It’s the one thing that unites a lot of people in this region – hair issues. From thinning to breakage, we’re no stranger to trouble with our tresses, and over the years we’ve found a multitude of reasons to blame it on, from shower water to extreme temperatures.

For solutions, we spoke to Dr Michael Ryan, who has over 16 years of experience as a trichologist in the UK, Japan and the UAE. He has treated many celebrities and regularly writes white papers and articles for health journals. He says the UAE has one of the highest cases of hair loss he’s come across. But the good news is nutrition and a clean healthy scalp help to both strengthen your hair and prevent hair loss.

He busts some myths related to hair loss, underlying reasons, and offers tips on how to improve your at-home haircare routine.

What plays a bigger role in hair strength – genetics or nutrition?

Both genetics and nutrition – we inherit our hair from our parents and the amount does not change during our lifetime unless there are outside influences such as diet, chemical and mechanical processes, and of course our health.

Can hair loss be reversed?

It depends on the cause of the hair loss. In some cases, it is not possible to reverse, but only slow down. The most important factor is the correct diagnosis. Then keeping the scalp clean, healthy and with a good moisture content through moisturising or oiling.

Where does the UAE rank among regions for hair loss?

The UAE has one of the highest cases of hair loss that I have come across. In the region, the climate is dry and arid, which dehydrates the hair. A lack of Vitamin D, nutritional factors, and drinking water from plastic bottles also seems to have some effect.

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There is also evidence of natural bacteria/microflora that live on the scalp. This is easily rectified by good hygiene and care of the scalp through frequent oiling and shampooing.

Does tap water quality have anything to do with hair loss?

No, I have studied this extensively and even though the water is desalinated – the huge Dubai myth that the water causes hair loss, there is absolutely no evidence to support this.

What are some ways to prevent hair loss and dry hair?

Nutrition and a clean healthy scalp help prevent hair loss and strengthen your hair. One of the preferred ways is to oil and massage the scalp. It is a traditional method that is popular among the regional demographic. Amla hair oil, for instance, has a rich concentration of Vitamin C and other nutrients that – providing there is no underlying health conditions – helps reduce hair fall, scalp issues and provide nourishment for your hair from root to tip.

What are the main differences and types of male and female hair loss?

Male hair loss is usually genetic but not always, so any excess shedding should be checked out. Females can lose their hair for a variety of reasons such as hormonal, nutritional, child birth, thyroid, low iron or vitamin D.

Do you feel haircare for men is usually an afterthought?

Certainly, I have found that men do not oil and shampoo their hair often enough in this region and scalp care is most certainly an afterthought or non-existent in some cases.

Tell us of a few myths related to hair loss.

• Water in Dubai is often blamed for hair loss

• Shampooing too often causes hair loss.

• Cutting hair makes it grow.

• Wearing headgear causes hair loss

A few tips men and women can keep in mind for haircare at home?

Oil your hair daily with a quality product preferably enriched with amla. Eat a mixed diet of protein and complex carbohydrates and do not skip breakfast. Consider adding supplemental support to your diet like iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and B12.

What should be kept in mind when shopping for haircare products?

Ideally look for quality products that have proven ingredients in reasonable quantities and concentrations – these tend to be the more traditional products as they have stood the test of time. New products come and go with a flurry of marketing promotions. Well-respected, traditional brands can be trusted.

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