I’m a 12-year-old girl suffering from severe dandruff and hairfall. Please suggest some tips.

Our skin constantly renews itself. Dead cells from the scalp fall off as new cells form beneath them. A fat-eating, yeast-like fungus called malassezia lives on the scalps of most healthy adults without causing problems.

But sometimes it grows out of control, feeding on the oils secreted by your hair follicles and causing irritation that leads to increased cell turnover. The result is a large number of dead skin cells which clump together making them appear white and flaky. Exactly what causes an overgrowth of these organisms isn’t known, although increased oil production, hormonal fluctuations, stress, illness, a suppressed immune system, infrequent shampooing and extra sensitivity to the malassezia fungus may contribute to the development of dandruff. If you are tired of experimenting on anti-dandruff shampoos, try using Thriphala choornam mixed with water for scalp wash. Thriphala can work on reducing the skin cell formation and by reducing fungus activity. You may also try the following ayurvedic remedies:

✱ Prior to shampooing or head bath, massage the scalp with a paste of crushed fenugreek seeds and sour curd. Leave for 15-20 minutes and wash with the shampoos.

✱ Hot oil massage and wrap the hair with warm towel is good for dandruff.

✱ Coconut oil boiled with curry leaves or small onions and cooled is a very good recipe for dandruff control.

✱ Take a teaspoon of thriphala powder internally 
at bedtime mixed with honey.

If you’ve tried these home remedies faithfully 
for 3-4 weeks and there’s still a dusting of dandruff on your shoulders, talk to your doctor. Your dandruff may be due to other skin conditions. 
You may need a prescription treatment.

Most people lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. These hairs are replaced. This amount of hair loss is totally normal and no cause for worry. If you’re losing more than that and don’t know what’s causing it, talk to your doctor. Hair loss in teenagers can happen for several reasons. The first step to remedying teenage hair loss is to discover the cause of the problem. Mechanical causes include extreme hair care treatment, such as excessive hair drying, curling or other heat treatments, bleach treatments, teasing, tight hairstyles, and pulling of hair, such as pony tails. Discontinuing the use of these treatments will revoke this hair loss.

A wholesome diet, rich in proteins, calcium and iron, will help reduce or prevent hair loss. Green, leafy vegetables are good mineral sources. Eat plenty of iron-rich foods, like whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates and raisins.

Dr VL Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner