If you're having a consultation at Jennifer Maynard Jaimungal's clinic, chances are your hair is already too far gone for a hairdresser to do anything about it. From bald spots to hair loss and scalp problems, Mayard Jaimungal has seen it all. She is not a doctor but as a trichologist. She's qualified to deal with problems of the hair and scalp before treating it or referring her patients to another professional (MD, dermatologist, nutritionist, psychologist) depending on the results of her consultancy. The recently installed president of the T&T Cosmetology Association, Maynard Jaimungal was involved in hair and beauty for years while working at a science lab of a school. She was intrigued by science and, already with passion for cosmetology-which she still did on a part time basis-she found herself wanting to know more about the scientific study of hair and its diseases "I wanted to know why certain things were happening to the hair and what can be done about it. I wanted to gain further knowledge and understanding of hair care and hair products so I began searching for answers. Trichology provided these answers."
Seven years ago, after she completed the International Association of Trichology programme, Maynard Jaimungal opened her Hair and Scalp Clinic. Of her clients, women make up the most. The constant use of harsh chemicals, pulling hair too tight and braiding hair are among the hair sins women commit daily that often result in premature hair loss. Other causes are more scientific like genetic disposition of the patient, hormonal changes, an inactive or active thyroid, stress or the use of certain medication.
"I tell people that their hair gives the first sign that something is going wrong in the body. Hair is the best measure of your general health. "It is normal to lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day, however, hair is sensitive to any body imbalance due to its fast rate of growth. What causes hair loss in one person may not cause it in another person."
Maynard Jaimungal also tells her patients that hair loss does not occur overnight and advises mothers to teach their daughters proper hair care when they are young rather than wait until they are adults.
"When the child is growing up is the best time to start and a mother should be working with the child's hairdresser to ensure that she is getting proper hair care. Transitioning from primary school to secondary school and even the onset of menstruation, for instance, are two life-changing situations that can contribute to poor hair health in a young girl because of the stress and hormonal changes associated with these conditions. "The earlier parents identify the problem, the sooner they can address them. Half of the problem is that when women start to notice their hair thinning or falling out it's too late and by then, instead of seeking expert help to find out what is going on, they try to cover it up by doing different things to their hair."
For children younger than 11, Maynard Jaimungal's pet peeve continues to be the tight cornrows that some mothers put in their daughter's hair. While it may be a convenient for a busy mother, since the style can be worn for a week before it looks untidy, the San Fernando born trichologist said corn rows do more damage to the hair than good. She is concerned, she said, about the number of little girls who are experiencing traction alopecia (damage to the hair follicles from pulling hair too tight). "A lot of mothers think that when they plait a child's hair for school they are doing something positive to ensure hair growth when they are actually not. "Once a child gets good nutrition and regular shampoos, he/she will have healthy growing hair." Mayard Jaimungal's faithful clients who still go to her for cosmetology services at her salon, also benefit from her knowledge of trichology when they go to get their hair done. Maynard Jaimungal also does certification of students for national exams at the National Training Agency and often she is called upon as a consultant for her trichology expertise. "I am committed to improving the hair and scalp condition of my patients who are faced with several challenges in this area."
Causes of temporary hair loss
Temporary hair loss can be caused by high fever, operations, dieting or change in diet, and the taking of some medications (such as those used for the treatment of cancer). In most cases the body adjusts to the drug and the hair recovers. Hair loss can also occur upon termination of pregnancy although not everyone who has a baby will lose hair. Temporary hair loss will either correct itself or will slow to normal once the underlining cause has been pinpointed or corrected.
Causes of permanent hair loss
Permanent, diffuse hair loss occurs until the causative problem is corrected.
The most common causes of permanent diffuse hair loss are:
• Deficiencies in minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and chromium;
• Too much copper in the diet, because as copper increases zinc decreases;
• Poor protein intake, essential fatty acid deficiency and malabsorption;
• Anaemia, a condition where there are too few red blood cells or less than the normal amount of haemoglobin in the blood stream.
• Hormonal imbalance as a result of the thyroid gland being overactive or underactive, diabetes or menopause.