Dubai: Does tap water here make you lose your hair more than usual?
Expat forums are rife with speculation — with many claiming that tap water triggers hair loss. Some medical experts said the link between tap water here and greater hair loss had not been established scientifically, but others said desalinated water does lead to hair dryness.
Women residents have also claimed that the chemical content in water, the stress of adjusting to a new lifestyle and the hot weather are reasons for hair loss.
Medical experts, however, said while there isn’t any conclusive evidence that tap water is the direct cause they didn’t rule out the country’s — and the Gulf’s — treated water as one of the factors responsible for hair loss.
They also said that hair loss and thinning is a result of multiple factors including hormonal imbalance, genetics, vitamin deficiency, stress and/or poor nutrition.
Dr K. Balachandran, Specialist Dermatologist at Aster, Dubai, told Gulf News:“There is no conclusive scientific study yet that says treated water is the direct cause of hair loss.”
He explained thyroid and hormonal imbalances are major causes for hair loss in women.
“Iron and Vitamin D deficiency as well as scalp infections also need to be considered [in hair loss diagnosis]. Women should not mistake genetically thinning hair for hair loss. Further hair tends to thin gradually with age,” said Dr Balachandran.
Medics advise sufferers should seek help to determine the cause.
“Shedding between 50-100 hairs per day is normal,” he added.
Specific to the link between treated water and hair loss in women, Dr Nathalie Domloj, General Practitioner and Aesthetic and Laser Therapist at Medcare, Dubai, told Gulf News: “Treated tap water affects the scalp and hair.”
She said: “Tap water contains calcium, iron, copper, magnesium and silica, among others. These are known to have a drying effect on the scalp and hair. Some of these build up on the scalp, choking hair follicles — and leading to the hair fall.”
Dr Domloj said she sees 10 to 15 women patients per week complaining of hair loss. “Apart from other causes, including treated water, Vitamin D deficiency is linked to hair loss.”
Trichologist Dr Akshay Batra, CEO and managing director of Dr Batra’s Positive Clinic, said desalinated water is a cause of hair dryness.
He said: “Desalinated water tends to dry out hair strands and also leads to harmful scalp build-up. As a result, hair becomes brittle and prone to breakage.”
Providing advice on how to reduce damage to the scalp from tap water, Dr Atul Aundhekar, Chief Medical Director, iCARE Clinics, said residents should install a shower filter that will remove traces of harmful chemicals.
“Due to the polluted seawater, treatment plants add more chlorine to kill bacteria, which can damage hair follicles. A filter reduces the damage,” he said.