I don’t know why, but if you held up an ink blot test, that’s my association. Though, I think I need to change my top of mind recall because only a few weeks ago two other girlfriends and myself were sitting back with a glass of wine and we fell into a conversation about how we were all feeling like we were losing our hair. Maybe its a case of young professional stress, or the fact that this winter has dried us all out, but we were all lamenting about seeing a scary amount of strands washing down the drain (not to mention embarrassingly scattered on the floor of our apartments). But what concerned us even more is that if we are starting to lose our hair now, what will our scalps look like in twenty years? And this is not the only time I have been approached by twenty-somethings about diminishing density of our hair, its actually something which bothers many of my younger clients and peers.
Hair Loss: Causes and Solutions
What causes baldness and hair loss? Stress? Malnutrition? Genetics? Well, according to my favorite Ayurvedic doctor (Dr. Vasant Lad), hair loss is a subtle metabolic disorder. Hair, is a by-product of bone and the quality of our manes depends on the healthiness of this tissue. But this is only the beginning of one’s diagnosis. Where we see hair loss also indicates what is happening internally.
Those of us with generalized thinning (especially with front loss and receding hair line) are experiencing excess Pitta (the fire dosha). So it is no wonder that ambitious type A personality are naturally associated with baldness. Individuals with high Pitta in their constitutions may also turn grey prematurely and begin losing their hair earlier than their counterparts. Because heat rises, there is much heat accumulated and passing through the scalp, this heat dried out the hair follicles and makes them weak and brittle. Like with everything from the ecosystem to our own bodies, water and moisture breeds life and vitality while dryness and heat do just the opposite. This is why balancing Pitta and acid and eating a more alkaline diet is beneficial as well as decreasing the inflammation brought on by stress. Applying coconut oil to the scalp is also beneficial as coconut oil is cooling and lubricating. I also personally love how light its texture is making it easy to wash out.
But if we are finding that most of our hair loss is in the top of our heads (localized to the crown), this is due to a Kapha imbalance (earth and water). I find that this occurs with many of my female clients with severe hormone dysfunction as the Kapha dosha governs the hormonal system. While these individuals can opt for a hair oil which stimulate circulation and clears out the earth quality of Kapha, I usually recommend an oil with Bhringaraj. While Bhringaraj is cooling in nature, it is one of Ayurveda’s first go-to remedies for baldness and is fine for all doshas. It dissolves “meda”, which is our fat tissue, and therefore reduces Kapha.
Now, these imbalances can make many forms – whether it is Kapha and hormones or Pitta and liver or the blood system. Like with any beauty ailment, I recommend thinning hair as an early warning sign to internal imbalance and turning it into an opportunity to examine the internal body and our overall health. Our bodies are trying to communicate that there is a disruption in our wellness and the pursuit of healthier hair will also encourage a greater understanding of our total health.
Of course, I know many of us who are anxious about our hair loss are also being a bit overly self-scrutinizing. None of us could see an obvious reduction in hair, and its gonna be a long ways away before we resemble Danny Devito.