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Looking good: Hair

If someone ever called you a deadhead, he was not far from truth. Hair is made up of dead layer of keratin (a type of protein) — the quantity and quality of which largely depends on your genetic make-up and overall health.

fashion and trends Updated: Jul 10, 2010 23:25 IST
Shehla Agarwal

If someone ever called you a deadhead, he was not far from truth. Hair is made up of dead layer of keratin (a type of protein) — the quantity and quality of which largely depends on your genetic make-up and overall health.

Your genetic make-up dictates the texture, thickness and the length to which your hair will eventually grow. Simply put, if you want knee length hair but you don’t have the genes for it, your hair will not grow beyond the fixed length dictated by your genes.

Hair growth is cyclical in nature, with each hair going through its individual stages of growth, rest and fall. In the growth phase called Anagen, hair grows at the rate of 1 cm a month. The duration of the growth phase varies for different body parts. For example, in men, it ranges between two and five years for the head but 4-14 weeks for facial hair.

Next comes the Catagen stage, which has a short span of two to three weeks. The final phase is Telogen or the resting stage, which lasts for three months after which hair fall and are replaced by new growth.

At any given time, 13 per cent of hair is in the Telogen phase, which means losing about 100 hair a day is normal. In humid weather, however, 20-25 per cent hair gets into the Telogen phase, accelerating fall. The hair cycle, however, returns to normal after October.

Stop the fall

Keeping hair clean prevents unnecessary fall by reducing scalp infections such as dandruff. Shampooing does not increase fall. Washed hair absorbs water and becomes heavy, prompting hair that was meant to fall in the course of the day come off all at once.

To prevent hair fall, dab your hair dry after a wash. Since combing wet hair increases breakages, untangle hair with your fingers and dry before combing. Don’t unnecessary cause your hair stress by vigorous brushing, using heavy hair ornaments or pulling it back tight.

Apart from stress, other factors that add to fall are childbirth, deficiencies such as anaemia, crash diets, infections such as typhoid, and some treatments such as chemotherapy.

Dr Shehla Agarwal is a dermatologist and director of Mehak Skin Clinic, Sarvodaya Enclave