Hair fall is a common issue amongst women in the UAE. The combination of water quality (or lack thereof), environmental aggressors such as the heat and humidity and increased work-related stress means a casual running-of-your-fingers-through-your-hair is more scary than sexy.
Quitting work, staying indoors all day, never showering or moving are all options to combat the problem, though none are entirely practical. Instead, we’ve spoken to some of the region’s hair experts for their top tips to keep your tresses in tip-top condition (and on your head).
“If women are experiencing hair fall, my advice would be to talk to a professional first as they’re able to help guide you in the right direction in terms of treatment, particular to you as an individual,” Samantha Goddard, the manager at Reflection Hair & Beauty Centre, Dubai, tells Bazaar. Hair fall is a common concern amongst her clients, she says. “It’s a conversation I have in the salon every day. Though I am always concerned when the women blame the water immediately as the hair fall could be down to other issues also, like their diet or stress levels.” Dr. Shefali Verma, a Medical Director and Partner at the Institute for Biophysical Medicine in Health Care City, agrees. “I see an average of one client a week who complains about hair loss, and the majority complain about the water first. However, I also see a lot of patients with subclinical thyroid deficiencies and the loss of hair is a common symptom. Additionally, the bad diet habits here in the region, which seriously lack nutrients, can lead to nutrient deficiencies as well as a lack of protein which can affect the quality of your hair.”
Dr. Verma suggests a diet that is rich in protein and nutrients to help ward off any further hair loss. “Hair is made of protein so it is essential that we give it what it needs. We need to ensure that we consume a good amount of protein (vegetarians should look to legumes, nuts and quinoa for their fix) such as organic and untreated red meat and poultry, as well as oysters as they’re rich in Zinc which helps to protect the scalp. Walnuts, flaxseeds, Brussels sprouts and salmon are good sources of omega-3 which helps to nourish hair follicles and improve the elasticity of the hair. Plus, nuts have vitamin E, which can be beneficial in preventing damage to the hair from sunlight.” Additionally she recommends “brazil nuts and shrimps which are rich in selenium to help with stimulating new growth, as well as iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains - for those without gluten intolerance - and eggs (particularly the yolks as they’re a good source of Biotin, which if you lack, can result in brittle hair) as they help with the oxygenation of red blood cells which in turn means more oxygen to the scalp. And lastly, vitamin A-rich foods, such as orange or yellow coloured vegetables that are high in beta-carotene like pumpkin or carrot, prevent hair breakage whilst simultaneously lubricating the scalp.”
In terms of in-salon and at-home care, Hadil Mehdi, a senior stylist at Sister’s Beauty Lounge, The Dubai Mall, recommends getting regular haircuts (every four to six weeks) “as this will help hair grow and will also help strengthen the hair as the split ends are removed,” as well as using “high-quality haircare products at home such as Kérastase and Redken. The Aminexil treatment from Kérastase is particularly good for preventing further hair loss.” The at-home version consists of 42 bottles of product (priced at Dhs850) that are applied to the scalp daily for six consecutive weeks, but one-off treatments are also available in the salon. “Doing the treatment in the salon includes an invigorating scalp massage that helps stimulate hair follicles,” says Hadil, as the massage is a key factor in helping the product work. Sam agrees that high-quality products are the only way to go if you’re trying to strengthen hair. “Avoid supermarket brands. Instead, visit a salon and speak to a professional to get the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair and scalp. The salon brands are made of better ingredients, and are sulphate- and paraben-free. Professional products are also more concentrated meaning they will last longer.” Does she have a favourite professional product? “Personally, I love Cliniscalp from Joico which is a fantastic three-step range for thinning hair.”
For those interested in clinical help, Maha Zeenni, the managing partner at New Age Clinic in Abu Dhabi recommends Mesotherapy as a course of action. "In mesotherapy, the scalp is given a vitamin boost which can improve blood circulation to the area. It is a virtually painless and safe treatment, administered through numerous microinjections containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals directly under the scalp to target the hair follicles. Increased blood circulation allows your hair follicle to become more nourished, which in turn improves hair growth," she explains. "For the treatment to be effective you may need five sessions for hair loss over a period of four to six months before you see results."
So there you have it: all hope is not lost for our troubled tresses. A few small changes in diet, as well as regular salon visits and seeking professional advice will help will make a big difference in a small amount of time. You’ll be giving Rapunzel a run for her money in no time. — Maddison Glendinning