The desire to look young & beautiful is human weakness and is as old as the origin of human being himself. The hair is the most important part of personality and the condition of hair can make or break your looks. It is “The Crowning-glory” or an unruly tangle that refuses to do what it’s told. The head is the seat of the five sense organs, and is the most important part of the human body. To protect the head from heat, wind, dust etc., nature has blessed it with smooth skin and abundant dark hair. Premature Graying & Loss of hair as well causing of dandruff have become common disorders these days. It causes a great deal of concern to persons affected by these disorders, especially women who regard good, clean & shining hair, with thick long hair as a sign of beauty.
The hair, are composed of dead cells containing a fibrous protein – keratin, the rate of production of which determines the hair growth. During the growing phase of a hair the hair-root is firmly enclosed by a live tissue called bulb which supplies the hair with keratin. Hair growing on the scalp is the type of terminal hair that is thicker, longer and is pigmented with a pigment present in the hair shaft – Red or Black Melanin, produced by cells called melanocytes at the base of the hair follicle. If these cells do not receive any pigment, the cortex of each hair becomes transparent and the resulting hair appears white. At the side of each follicle, there is a sebacious gland which secretes sebum, necessary for lubricating the hair and protecting the scalp from localised fungal or bacterial infections.
Hair is a very delicate structure so for giving it regular care and attention we have to know more about it. Premature Graying, Falling, Dandruff & Thinning of hair, Fungal & Bacterial Infections of the scalp, baldness, splitting and slow growth of hair are the main hair problems. The most important cause of hair problems is inadequate nutrition. There may also be psychological causes like excitement, anger, passion, mental strain etc. for various hair problems. People who suffer from chronic cold are also liable to contract hair diseases. Washing of hair with warm water, excessive chemical shampooing, using chemical hair colours/dyes are also major factors responsible for premature graying, falling, splitting, brittling & thinning of hair.
Most hair disorders appear to be more cosmetic. According to physicians:
1. Brittling of hair is usually due to excessive shampooing, combing or blow drying.
2. Very dry hair is often the result of excessive use of heated rollers or curling irons or frequent perming, tinting or bleaching.
3. Similarly, the use of present day chemical shampoos is the foremost cause of most hair disorders, destroying the natural nutritive & defence system of hair roots resulting to premature falling & graying of hair and ageing of outer skin.
4. About Dandruff, researchers believe dandruff may be caused by a yeast like fungus on your scalp, though they haven’t figured out a foolproof way to beat it. A person’s entire body surface continuously sheds dead skin cells. The skin itself sheds every twenty-four days. Dandruff, the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp at an excessive rate, is the result of the normal growing process of the skin cells of the scalp.
Excessive use of hairsprays & gels, improper use of hair-coloring products or excessive use of electric hair curlers, cold weather & dry indoor heating, tight fitting hats and scarves, infrequent shampooing of the hair or inadequate rinsing, stress, anxiety & tension, infections etc., are the normal causes for hair disorders besides various other physical, physiological or hereditary causes. The normal life span for each hair is from three to six years. Each hair grows in a hair cycle that can be divided into three stages: the growing stage (Anacin) lasting from two to six years, the partial degeneration stage (Catalan) lasting between 10 and 14 days, and finally the resting phase (Telogen) during which time the hair is shed and there is an involution of the hair follicles lasting about one hundred days. It is very important to have day to day care given to hair and scalp to maintain its health and to increase its beauty. This routine includes brushing, combing, cutting, shampooing, massaging and application of hair dressing/lotion.
In Ayurvedic texts, number of herbs are described to provide adequate nutrition to hair and promote their growth, keep them soft & silken and do not allow them to turn grey at an early age. Henna leaves have widely been described as wonderful colouring, conditioning, soothing, anti-fungal & antibiotic agent, due to their active principle – Lawsone. The Egyptians were using Henna for their hair beauty & eradication of hair disorders. Many other herbs like Haritaki, Amalaki, Vibhitaka, Karanj-beej, Mandukparni, Bhringraj, Shikakai, Neelkamal, Chameli provide an instant shine to hair, besides stimulating the movement of nutrients to the bulb of the hair, or follicle, which feeds the hair. Upon regular usage, they protect hair from premature graying & falling and checks dandruff, thinning, roughness, slow growth, scalp-infections, splitting of hair & non-specific baldness.