INTERVIEWEE - Dr. Akshay Batra ,Trichologist and homeopathic doctor

Since ancient times, beautiful hair has been associated with good looks, power and self esteem in both men and women. Therefore, when the crowning glory starts to shed or become scanty, panic buttons start getting pushed and visits to doctors, naturopaths or dieticians start becoming the norm.

Specialists in the treatment of hair and scalp problems are Trichologists who diagnose the causes of hair fall, hair breakage, hair thinning, miniaturization of hair, diseases of the scalp and treat according to cause.  Trichology is the branch of dermatology that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp.

India’s leading homeopathic healthcare corporate Dr. Batra's Positive Health Clinic is the world's largest chain of homeopathic clinics, conceptualized by founder-chairman Dr. Mukesh Batra, has been operating in Dubai since 2016.  Trichologist and homeopathic doctor Dr. Akshay Batra (son of the founder and vice-chairman & MD) speaks to Shilpa Jasani about the causes of hair fall and what steps can be taken to contain the problem.

“We have been treating hair issues since many years now and in our surveys we have found is that hair loss are getting a decade younger. By that I mean that initially the hair loss we saw in the 30s, is now observed in the 20s. So now a lot of young people are coming in for treatment.  There are many reasons for this – a common problem is genetic. But why is this gene getting unlocked earlier?  There are multiple reasons for this – primary being environment and diet. Iron deficiency is one reason particularly in women loosing hair. The other reason is an underperforming thyroid or poly-cystic ovaries, both again more applicable in women and even young girls. Hair is the mirror of your health. The other set of reasons are environmental and the hair products that are being used with increasing frequency – like gels, curling or straightening irons damage the hair follicle.  The rampant use of cosmetics and self-styling machines contribute to hairfall and hair loss at an early age.”

Replying to a question that the hair one sees on every part of the body contains dead cells. Tiny blood vessels at the base of every follicle feed the hair root to keep it growing. But once the hair is at the skin's surface, the cells within the strand of hair aren't alive anymore, why then should any of the above factors or external applications affect hair loss? Dr. Akshay replied: “If we say that the hair that we can see is not living, why then do we loose hair during chemotherapy?

The hair that you see is the external part that is dead, but the hair root or hair bulb is one of the fastest multiplying cells in the body. Therefore, if we don’t nourish the hair well, it will fall.  So the dead part is what we see outside, but underneath the scalp they are living and multiplying extremely rapidly, which is why they need to be nourished. The hair has cuticles which are arranged on top of each other.  When we use chemicals, they reach the hair root which damages the hair.”

On the question that all the above factors like styling products or chemicals are here to stay and what can one do to reduce hairfall in such a situation, Dr. Akshay emphasized: “Ideally prevention is better than cure.  But the other thing that everyone could do is eat right – get enough iron, zinc and protein, cut the junk or avoid crash dieting.  Also, one can massage the scalp in a circular fashion everyday with the fingertips.  This should be a gentle rather than rigorous massage, which increases the blood circulation to the roots and should be done for 3-5 minutes a day. Avoid using chemicals in the hair – so if you must use a dye, use an ammonia-free dye. The shampoo should be an organic and natural shampoo.  Remember, hairfall is not a cosmetic but medical problem. Consult a doctor rather than resorting to stop-gap parlour treatments or off-the-shelf products.”

Giving his opinion about homeopathy versus western medicine, Dr. Akshay said: “My philosophy is no pathy is good or bad – they all have their benefits.  However, while allopathy can treat hairloss, it comes with its published and known side effects.  Homeopathy does not have these published and known side effects. Western medicine can treat you, but homeopathy can treat you safer.  If one buys a box of Minoxidil or Propecia which is the standard treatment for hairloss, it comes with its statutory warning or side effects. While Homeopathy looks at the hairloss problems holistically – we put the patients through an extensive questionnaire – to ascertain the reason behind the hairfall and then treat the cause rather than the symptom.  So, we would treat the thyroid, anemia or PCOD or stress. Since homeopathy is a mind-body holistic system, it works extremely well for hairloss.”

Homeopathy has been very helpful in treating alopecia areata, or trichotillomania, (also known as hair pulling disorder) or Rapunzel-syndrome (hair eating syndrome), post-partum hairloss or hair loss due to dieting, or conditions like malaria. In male pattern hairloss, if the hair has thinned due to anemia or thyroid, there are good chances of regaining hair.  In purely genetic cases, the success rates would be 50% - 60%, explained Dr. Akshay.

Tips to prevent hairloss

  • Prevention is better than cure
  • Eat healthy – especially consume enough iron, zinc and protein like dates, spinach, tofu, soya, eggs, green tea
  • Keep chemicals to the minimum
  • For blow drying – keep the dryer 6 inches away from hair
  • Don’t comb wet hair, prefer to towel dry.
  • Use brush or wide-tooth comb
  • Shampoo hair after swimming to wash chlorine off
  • Hairloss is a medical problem, and not a cosmetic condition

More Interviews