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Beautiful Hair Starts with a Healthy Scalp
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Beautiful Hair Starts with a Healthy Scalp

Your hair is your crown, and if you are suffering from thinning hair, itchy, flaky scalp, hair loss and other hair and scalp conditions you may not feel as good as you should about the way others see you. But today, many great treatment options are available. If you notice changes to your hair or scalp, talk with your Advanced Dermatology dermatologist or any of our other specialists in hair and scalp conditions, to learn about the most advanced options available.

Hair Loss
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Hair Loss

We lose hair naturally, every day, but don’t usually notice it because the body generally replaces hair at the rate at which it’s lost. There are many other types of hair loss, however, both on the scalp and the body, which may be temporary or permanent.

Hair loss can occur at any age, in males and females, and can have many different causes including underlying medical conditions. If you’re concerned about hair loss, or see unusual hair loss in your child, contact your dermatologist who can diagnose and treat the conditions that lead to this problem.

Visit our comprehensive pages on hair loss and hair restoration here to learn more.

Gradual Thinning


Gradual thinning on the top of the head can be hereditary and is the most common cause of hair loss. Male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness usually occurs over time and with age. Men typically see a receding hairline and bald spots, while women most often experience an overall thinning of hair volume. If these symptoms come on suddenly or severely, check with your physician to ensure there isn’t another cause.

Sudden Loosening of the Hair


Sudden loosening of the hair can be a symptom of a physical or emotional shock. If so, handfuls of hair come out when washing, combing or even with light tugging. This will usually result in overall thinning and not bald patches.

Medical Conditions and Hormonal Changes


Hair loss can be caused by some medical conditions and treatments, and hormonal changes. Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and medical treatments like chemotherapy can all cause hair loss. The hair usually grows back in these cases. If you don’t know the cause of your hair loss, call your dermatologist for an evaluation.

Hair Styles or Treatments


Some hairstyles or treatments, such as those that pull your hair tight, can cause hair loss. Permanent waves, for example, can inflame the hair follicles leading to hair loss. In severe cases, scarring could make the hair loss permanent.

Scalp Conditions

Autoimmune Disease
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Autoimmune Disease

When the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells, it is called an autoimmune disease. Some reactions to autoimmune diseases cause scalp infections. They may have long-term symptoms and be difficult to diagnose, so your dermatologist’s skills and experience are needed.

Scalp conditions which can be caused by autoimmune disease include alopecia areata, a disease that causes patches of hair loss. Lichen planus can cause hair loss, change in scalp color and itching. It’s another autoimmune disease that affects primarily young women.

Always see your dermatologist with concerns over changes in skin conditions or characteristics. Early diagnosis is important to successfully curing most diseases and conditions.

Additional Autoimmune Diseases

Contact Dermatitis
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Contact Dermatitis

Some products such as shampoos, hair styling products, hair dyes and other hair care products might cause an allergic reaction or irritation when touching your scalp which may indicate you have contact dermatitis. Each contact causes an itchy rash on your scalp which develops within minutes to hours from exposure. Other symptoms may include swelling and burning or tenderness, as well as bumps and blisters.

The first step to getting relief from contact dermatitis is to stop using the product that is causing it. Sometimes it’s clear what the cause is, but other times it may require the assistance of your dermatologist.

See your dermatologist if the rash from contact dermatitis is painful, severe or spreads to other areas of your skin. If you have fever and/or think your skin is infected, you should contact your dermatologist right away.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis


Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type and occurs when a substance irritates or damages your skin’s outer layer. Strong irritants may cause contact dermatitis after one exposure. Milder irritants might cause an initial response before you build a tolerance to them over time. Common irritants of the scalp include shampoos and permanent wave solutions.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis


Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when you use or are exposed to a product that you’re allergic to and it triggers an immune reaction in your skin. You can become allergic to a substance over time, so contact dermatitis is not always caused by new product use. Black hair dyes contain an ingredient called para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which is often the cause of allergic contact dermatitis on the scalp.

Bacterial, Fungal or Viral Conditions

Parasites

Skin Cancer
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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer on the scalp, as with skin cancer anywhere on the body, must be diagnosed and treated early for the best outcome. On the scalp, skin cancer may appear as a growth or sore, may or may not bleed, and may be painful, tender or itchy.

If it occurs on the scalp under hair, skin cancer can be difficult to see. Your Total-Body Skin Cancer Exam with your Advanced Dermatology physician will include your scalp. Between checks, see your dermatologist if you notice a:

  • new growth or skin lesion
  • mole that changes, such as a change in the border
  • sore that crusts over but doesn’t heal
  • rough or scaly skin patch
  • pink, pearl-like bump that may bleed easily

It’s often complicated to distinguish between a cancerous and noncancerous skin condition, so discuss any new or changing moles or rashes with your dermatologist.

MORE ABOUT SKIN CANCER

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