Hair and Scalp Problems
Many people have hair or scalp problems. Their hair may be thinning or falling out, break off, or grow slowly. Dandruff or an itching or peeling scalp may cause discomfort.
Hair loss (also referred to as alopecia) can affect just your scalp or your entire body and can result from a number of causes. Everyone loses around 100 hairs a day, which is normal. However, a dermatologist should evaluate hair loss leading to thinning, bald spots or scarring. Many therapies are available to treat and prevent further hair loss depending on the type of alopecia. There are many types of hair loss. Some of the most common disorders of hair loss are:
Male/female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia)- This is the most common cause of hair loss affecting both men and women. About 80 million people in the United States have hereditary thinning or baldness. When men develop hereditary hair loss, they often noticing thinning at the top of the scalp and a receding hairline. Women, on the other hand, notice the first sign of hair loss as a widening part.
Alopecia areata- This is thought to be an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own hair follicles resulting in smooth, round patches of hair loss. While it occurs most often on the scalp, it can affect any hair-bearing area, such as the beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Alopecia areata occurs in up to 2% of the population, and can occur at any age from childhood to adulthood. Treatment may include topical and injected corticosteroids, topical minoxidil, topical immunotherapy and in rare, but severe cases systemic treatment with medications by mouth.
Telogen effluvium- It is normal to lose up to about 100 hairs a day on one’s comb, brush, in the sink or on the pillow. This is the result of the normal hair growth cycle. Hairs will grow for years, then rest for months, shed, and regrow. Telogen is the name for the resting stage of the hair growth cycle. Telogen effluvium is when some stress causes hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state. This can be observed of acute onset of handfuls of hair loss. There are numerous causes of telogen effluvium including high fever, childbirth, severe infection, major illness, severe psychological stress, major surgery, over or under active thyroid gland, crash diets with inadequate protein, and a variety of medications. Teffluvium can be acute or chronic and is most often self limited, with improvement noticed over a 6-12 month period.
Other scalp disorders including:
- Scarring hair loss
- Dandruff (Seborrheic dermatitis)
- Fungal infections
- Itch without rash