I’m a 15-year-old girl and have been experiencing severe hair loss to the point where I’m losing handfuls of hair each day. I have tried applying different oils to my hair but with no result.

It’s normal for people to switch hair oils as soon as they notice severe hairfall. But that often does not stop hairfall.

The roots of hairs in the early stages of the rest phase may end up being pulled out before they are ready to fall out on their own after their growth lifecycle, especially if the hair is massaged or washed more energetically than usual. This is why hair fall is noticed for 2-3 days after a vigorous oil massage or change in shampooing or conditioning regime, or a move to new brushes. What you need to realise is that these weak hairs will surely fall off irrespective of using the best hair oils. Some of us even avoid washing the scalp for fear of losing hair. However, skipping a shampoo will not help your weak hairs to remain on your scalp.

Hair loss in teenagers can happen for several reasons. The first step to remedying teenage hair loss is to find the cause of the problem. Mechanical causes include extreme hair care treatment, such as excessive use of hairdryers, curling or other heat treatments, bleach treatments and tight hairstyles such as ponytails. Scalp fungal manifestations can cause hair to be lost in patches, hair to be broken, and the scalp to be affected. Other causes can be related to hormone problems or conditions such as alopecia areata.

Remember, inadequate nutrition is the second most common cause of hair fall and sensible nutrition helps hair to re-grow. 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 liver, wholegrain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates and raisins.

To encourage hair growth, adhere to a diet rich in protein. Good sources of protein are low-fat cheese, eggs, fish and beans. Another important nutrient for hair health, silica, is found in the outer coverings of potatoes, green and red peppers, cucumbers and bean sprouts. Vitamin E is important for healthy hair growth; eat avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil on a regular basis. Reduce salt in your diet; include a teaspoon of ghee in your diet.

Also read: When is a shampoo more than just a shampoo

Intake of ayurveda recipes such as Mahathiktakam ghritham, Tiktakam ghritham, Triphala choornam, Satavari gulam, Chyavanaprasam and external application of oils like Kanjunnyadi, Neelibhringadi and Thriphaladi have proven effects in reducing hair fall. Ayurveda scalp therapies like Thala pothichil and Takra dhara have exceptional effects on harmonising imbalanced pitta, which is the main cause of hairfall. Meet an ayurveda doctor for a consultation.

Dr V L Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner.