Does the UAE Water Cause Hair to Fall Out?
Dubai Hair doctors in the UAE are a busy lot as a large segment of the expatriate population believes that the water here contributes to hair loss.
"I found this clump of hair in the bathtub one day and it scared me," said one Indian expatriate who came to Dubai to work more than a year ago. She believes it is because of the desalinated water. "I had such thick hair. It's now thinning so badly."
Trichologist Mike Ryan, a hair expert in Dubai, said there were 50 reasons for hair loss, from life's daily stresses, bad diet, thyroid problems — mostly among women — to genetics.
He said a number of people also suffered from scalp disorders.
Get a shower filter
For starters, if you believed it was due to the bath water, then get a shower filter, the expert advised. That would cut out the calcium, chlorine and silica in the water from getting to your hair.
The dry weather here, not drinking enough water and dyeing and colouring hair with chemicals were among the other factors involved in hair loss, says Hassan Mokadem, a consultant at Direct Hair Implantation.
"Do you know that we lose 80 to 120 hairs every day? It is psychological; people panic when they see the hair in the shower," he said.
A survey by Inversion Femme, an anti-ageing supplement manufacturer, showed that hair loss among women is a major concern, more than gaining weight.
About 67 per cent of respondents reported losing hair was more worrying than the 45 per cent who identified weight gain as their top health issue.
The survey of 100 women from Dubai and Abu Dhabi between the ages of 25 and 60 included Emiratis, Asian and Western expats.
Ryan said poor nutrition is a risk factor in losing hair and lack of vitamins such as B12 and vitamin D. Many people do not eat a healthy breakfast and the trichologist said a good meal at the start of the day is important for the hair and should contain mixed proteins.
He suggested foods such as eggs and pumpkin. He said 90 per cent of the time hair loss was due to genetics.
"There's nothing you can do about it. Some men start going bald as young as 16," he said.
Pointer to ill-health
"Hair loss is a precusor to underlying medical problems such as diabetes," said the expert.
Mokadem said hair loss is also due to the constant use of hair colouring, dyes and other chemicals.
"It's okay to use a hair dye, but once in three months," he said. The consultant said that some drugs for hair loss as Rogaine are effective, but they must be used life-long. You stop, and the hair starts to fall again, he said.
"There many techniques available today to replace falling hair, such as hair implantation," Mokadem said.
This method requires extracting single hair follicles from the back of the head and implanting them in the bald spots in front. It's apparently a painless procedure and can be done in a couple of hours.
Ryan believes that stem cell research will be the way out for baldness. But that was 20 years ahead.
Or there is hair cloning, as Mokadem points out, where you take three or four follicles from the back of the head and multiply that to 25,000 hairs. But here too, things are pretty much in the research stage.
By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter