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Teen hair woes

– Dr. Amee Daxini is a dermatologist at Think Skin Clinic, Bengaluru

My 14-year old daughter’s hair has been falling ever since we moved from Chennai to Bengaluru. The apartment complex we live in supplies only hard water to the bathrooms. I have tried different hair fall treatment shampoos but it hasn’t helped. Her hair is also thinning. Is persistent usage of hard water damaging her hair? — Sridevi Raghunathan, Bengaluru

Hair fall in adolescents can also be due to nutritional deficiencies, especially of iron and protein. Increase her intake of proteins by adding pulses, sprouts and eggs to her daily diet. Beetroot, dates and walnut boost iron content and other vital minerals. As you rightly suspect, hard water does cause hair loss initially, but with time it should stabilise. Another reason could be dry scalp and dandruff which also causes hair fall. If so is the case, a good medicated anti-dandruff shampoo will help.

My 13-year old daughter has a mole on her face which has been growing bigger over the years. Should we go for laser treatment or surgery? — Sahana Reddy, Hyderabad

Moles tend to increase in size as a child grows. Unless it causes itching and you see sudden changes in its appearance such as redness and bleeding, you should not worry. But I strongly recommend you consult with a dermatologist if there is sudden increase in size. If it is a small mole, excision is a good idea.

My ten-year old daughter has dandruff in shoulder-length hair. She regularly uses an anti-dandruff shampoo but it’s not helping. We have tried various oils, a home-made concoction of honey and oil, but nothing seems to be working. The dandruff has become flaky lately, and when she scratches, she tends to peel off her skin. Please advise.— Sheetal Jain, Pune

Dandruff is caused by a variety of reasons such as superficial fungal infection and oily scalp as also environmental triggers such as hard water. That’s why most dermatologists recommend use of a medicated shampoo rather than over-the-counter brands. Consult with a skin specialist who will prescribe a suitable shampoo. But bear in mind that while medicated shampoos substantially reduce the dandruff; there is no real cure for it.

My 12-year old daughter loves to order out especially burgers and pizzas. I’ve noticed that of late she is getting rashes on the skin. Is it an allergic reaction to some foods? — Vineeta Vikram, Mumbai

She could be allergic to some foods, preservatives, and colorants. The best strategy is to observe and maintain a diary of what she has eaten 12/24 hours before manifestation of the rash. You will notice a pattern if it’s a food allergy. Once you discover which food is causing rash, avoid it for at least three months. You could also consult a skin specialist if the rashes persist.

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