Excuse me, are you also freaking out over excess hair fall in monsoon?
Welcome to the club
Every time I bathe, I relive the shower scene from Psycho. What makes me shriek is not a murderer with a knife but the amount of hair I’ve lost. Like Hansel and Gretel, I leave a trail wherever I go, marking my territory with strands of hair. My special power is knowing that the rains are around the corner because of my hair fall in monsoon.
When you’re shedding more hair than your dog, you know you have a problem.
But Dr Rigvita Yadav, a senior consultant trichologist at Jean-Claude Biguine’s Trica hair clinic, says it’s normal to lose an average of 50 to 100 strands of hair in a day.
When it comes to hair fall in monsoon, though, it can increase up to 250 strands according to Dr Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics. She says that most people experience an almost 30% increase in hair fall. So, sadly, it seems like I’m not alone here.
But why does this happen, and how do I stop my cat from trying to eat Harshita the hairball forming on my pillow at the end of the day? For starters, cover your head if you plan on taking that long romantic walk through the rain.
Why am I losing so much hair right now?
Monica Geller was right. It’s the humidity. Kapoor explains that the high moisture content in the air around us makes hair strands absorb more hydrogen and swell up. This makes our hair brittle and frizzy and more prone to breakage.
She adds that contrary to popular belief, the humidity can cause a dry scalp, as opposed to an oily scalp, by robbing it of natural oils, leaving our roots weaker.
Hair dampness and increased moisture content overall make our scalp a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which can cause immense itching, redness and scalp infections.
Repeat after me — hair fall is natural. It’s the amount falling that we should keep an eye on. You can’t stop it altogether, but there are ways in which we can bring it under control.
Reining in your hair fall in monsoon
Take a break from fancy hairdos
Our instinct to get the hair out of our sweaty faces is to tie it up. But tight ponytails, braids and other complicated hairstyles, when your hair is already prone to more breakage, will only exacerbate your problem.
Kapoor suggests getting creative with your hair and opting for more accessories. “The old scarf in your closet can be turned into a stylish head wrap to match your outfit. Hair accessories will also cover up the bad hair day.”
You can try a loose front-row braid if you want to get your fringe off your forehead
Less is more when it comes to shampooing
As much as you’d want to shampoo away your monsoon hair woes, you have to resist. Overwashing your hair will just further dry out your scalp. Put 2-3 days between your washes and use a nourishing conditioner to look after your ends.
“Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner according to your hair type will help prevent problems like dandruff and frizzy hair. A conditioner will give the added boost of moisture and nourishment to the hair strands, prevent their breakage, prevent tangled locks, and make the hair silky and smooth,” says Kapoor.
Yadav adds that if you have picked up a scalp infection or dandruff during this time, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Use a medicated shampoo to avoid adding to any hair fall in monsoon. “Remember to leave the shampoo on the scalp for three to four minutes before rinsing it off. This helps the shampoo work its magic. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide or ketoconazole, and antifungal ingredients.”
If your hair does get wet in-between washes because of the rain, put down the hairdryer and pick up a microfibre cloth or towel. Gently press down to soak up the water from your hair. A hairdryer will only further damage already weak hair, says Kapoor. Let your hair naturally air dry.
Pamper yourself with a DIY
We never really needed an excuse for a relaxing hot oil champi from Mama, but now we have one. Tell her it’s doctor-prescribed. Add a hot oil massage to your pre-wash routine once or twice weekly. Kapoor explains, “It will not only nourish your scalp but also increase the circulation and keep the hair healthy and shiny. Let the oil sit in the hair for 2-3 hours and then wash with a mild shampoo.”
Depending on the needs of your scalp, you can whip up an exfoliating and clarifying hair mask. Aloe vera gel is another great ingredient to try which is easy to use and very cooling on your scalp. It’s aloe vera’s antimicrobial properties that we want to soak up.
“You can apply the gel to your scalp two hours before washing the hair or mix some aloe vera gel with your hair oil or shampoo to get maximum benefits out of it.”
Feed your hair the right diet
Yadav and Kapoor both concur that what we eat reflects the health of our skin, hair and nails. If our diet is poor in essential nutrients or imbalanced, our hair follicle is undernourished, and this exacerbates hair loss.
Include natural sources of protein such as soy, egg whites, lean meats, pulses, and sprouts in your daily diet. Go for food rich in vitamin B12 and zinc – whole grain cereals, fish, and dairy products. Vitamin B12 helps produce red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth, while zinc helps with the growth and repair of hair tissue.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, flaxseeds, avocados, walnuts and almonds, help improve scalp and shaft health. Omega-3 helps deal with damaged and brittle hair and also fights dryness of the scalp. Sprouts are rich in vitamin E, potassium and iron and effective in bringing the lustre back to the hair in no time at all.
Cut down on caffeine which dehydrates the scalp; instead, make sure you’re drinking 8-12 glasses of water every day.
Give yourself and your hair some rest
I never believed it, but stress-induced hair fall is real. Worrying about how much hair fall you have in monsoon will only make it fall more.
“In most cases, hair fall in monsoons is a temporary phase and you need not get tense thinking about it,” says Kapoor.
“Smile more and worry less. Exercise for at least 30 to 40 minutes every day. And as far as stress management is concerned, give yoga and meditation a go,” advises Yadav.
Find avenues to channel your stress, take up meditation and even if it’s just for 10 minutes, take that time in the day to relax. We can’t hit the gym right now, but multiple mobile apps can be good stand-ins for your trainer, help you with your fitness goals and combat stress.