The scalp is an extension of the skin and, like any other part of the body, it can be affected by several diseases, which there are specific treatments that must be prescribed by dermatologists. Some of these pathologies have a genetic origin, others triggered by external factors. Some can be cured, others just controlled. Often patients do not give due importance to symptoms, which can aggravate the problem and even cause permanent hair loss.
Check out the five most common hair diseases, their symptoms and treatments:
What it is : One of the main diseases of the scalp is seborrheic dermatitis, better known as “dandruff”. It consists of excessive oiliness (seborrhea), associated with inflammation and flaking. The disease can happen at different levels of severity. It is a chronic disease, with periods of improvement and worsening of symptoms.
Cause : The cause is not fully known, and the inflammation may be of genetic origin or triggered by external agents, such as fungi, very hot baths, emotional stress, alcohol, medications and excess oil.
Symptoms : In general, the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are: oily skin and scalp; white flaking scales – dandruff; yellowish scales that are oily and burn; itching, which can get worse if the area is infected by the act of “poking” the skin; slight redness in the area; possible hair loss.
Treatment : Treatment is done with shampoos and lotions with anti-inflammatory, antifungal action, in addition to controlling flaking and oiliness. The correct washing frequency is also essential for the success of the treatment. Untreated seborrhea can increase other problems, such as androgenetic alopecia. After treatment, the use of the specific anti-grease shampoo is indicated once a week, as maintenance.
ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA (Baldness)
What it is : Androgenetic alopecia, or baldness, is a genetically determined form of hair loss. It is relatively frequent in the population. Men and women can be affected by the problem, which despite starting in adolescence, is only apparent after some time, around 30 or 40. Although the term “andro” refers to the male hormone, most of the time the hormone levels are normal in blood tests. The disease develops since adolescence, when the hormonal stimulus appears and causes the hair to grow progressively thinner in each hair cycle.
Symptoms : The most frequent complaint in androgenetic alopecia is thinning of the hair. Hair is thinning and progressively the scalp is more open. In women, the central region is more affected. In men, the most open areas are the crown and the frontal region (entrances).
Treatment : Treatment is based on hair growth stimulants such as minoxidil and hormonal blockers. The goal of treatment is to park the process and recover part of the loss. Oral medications, hair care, lasers and in-office treatments are some of the treatment options. The earlier the treatment, the better the results. In the most extensive cases, a hair transplant can improve the aesthetic aspect.
What it is : Alopecia areata is an inflammatory disease that causes hair loss.
Causes : Several factors are involved in its development, such as genetics and autoimmune participation.
Symptoms: The wires start to fall resulting more often in circular flaws with no hair or hair. The extent of this loss varies, and in some cases, few regions are affected. In others, hair loss may be greater. There are rare cases of total alopecia areata, in which the patient loses all the hair on his head; or alopecia areata universal, in which hairs fall all over the body. Alopecia areata is not contagious. Emotional factors, physical trauma and infectious conditions can trigger or worsen the condition. The evolution of alopecia areata is not predictable. Hair can always grow back, even if there is total loss. This is because the disease does not destroy hair follicles, it just keeps them inactive due to inflammation. However, further outbreaks may occur. Each case is unique.
At the fall site, the skin is smooth and shiny and the hair around the plaque comes off easily if pulled. The hair, when reborn, may be white, later acquiring its normal color. The most common form is a single, rounded plaque, which usually occurs on the scalp and beard, popularly known as peeling.
Treatment : Several treatments are available for alopecia areata. Topical medications such as minoxidil, corticosteroids can be associated with more aggressive treatments such as sensitizers (anthralin and diphenhprone) or methotrexate. Injectable corticosteroids can be used in well-defined areas of the scalp or body. The option must be performed by the dermatologist together with the patient. Treatments aim to control the disease, reduce flaws and prevent new ones from arising. They stimulate the follicle to produce hair again, and must continue until the disease is gone. Attention: Avoid “self-medication”. Only a dermatologist can prescribe the most appropriate option.
What it is : It is a condition that is characterized by an increase in the daily loss of hair strands. Its increase is seen mainly in that cake that falls in the shower or stays on the brush when combing.
Causes : Its cause is associated with an event that happened three months before the fall started. This is because the period of preparation for the fall lasts from two to three months and the strands come off at the end of this cycle. These events, or triggers, convert a higher percentage of wires to the fall phase. So, instead of having 100-120 threads falling daily, we have 200-300 threads, depending on the patient and the cause of the effluvium. The main causes of this type of fall are: postpartum, fever, flu, very restrictive diets, metabolic or infectious diseases, surgery, especially bariatric, due to blood loss and metabolic stress, in addition to stress. Some medications can also trigger the problem.
Symptoms : The main symptom is acute hair loss, with an increase in the strands that fall out day by day. Itchy scalp, especially in the posterior region, may be present in some cases.
Treatment: The effluvium is self-limited, that is, it has a predetermined duration of two to four months, if there is no other associated disease. And, from one day to the next, there is an apparent improvement. In theory, treatment would not be needed. However, if the patient has any associated condition, such as androgenetic alopecia (baldness) or senile alopecia (rarefaction that appears after the age of 60), in general, it is usually treated so that he can have full capacity to recover the volume and the length of the wires. Some medications, which stimulate hair growth, can be combined to speed up this recovery process. If the patient is healthy, and without previous scalp disease, he will have full recovery capacity. The prognosis is generally good, but it is always recommended that the person see a dermatologist to better understand their case, and whether there is a need to treat any possible underlying underlying disease. Or, still, if it is necessary to discover any factor that may be associated with the fall, as in the food area, whether due to an iron or vitamin deficiency, or due to high protein diets, which we have seen more people adhering to every day. The patient needs to be well oriented to know what is good for their metabolism and capillary cycle.