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India has been home to the ancient science of Ayurveda and yoga, world-renowned today as two most effective natural wellness philosophies. These two have also emerged as two of the fastest-growing segments in the wellness industry, pegged at USD 490 billion in India alone. Unlike other products, it offers practitioners a sustainable and comprehensive lifestyle, based on age-old and proven principles. Traya Health, an up and coming hair-care startup, combines these practices with nutrition and dermatology for an all-inclusive approach that addresses hair health from its roots. Saloni Anand, the co-founder, Traya Health speaks to The Statesman on the company’s origins and the trends that will define the industry in 2022.

Q What is the story behind Traya? How did it come into being?

A About four years ago, my husband, Altaf, was diagnosed with thyroid which led to rapid weight gain and significant hair loss. His condition was further aggravated by a hustle-filled lifestyle. The doctors put him on lifelong medication. Yet, these medications could not guarantee that his hair loss wouldn’t recur. Being a research-oriented couple, we plunged ourselves into analyzing his diagnosis, only to realize that this condition is linked to multiple internal health functions, majorly good health. After days of research, we came to the conclusion that Ayurveda and nutrition would be more effective in creating a preventive approach. On understanding this, we set out to help family and friends, and eventually we founded Traya.

Q There are a lot of hair care and wellness brands in market. What sets Traya apart?

A Unlike other hair care brands, Traya is not a product-based company. Instead, it manages hair fall by first addressing the root cause. Traya’s secret lies in his diagnosis, which is science-backed and doctor prescribed. Every customer is assigned a team of doctors, including a dermatologist, nutritionist, and Ayurvedic practitioner who customize a treatment plan based on the type, stage, and underlying root causes behind hair fall. Customers receive a customized kit with a prescription at their doorstep. We bring out the best of Allopathy, Ayurveda, and nutrition to fight something as stubborn as hair loss. Traya also provides a hair coach who guides customers through their hair growth journey, constantly takes feedback, tracks the progress, and modifies the treatment whenever required.

Q Hairfall is usually considered to be a women issue. How much truth is there to that statement?

A Women tend to be more obsessed about their hair when compared to men. Men are less affected by hair fall till they notice crowning (hair fall at the top of their head. 70% of male customers at Traya fall between stages 3 and 4 of hair fall. On the other hand, women start panicking if they notice even a slight change in their hair.This is probably why the hair care industry is almost dominated by products mainly catering to women.However, the truth is that 85% of the adult population suffers from male pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia.

Q Can Ayurveda seriously solve modern Indian haircare problems? Also, do you think that with diet alteration we can fix haircare problems without having to subscribe to holistic treatments?

A Although Ayurveda is an ancient science, it can get to the root cause of a problem, thereby acting as a preventive measure in treating modern hair care problems. Ayurveda can help with common hair problems like mild dandruff that recurs in certain seasons as well as conditions like chronic dandruff that need more holistic treatment. While dietary modifications can help in maintaining hair health, in case of conditions like hair thinning that occur due to nutritional deficiencies, appropriate supplements may be prescribed along with holistic care.

Q Why can’t shampoos and serums alone work to keep hair healthy and shiny, as is advertised by many grooming brands?

A Hair health is often thought of as a one-dimensional approach and this belief allows hair care industries to peddle shampoos and serums as a solution to keep hair shiny and clean. In reality, it is your internal health that reflects the condition of your hair. Insufficient nutrient intake and harsh chemicals can leave your hair looking lifeless. Shampoos can clean the dirt and dust off your scalp but they cannot promote its shine. What you need is a diet that contains all the essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are significant for healthy hair.

Q. With a lot of “gharelu nuske” in every household, what are some of the common mistakes that Indians commit when it comes to haircare?

A. While making hair masks with home ingredients seems like a foolproof plan, not every mask is meant for all hair types. Some of the most common mistakes people make are that they don’t dilute harsh ingredients like apple cider vinegar or lemon which later lead to burns, rashes, and eventually hair fall. Another common mistake is to use oils to reduce dandruff which can be sticky.

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