and pain in the muscles
Bony pain and creaking sound in the joints
Dislike of cold and wind
Difficulty tolerating loud noises
Light, interrupted sleep
Dry or chapped skin
constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools
low body weight or varying body weight
dislike of cold and wind
difficulty tolerating loud noises
Irregular periods/scanty flow
Hard, brittle, rough and cracked nails
Dry, rough and coarse hair which tangles easily
Skin wrinkles showing up prematurely
Irregular/variable digestion and appetite: excessive hunger on one day and loss of appetite on another
Adore heat and feel ‘active’ after getting sun
Dry and lusterless skin
Eyes become dull very quickly.
Teeth and gum problems often, teeth sensitive to cold
Full of enthusiasm while starting something, which exhausts very quickly. Working in spurts and bursts than consistently
Very active, sometimes restless, but low stamina
React quickly to climatic change.
Excessive use of gadgets for work or entertainment
Easily exhausted and irritable
Dark circles under the eyes and general darkening of complexion
If your answer is yes for most of the above, some of the following changes may help you towards better health and well-being for your body and mind.
Food should be well cooked and warm
Food should be consumed on time
Cooked food is better than raw. Too much raw food like cold salads, should be avoided especially in the morning and evening
Choose fruits which are naturally sweet and sour like banana, avocado, melons, mangoes, coconut, oranges, plums, cherries, grapes, lemons, figs, dates etc.
Though fruits are good for you, a fruit-only diet is not suitable
Natural sour foods like lemon and oranges are suitable, but avoid sour curd, vinegar, pickles and overly fermented food like old dosa/idli batter/ alcohol. Sweet wines in small quantities are better for you than beer or hard liquor.
Spices like fresh ginger, cumin, ajwain, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, garlic are useful. Avoid green chillies.
Over eating or heavy foods will quickly lead to digestive problems
Though salt is good for you, use it in cooked food moderately, do not consume fried salty foods
Vegetables like green beans, okra, radish, turnip, sweet potatoes, onion
Whole grains like rice, wheat are suitable more than oats and millets. The grains should be well cooked with butter/ghee/oil.
Bread and processed food like noodles, canned food and food items made with maida/all purpose flour are not suitable. Drying foods like biscuits, chips, khakra, popcorn, crackers should be avoided.
Dairy products are suitable, but not in cold form. Warm milk can be consumed with cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric and unrefined sugar
Moong dal is better than Tuvar dal, Rajma and Chana. When other dals are used, cook with turmeric, cumin, pepper, hing or coriander
Almond is the best nut for you. Soak them overnight and remove the skin and eat in the morning. Pumpkin seeds are good too. All other nuts should be consumed moderately.
Fats and oils should be a part of your regular diet. Choose the oil which you are habituated to, as your family diet, than choosing new oils like olive oil. (They may be a healthy option in themselves, but your body may not be able to digest). Take cow’s ghee with rice, wheat and pulses. Moderate use of oil and ghee in all forms except deep fried is beneficial to you.
Well cooked chicken, goat meat, fresh fish and eggs are suitable
Frozen items like ice cream should be consumed rarely
Choose nourishing drinks and warm drinks over aerated drinks
Stimulant drinks like coffee, tea are not suitable and should be taken rarely and always with milk. Lifestyle
Avoid multitasking, bring in more routine and consistency
Spend time to organize your day at home and work
Choose warmth over cold wherever and whenever possible
Choose calmness and serene over loud and harsh. Ex. While listening to music
Room temperature is better than AC environment
Develop a habit of applying oil on head and body at least twice a week, if not more. Seasame oil based oils are best suited for you.
Learn relaxation techniques and meditate regularly even if it is for 5 mins.
Remember to replenish your energy with at least 7-8 hours of sleep
Bring in discipline in food, exercise, sleep and work
Smoking is best avoided
Avoid frequent changes in work, routine, place and timings. Favour stability vs excitement.
Avoid rigorous and excessive exercise. Choose light, slow but regular exercise like short strolls, yogic stretches, and learn breathing techniques
An afternoon nap of 10-15 minutes will help you avoid exhaustion
Take deep breaths in between tasks and avoid rush
Accept and begin to love the complexion, colour, texture, nature of your hair and skin. Take loving care of it rather than build anxiety trying to change it with curlers, straighteners, hair dryers, chemical peeling, and bleaching. Indulge rarely and replenish and nourish without fail. Healthy and nourished skin and hair will always glow.
Avoid chemical shampoos, perpetual use of hair gels, hair dyes and hair sprays.
Make your house and work place soothing with gentle, soothing music, colours, art and fragrant smells
Avoid excessive partying, late nights and if you indulge, compensate with soothing and relaxing activities
A gentle pace with less hurry and more awareness is the recipe Last, but not the least, in spite of our knowledge of good and bad, we will indulge sometimes (this is called pragnaparadha in Ayurveda). Have a good time, but do not feel guilty and depressed. Quickly take remedial measures
As some of you may have guessed, we mostly discussed about Vatha related symptoms, constitution, food and lifestyle today.
Vatha is the driving force of the other doshas and is mostly responsible for all aspects of health and disease.
So, by balancing Vatha through some small, but powerful changes, we have taken a big step towards a healthy mind and body. Great hair and skin is a given in a healthy body.
A note of caution: These are general suggestions to suit people with the above mentioned symptoms. Adopt these guidelines suitably after contemplation. You know your body better than anyone. If needed, take the help of your Ayurvedic doctor to customize the most suitable diet and lifestyle for you to enjoy a healthy mind and body. Your Vaidya may also suggest some herbs to balance the doshas. Be rest assured, that your hair and skin care regimen begins here.