Q: My 16-year-old daughter is suffering from severe hairfall. I have read a bit about how Ayurveda might have a cure or can manage this. Can you help?

Each individual hair shaft is formed inside a hair follicle, which is a tiny factory that works continuously. Each hair shaft grows generally between three and seven years, without interruption. During this time, it will be shampooed, conditioned, cut, blown dry, exposed to sun and wind, coloured or bleached. None of these affects the growth of the hair in the hair bulb, even though some may seriously damage the hair shaft.

Finally, the hair shaft naturally falls out after 3-7 years. This is the hair cycle. It is the length of this growth phase that decides the length of the hair. Since human hairs grow at a rate of roughly 1cm a month, after one year it will be 12cm long. After five years it will be 60cm long. Waist-length hair of 80cm-90cm long will have taken about seven years to grow. Shoulder-length hair will have taken only about three years. Hair may grow more quickly in winter than in summer. The follicle rests for a little while, and then starts to produce yet another new hair. Each follicle can produce approximately 20 new hair shafts.

Ayurveda is the study of life; it explains the internal workings of organisms and how they interact with the world around them. There are a few Ayurvedic hair tonics which could help.

A variety of factors can affect the hair growth cycle and cause temporary or permanent hair loss, including exposure to chemicals, hormonal and nutritional factors, thyroid disease, generalised or local skin disease, and stress. Take your daughter to an Ayurveda doctor for a prompt diagnosis and for a prescription of tonics that are specifically suited for her condition.

Dr VL Shyam is an award-winning Ayurveda practitioner based in Dubai. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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