Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai resident Sophie O’Brien noticed that she was suffering from hair loss about 18 months ago.

“I noticed hair fall that gradually increased, especially when I washed my hair,” says O’Brien. “I started getting a very sensitive scalp and my ponytail had almost halved. I went to my GP and we found that my ferritin levels were low. I had intravenous iron for five weeks to build up my iron stores and now take an iron supplement daily.”

Now experts say that you only have to look at your hair brush to see that it’s natural to lose a certain amount of hair on a daily basis. But exactly how much is normal? 

“The average hair loss is 75-125 hairs, however, some individuals see less and some more,” says Michael Ryan from Dubaihairdoctor.com. “Most people subconsciously know what their usual amount is. You can raise an eyebrow when you see more than usual at the bottom of the shower. If this continues for six to eight weeks, then you should seek advice.” 

Causes of hair loss

Indeed, Dr Sanjay Parashar, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation, says there are many different reasons for hair loss. 

“Hair loss due to breaking is mostly caused by external factors such as excessive dryness, excessive heat with the use of blow dryers, use of chemicals and mechanical breakage due to tight pulling of hair,” he explains. “On the other hand, more worrying is hair loss due to loss of the hair root. The most common causes in women include nutritional reasons, lack of iron and protein in the body and hormonal reasons, such as poor thyroid hormones.” 

For men, however, while some of the reasons for hair loss are similar, there are other causes as well. Dr Azmet Merchant, Managing Director of Japan Emirates Trading, distributor for popular hair care brand Kaminomoto, says, “The majority of men show signs of thinning hair and balding as they age, due to the hormone DHT binding with androgen receptors on the hair follicle. This stops normal growth of hair by preventing essential nutrients from reaching the hair follicles through the surrounding capillaries and starving it.” 

Merchant’s advice to anyone suffering from hair loss is to use the right hair products. Taking medication required to control diseases or conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism is also a must. In fact, visiting a doctor should be your first step when encountering hair loss, as even if the cause is hormonal imbalance, it could just be one of many. 

Underlying causes

Dr Nahar Al Baroodi, Specialist Endocrinologist, Mediclinic Dubai Mall, says, “Hair loss may accompany several endocrine disorders, including hypopituitarism, hypothyreosis, hypoparathyroidism, diabetes mellitus, growth hormone deficiency and polycystic ovary syndrome. In some cases, an endocrine disorder may be suspected based on dermatological findings during hair loss.”

While it is good to be given a definitive answer, there might be times when no underlying causes can be found, but help remains available. 
“The dry climate in the Gulf and exposure to air conditioners the whole day can contribute towards drying out the hair and lead to rough, dull hair that is prone to breakage,” says Krishan Chutani, CEO, Dabur International. “The water also has a high hardness value and can contribute to hair fall. Using natural hair creams such as Vatika hair cream ensures that hair remains moisturised during the day. This strengthens the hair and can give you soft, shiny hair.” In a final bid for glossy healthy locks, a water filter is also an option. Danielle Marzella, Founder of Transition Hair Solutions and an expert in CNC by Cesare Ragazzi, a non-surgical hair replacement system available at Pastels Salon, says, “If the water in your area is hard, it can sometimes cause hair breakage. This is because hard water can dry hair out quicker. People have purchased water filters for this reason and reported positive results.”

However, for those that have tried everything to no avail, there remains hope. “Just as everyone’s hair loss situation is different, so are the solutions,” says Marzella. “There are a lot of options, from medical solutions such as hair transplantation to Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments. On the non-surgical side, there are custom 3D scalp and hair prosthetics, trichological treatments, wigs or cosmetic camouflaging, to name a few.”