A-Z List Of Hair Problems And Solutions
Allergies resulting in a rash on the skin can appear on the scalp as easily as anywhere else on the body. Identifying the cause is often difficult, as there are hundreds of known, and many unknown, allergens. Use a mild shampoo as often as necessary and try not to aggravate the condition by scratching.
Alopecia areata, Alopecia total, Traction Alopecia and banded Alopecia are various kinds of hair loss. Alopecia areata is a loss of hair in patches and can develop into Alopecia total, or complete baldness. Traction and banded Alopecia result from an intolerable strain being put on the hair — from being pulled back into a tight ponytail or being pulled as it is straightened — and usually occur around the hairline. If this pressure is removed there is every chance the hair will regrow, but if the abuse continues the hair loss may be permanent.
Of the various varieties of anemia, those caused by poor diet, lack of iron or vitamin deficiency (particularly vitamin B) will most affect the hair. Once the condition is halted, treated, and the diet improved, hair too will gradually return to health.
Bad Hair Odour
This usually occurs in conjunction with excessively oily hair conditions. It is the result of sweat and oil glands overproducing, often because of stress, exhaustion and a diet too rich in oily and fried foods. Once the diet is corrected, the oily hair condition treated and the stress alleviated, the odor will disappear.
Baldness, or Alopecia total, occurs when the hair follicles atrophy and cease to produce new hair. It usually begins with a thinning of the hair at the temples and crown, becoming more severe until only the sides and back of the head have any hair at all — and sometimes not even these areas are covered. Baldness is often hereditary; it used to be thought peculiar to men, but nowadays many women suffer from it — reinforcing the theory that frequently it is caused by stress and strain and is also sometimes the result of illness or drugs.
This very powerful drug has many side effects; among them are distressing hair loss on the head and the reverse: the growth of facial hair. The best answer for the former is a wig — there are such good ones available now in so many colors and styles that they can do wonders for the morale. As for the latter, if the facial hair isn’t too coarse or dark, try a facial hair bleach or a depilatory cream specially formulated for facial hair.
This term is used widely to describe any scaly condition of the scalp. It is often thought to be the result of a dry scalp, and this can be so, but more often it goes hand in hand with oily hair when the sebaceous glands are overproducing and the follicles get blocked. Causes include lack of fresh air or air circulation, i.e., if wigs are worn constantly or the head is often wrapped in scarves or covered with a hat; stress and emotional strain; and sudden changes in climate or diet. The scalp should be kept immaculately clean by frequent washing. Many anti-dandruff shampoos contain harsh ingredients, so it is sometimes suggested that a mild shampoo should be used alternately every other day with an anti-dandruff treatment. In other words, treat the condition with great gentleness: don’t rub too hard or use anything too strong; wash frequently and rinse very thoroughly.
This inflammation of the skin or scalp is also known as eczema.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosis
Related to Dandruff, this condition appears as reddish-brown scaly patches with thinning hair in the center and needs help from a doctor or dermatologist.
Many medicines, even mild ones if taken over a long period of time, but particularly powerful modern drugs, cause the hair condition to change, the scalp to develop problems or hair loss. If it is not possible to stop the medication, extra care must be taken over what food is eaten; shampoo and condition to keep the hair as healthy as possible; often vitamin supplements such as Brewers’ Yeast tablets will help.
Dry hair appears dull and brittle and is often caused by over-bleaching, perming or over-exposure to sun, wind, salt or chlorine-filled water. See also: How to Fix Dry Hair.
This is a scalp disorder, also known as dermatitis, which is usually a reddish inflammation with damp, sometimes oozing, scales and which requires urgent attention from a doctor, dermatologist or trichologist.
This is a deep-rooted fungal infection, sometimes the result of ringworm left untreated for too long, affecting the scalp and sometimes the nails. It appears as yellow cup-like crusts, which stick together, then drops off, leaving the scalp hairless and scarred. Immediate attention from a doctor is essential.
Grey hair, correctly defined, is hair where white hairs are mixed with the natural color, giving a gray effect. If hair strands contain melanin (color granules), they are ‘colored’; if they don’t, they are ‘white’. As the body ages, the hair bulbs fail to produce melanin in the hair shaft and white hair results. See also: How to Prevent Gray Hair.
Hair usually breaks only when it is dry and brittle and this comes from abuse: over-processing by means of bleach, color or permanent waves or over-exposure to the elements. Hair that is breaking is very fragile and needs the gentlest treatment to restore it to health; it should be combed gently with a wide-toothed comb, shampooed with a richer formula than usual and conditioned every time it is washed. Don’t blow-dry or use heated rollers or other electric aids until it has returned to health — and only with the greatest caution even then.
A hair that has fallen has a tiny white bulb at one end. Fifty to a hundred hairs falling out daily is normal—hair loss over and above that needs treatment. The causes are not all known but include contraceptive pills, chemotherapy, drugs like cortisone, anything that interferes with hormones, and emotional disorders such as anxiety, lack of sleep or tension. Finding the cause will determine how permanent the loss will be — often the excessive fall can be halted and the hair will regrow in time.
Hormones affect the hair — a proper balance must be maintained or problems may arise. Hormones are used to treat baldness in men, but the side effects may be unattractive and the results uncertain.
This is a hereditary condition where the skin is abnormally dry and scaly — hence its other name, Fish Skin. If it appears on the scalp, it will mean the hair becomes so dry and fragile it cannot grow to any length and will break off in clumps. It needs medical attention and frequent washing with a mild shampoo to keep the scalp clean.
Lice, even today, are quite common, usually among schoolchildren. A child with lice in the hair will probably complain of an itching scalp and scratch it excessively. Examine the scalp under a good light, paying particular attention to the hairline; if moving lice or eggs are visible, immediate medical attention is required. A doctor will prescribe an anti-louse shampoo, which should be applied by an adult who will see it is used correctly.
At this stage in women’s lives, when menstruation ceases, the hormone balance is changing and can cause hair loss and neurodermatitis, a patchy form of dandruff.
The menstrual cycle affects the sebaceous glands and the amount of oil they produce; consequently, many women find their hair oilier at the beginning and end of their period.
Mixed Condition Hair
Mixed condition hair appears as an oily scalp and dry hair. See also: How to Fix Mixed Condition Hair.
This is usually a clearly defined patch of really heavy dandruff-like scales at the nape of the neck and is very itchy. The scalp next to it is quite often clean and healthy, but the patch needs urgent treatment. This condition is most prevalent among older women, often appearing during the menopause and after.
Oily hair becomes lank and greasy even a few hours after shampooing; it is caused by over-productive sebaceous glands and can also produce bad hair odor. See also: How to Prevent Oily Hair.
As with any other medicine that affects the hormones, contraceptive pills can be the cause of hair problems: a woman may experience excessive hair loss either while she is on the pill or when she comes off it. The pill can also cause a dry scalp and excessively oily hair.
This is a loose term used for a bran-like or scaly appearance of the skin. Pityriasis steatoides and pityriasis capitis are alternative names for common dandruff. Pityriasis amientacea is a more virulent form of dandruff, which gathers along the hair shaft as well as over the scalp. Pityriasis should not be left untreated as hair loss will quickly follow.
Pregnancy and After-effects
Most pregnant women find their hair is healthier, shinier and more abundant during this time of increased estrogen production; usually, problems like oily hair are lessened or disappear. But from three to six months after the birth of the child, the mother frequently suffers from hair loss. This hair loss is quite normal and the hair should soon recover; if the loss persists a trichologist should be consulted.
This is a skin condition that manifests itself in red patches covered in silvery scales, which can also appear on the scalp. It doesn’t itch but treatment so far is fairly unsuccessful — a shampoo containing tar may help.
This is a fungal infection of the skin; the scalp variety is known as tinea capitis and begins as a small papule, spreading concentrically and leaving scaly bald patches. It may have a pink center. The sufferer should be immediately taken to a doctor, who will prescribe an antibiotic which will cure the ringworm.
Split ends are the result of hair abuse. Too much coloring, bleaching, perming or exposure to the sun, the wind, and water produces damaged hair. Once hair has become split nothing can be done and the ends must be cut off and extra care taken with conditioning to restore health.
Like hormonal, nutritional or any other glandular imbalance, this can cause hair loss, sudden dryness or lank hair.
Hair transplants expertly done by cosmetic surgeons can be very successful; the technique is well-proven.
This is the name for the mania for pulling out one’s hair — usually found in adolescent girls and menopausal women. See also: How to Stop Trichotillomania.
Hair grows in most parts of the body — more profusely on some people than others — and causes distress if it is very dark or thick on the face, arms, legs or around the pubic area. Isolated hairs can be pulled out with tweezers. A medium growth on legs, arms or face (particularly around the upper lip) can be bleached, which will make it less obvious, or waxed away. Waxing is also the most satisfactory way of achieving a clean bikini line. Legs and underarms can be shaved. The only permanent way of removing superfluous hair is by electrolysis, which is time-consuming, must be done by an expert and can be enormously expensive. (See also: How to Remove Unwanted Hair Forever?)
Zinc Pyrithione is an ingredient in many effective anti-dandruff shampoos.