Hair Conditions

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dandruff is also known as seborrheic dermatitis. Flaking, itching, and redness are the common symptoms. Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in adults as well as infants, when it is called cradle cap. It is triggered by a microscopic yeast that lives on the oily parts of our skin, including the scalp, eyebrows, ears, sides of the nose and mouth, and sometimes even the chest or groin. Some people are sensitive to the presence of this yeast on their skin, and their skin reacts by getting red, itchy, or flaky. The best way to treat this condition is to wash your scalp regularly with an over-the-counter or prescription anti-dandruff shampoo. If that alone isn't enough, then a prescription topical steroid can be applied twice per day as needed to eliminate the itch and inflammation.

Androgenic Alopecia

When men go bald, their follicles shrink and eventually stop producing hairs. Men mostly bald on the crown of their scalp, while the sides and back of their scalp retains thick hair. Similarly, by menopause roughly half of women experience thinning of their hair in the exact same distribution. It is frustrating, because we are often genetically predisposed to bald or thin, and in women it can be triggered by hormonal changes, such as menopause.

Men and women can prevent further thinning and grow stronger and thicker hairs by using the over-the-counter topical medication, Rogaine. Men (but not women) can also take the prescription medication, Propecia. These medications usually require 4 to 6 months of use for results to become apparent. These medications also need to be used continuously, because when they are stopped, any new or retained hairs will eventually fall out. Lastly, a new laser comb called "HairMax" has become available that is FDA-approved to treat hair thinning.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a condition in which the hair suddenly starts shedding. Patients may notice that they are losing many more hairs per day than they are used to, and their scalp hair may suddenly become much thinner. The cause of telogen effluvium comes from inside your body. A sudden shock to the body, such as an underlying medical condition, causes a majority of the hairs to shift at the same time from their growing phase (anagen) to their breakdown (catagen) and resting (telogen) phases, with the result being sudden shedding of the hair. Common causes of telogen effluvium include: childbirth, severe illness, hospitalization, rapid weight loss or starvation, and severe stress. If the cause isn't obvious based on history, blood tests can be performed to pinpoint the underlying cause. Telogen effluvium is usually reversible and can recover over a period of 6 to 12 months.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition in which hair loss occurs in round patches. It occurs most often on the scalp, but can also be seen in 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 for alopecia areata usually involves injections of prescription steroids with a tiny needle directly into the patches of hair loss and/or topical prescription medications. It is known that some people are genetically pre-disposed to alopecia areata.

Other scalp conditions treated in our office

Pilar cysts
Tinea capitis (fungal infection)
Acne keloidalis nuchae
Discoid lupus