An expert’s guide on how to prevent hair fall and reduce breakage

Reviewed by Dr Rashmi Shetty

Aesthetic Dermatologist

Written by Urvi DalalJan 22, 2021

If you have ever experienced hair fall, thinning, and breakage problems, then we don’t need to tell you just how stressful these can be. Everything, from the hair care products you use to stress, erratic lifestyle and lack of nutrition, is to be blamed for this.

While it is completely normal to lose about 50-100 strands of hair a day, the real problem starts when you are either losing a lot more hair or if your hair isn’t growing back at the same rate. But before your brain starts spiralling into several negative scenarios, hear us out. We got in touch with dermatologist Dr. Rashmi Shetty for her expert advice on dealing with hair fall.

Read on as Dr Shetty shares some valuable insights on the difference between hair fall, thinning and breakage, along with charting out the various causes and possible treatments to this common problem. Let’s begin…

Difference between hair fall, thinning and breakage

To deal with these hair problems, it is important to first figure out the difference between hair fall, thinning and breakage. Once you know the problem you’ve got, dealing with it becomes a lot easier. “Hair fall is when you have hair shedding right from the root of your hair. If you have just a few strands falling every day, then it is hair fall, but if you are losing a lot of hair strands, then it is called hair shedding,” she explains.

“Hair breakage, on the other hand, means your hair simply breaks from just about anywhere and has more to do with hair texture than the root itself. The main cause of breakage is lack of hydration and the health of your cuticle. Your hairstyling habits, nutrition deficiencies such as lack of fatty acids and proteins or simply having curly hair can all cause breakage”, says Dr Shetty.

Dealing with hair breakage is relatively simple. Ensure that you include more fatty acids, hair oil and hydrating treatments in your hair care routine to deliver moisture and prevent breakage.

Cause of hair fall

While there could be many causes of hair fall, the most common ones include hormonal, nutritional and lifestyle habits. “Hormonal hair fall could be related to an increase in your thyroid hormone, male hormone, prolactin and estrogen. If you have nutritional-related hair fall, it could be due to an iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D deficiency. While lifestyle-related hair loss could simply be reasons like tying your hair too tight, indulging in too many chemical treatments, tugging at your hair strands as well as a dirty hair and scalp,” explains Dr Shetty.

Additionally, irregular sleeping schedules and too much stress can also be major contributors to hair loss. Apart from these, several other factors such as pregnancy, menopause and ageing can also cause hair loss, especially in women.

How to tackle hair fall

When dealing with hair fall, it is really important to consume a well-balanced diet, full of the required amount of protein, fats and carbohydrates. “Additionally, it is also important to maintain a proper lifestyle to ensure your circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) is not disturbed. This plays a very important role in ensuring the hormones are balanced. But if you have a jet-setting lifestyle that does not allow you to consume wholesome meals, it is important to ask your doctor to prescribe a few supplements, which will really help you in the long run,” explains Dr Rashmi.

But simply consuming a healthy diet won’t really be very helpful if you do not take good care of your hair. No matter how busy your schedule, following a hair care routine and maintaining scalp hygiene will reduce hair fall to a great extent. “Look for the right hair care products depending on your hair type to provide all-round care. But if you notice other problems like acne with hair fall, pigmentation with hair fall or even gut issues with hair fall, it is best to reach out to your doctor ASAP before the problem worsens and becomes more difficult to deal with,” she advises.

Medical treatments for hair fall

“If even after trying the above-mentioned remedies, you still don’t see an improvement in your hair fall, then maybe it is time to speak to your doctor about the possible medical treatments to deal with it. The doctor may prescribe certain topical creams, ointments, or edible medicines depending on your hair fall condition. These medical treatments could last for a period of three months to a year,” Dr Rashmi reveals.

Some common injectable treatments for hair loss and hair fall are –

Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) – The patients’ own blood is centrifuged to activate the platelet’s growth factors and injected into the scalp.

Mesotherapy – For this treatment, concoctions of a few medicines, vitamins, amino acids and growth factors are injected underneath a layer of the skin called mesoderm.

Progenitor cell therapy – For this one, growth factors are extracted from the dermal tissue and the adipose tissue and injected into the scalp.

Other than this, you can undergo laser hair therapies to stimulate hair growth. Additionally, a milder and popular hair fall treatment is hair oxygen, where high-pressure pure oxygen is used to jet ingredients that are good for hair growth onto your scalp.

Things to avoid to prevent hair loss and breakage

  • At-home derma roller therapies
  • Vigorous head and hair massage while applying hair oil
  • Over shampooing as that can lead to dry hair and breakage
  • Vigorously rubbing your strands against a towel

Supplements for hair fall

As mentioned earlier, supplements can go a long way in preventing hair fall, hair loss and breakage, especially if you are not getting enough nutrition from your food. “When it comes to supplements, it could be anything from a course of multivitamins, antioxidants (to cut the oxidative damage to the hair follicles) to anti-inflammatory (to cut the inflammation along the hair follicle) to iron supplements because your hair is deficient in this,” says Dr Shetty.