Hair diseases are diseases and disorders which involve the hair and may also affect the scalp. Some hair diseases are genetic, while others result from physical or environmental factors. Hair disease diagnosis typically involves a dermatological examination of the affected area of the skin, hair, and nails. Treatment depends on the cause; it can be medical (drug therapy), surgical (hair transplantation), or cosmetic (wig).
In this article, we will discuss the different types of hair diseases and what you can do to treat them. So if you are going through something similar or you just want to learn more, just keep on reading.
Why I am losing my hair?
You are losing your hair because of one of the possible reasons below.
- Inherited or Genes – If any of your family members are going through something similar, then it is most likely from genetics which means you have a higher chance of going through it as well.
- Hormonal Imbalance – The level of hormones in your body is very important for every growth and development that takes place within your body including hair loss.
- Stress – Are you going through a lot of stress lately? It might affect the quality and quantity of hair on your head.
- Poor Diet – Having a poor diet can certainly make you lose some hair as well as other issues too such as anemia.
- Medication – Some medications cause side effects to our bodies which might include hair loss.
- Poor hygiene – It is one of the leading causes of hair loss. You should always keep yourself clean and wash your hair regularly to avoid any bacteria which in turn might cause hair problems.
Normal hair growth
The normal growth process of a strand of hair is as follows:
- Anagen phase – The first stage of the cycle which lasts for about 2-6 years, where new cells are produced within the root increasing the length and volume of hair to its maximum potential. During this phase, the hair follicle goes through active regeneration and multiplication phases increasing follicle size from 0.07mm to 0.95mm over a period of 5-6 years making it very significant in terms of thickness and strength resulting in healthy thick hairs which grow up to 1 per month during this stage (not all hairs grow at the same rate though, some might even go slower or faster).
- Catagen Phase – This is the second phase of the hair growth cycle. It lasts for about 2 weeks where new cells are created at a very fast rate which results in increased hair thickness. The upper part of the hair follicle dies due to lack of nutrition and blood resulting in shortening of the overall strand until it reaches the skin surface for shedding which takes another 2-3 weeks.
- Telogen Phase – The last stage of the growing cycle which is also known as the resting phase, lasts up to 3 months during which, around 80% of all existing strands enter into this phase followed by thickening and strengthening of strands and hair growth once again.
Most common hair disorders
Also known as male/female pattern baldness, this disorder is very common among both men and women. This type of hair loss occurs due to the heavy presence of a certain hormone namely dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which results in hair thinning and eventual fall if not treated. Once this type of hair loss occurs, it won’t stop until the root causes are treated.
Alopecia Areata can be defined as sudden or rapid hair loss on the head and sometimes on other parts of the body too such as eyebrows and eyelashes and facial hairs. This can take place in just one area or throughout the entire scalp followed by re-growth after some time leaving behind small bald patches. There are three types of alopecia areata including acute/impulsive, totalis, and universalis which can affect people of any age and are associated with a number of factors such as stress, allergies, and autoimmune diseases among others.
Traction Alopecia is caused due to increased mechanical forces on the hair causing damage to the roots which eventually leads to loss of hair. This disorder appears as bald patches or thinning of hair if not treated in time and can affect people of all ages including kids mostly during their puberty stages. There are a number of factors that play their role in causing this disorder among which, tight hairstyles such as cornrows and braids too tightly pulled back is the most common cause.
Telogen Effluvium is one of the most common hair disorders in women and is defined as excessive hair shedding due to physical or emotional stress resulting in an increased number of hairs going into the resting phase causing temporary thinning of hair. This can be a short-term condition for some but might last up to 6-9 months in others if not treated on time. The exact causes of this disorder remain unknown although, it appears on a sudden basis following stressful conditions such as childbirth, major surgery, crash dieting, and malnutrition which result in depletion of energy levels leading to hair fall. Women are more prone to this disorder than men.
Anagen Effluvium is another hair disorder that is defined as the loss of hair or thinning of hair that falls out or stops growing due to medications, chemotherapy, radiation therapy used in the treatment of some cancers for instance leukemia. This form of alopecia can be temporary but might last up to 6-9 months on a continuous basis if not treated promptly.
Hair shaft breakage
Hair Shaft Breakage is a common cause of hair fall and is defined as an injury to the lower part of the hair follicle resulting in breakage of the emerging strand itself. This occurs mostly due to excessive combing or brushing, tight styling especially ponytails that are pulled back too tightly from the scalp which damages the innermost root leading to breakage, chemicals such as dyes and perms used on strands among others.
Causes of hair loss
Aging is one of the most common causes of hair loss which might not be noticeable at first but gets progressively worse with increasing age. The production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid gradually decreases due to the effects of free radicals which leads to sagging skin along with thinning hair strands. This disorder has no cure to date although, there are a number of products available in the market that can help improve texture and strengthen hair.
Hairstyle pulls on your scalp
Hairstyles that pull on your scalp can cause hair loss, breakage, and thinning of hair due to the excessive tension on the roots resulting in damage to the lower part of the follicle. Tight hairstyles such as ponytails or braids pulled tightly back from your scalp are common causes that can give rise to traction alopecia. Some other factors include dyes, chemicals used for straightening which can lead to hair fall or thinning of hair if not used in correct ways.
Excessive combing and brushing are one of the most common causes of hair fall which can cause hair loss, breakage, and thinning of hair resulting in split ends. The pressure exerted by brushes that are too firmly or stiffly bristled pulls at the roots leading to damage that results in shortening of the lifespan of strands eventually leading to breakage.
Alopecia areata can lead to hair loss and hair thinning in patches that might be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of baldness and other factors. This condition is purely acquired and not hereditary and can affect one or both sides of the scalp at a time. Alopecia areata is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles thereby preventing the production of new hair leading to bald patches on the scalp.
Hereditary hair loss
Hereditary hair loss comes as a result of the genes passed from parents to their children and is known as androgenetic alopecia. This form of the disorder is characterized by male or female pattern baldness where they begin losing hair in specific areas beginning with thinning at the temples which spread towards the top then eventually all over the scalp affecting both sides.
Genetics can cause hair loss in both men and women although it is more common in men than women. It can affect anyone at any age with the exception of children who are still going through puberty. Inheritance of this disorder does not run along family lines but occurs due to a mutation in androgen receptors giving rise to hormonal imbalance which leads to male pattern baldness while female pattern baldness has different causes such as heredity, using birth control pills among others.
Scalp psoriasis is one of the causes of hair loss and is caused by an autoimmune disorder where it attacks healthy skin cells leading to inflammation and thickening of the scalp. This means that it cannot be cured completely but can only be treated with medication along with other treatments which help prevent further damage.
Scalp psoriasis is caused by a form of a skin condition known as plaque psoriasis which is characterized by raised, rough, and inflamed patches that are filled with red blood cells leading to hair loss in some parts. This can be treated with medications such as corticosteroids among others.
Treatment includes topical or oral treatment for lowering the immune response, antibiotics if there are also skin lesions on top of bald patches, tar shampoo for itching due to scaly skin among others.
Cancer treatment can cause hair loss by the chemotherapeutic agents used for the treatment of cancer which can cause hair loss in both men and women, this is through chemotherapy-induced alopecia. This does not happen to everyone but only affects some people who receive these treatments. It is characterized by hair loss that begins three to four weeks after they begin receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Some of the most common chemicals used for treating cancer are cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, vinblastine, taxol among others although it depends on the type of cancer being treated. These medications work by stopping cell division which they carry out using protein growth factors necessary for cells or by blocking blood flow to parts of the body which results in severe side effects including loss of appetite leading to weight loss which can lead to hair thinning.
Childbirth, illness, or other stressors
Childbirth can cause hair loss by tearing or cutting some of the hair follicles during the process. This leads to breakage and thinning which might not be permanent depending on how long a woman is in labor among other factors. Illness such as pneumonia, sepsis, heart attack along with other stressors including surgery can cause shock leading to loss of blood pressure which can lead to hair falling out temporarily due to the fact that these events lower the body’s immune system.
Haircare practices are also one of the causes of hair loss, especially when done improperly leading to breakage and scalp damage which can lead to permanent hair loss. This includes using curling irons or straighteners which can burn your scalp if they are too close causing burns, chemical processes such as bleaching, over-washing the hair among others. Sleeping with wet hair can cause damage to your roots leading to excessive shedding along with poor dieting habits which lack vitamins that are necessary for healthy growing hair among other factors.
Scalp infection can cause hair loss and is caused by bacteria leading to scalp itching, redness, and severe pain which is accompanied by a rash. Some of the common bacteria are Pseudomonas, Streptococcus among others which can be treated using antibiotics.
This can be treated with antibiotics or antifungals depending on whether the infection is bacterial or fungal along with topical ointments such as benzoyl peroxide for skin infections among others.
Hormonal changes which are associated with puberty, menstruation, pregnancy among others lead to hair loss when the levels of estrogen and progesterone in women fluctuate causing damage to the hair follicles. This leads to a condition called Telogen effluvium which causes shedding all over the scalp leaving behind thinning hair.
Treatment for hair disorders
Treatment for hair disorders includes the use of medications, supplements, and topical oils which can be compounded to a dermatologist among others. Hair disorder treatment might include over-the-counter products such as Rogaine or Propecia among others. However, these have side effects along with requiring ongoing treatment. In cases where women are experiencing excessive hair loss due to hormonal changes, birth control pills containing estrogen help increase the growth of new hair along with preventing menopausal symptoms.
In other cases, where people suffer from alopecia areata, steroid injections in the affected areas slow down the immune response allowing hair to regrow within three months after injection among other medicines available depending on your condition including TNF inhibitors which affect parts of the immune system to prevent the immune cells from attacking hair follicles. Scalp cooling is also a method used to treat alopecia areata which involves applying a gel to your head before covering it with an insulated cap for up to two hours at a time, three times per week among other methods including laser therapy and scalp acupuncture among others.
Hair disorders treatment varies between individuals depending on different factors such as the severity of the condition, type of disorder experienced among others.
Hair disorders lead to hair loss which can be temporary or permanent depending on the severity as well as the type of disorder experienced. There are different factors responsible for hair disorders such as genetics, underlying conditions such as atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis among others among other things including lifestyle choices and scalp infections among others. Treatment for hair disorders includes medications, supplements, and topical oils depending on the type of disorder among others. This can be compounded to a dermatologist among other treatments including scalp cooling for alopecia areata among others depending on the severity as well as the type of disorder experienced.
What are the 3 main hair conditions?
The three main hair conditions are alopecia, alopecia barbae, and telogen effluvium.
What are the different diseases and disorders of scalp and hair?
The different diseases and disorders of the scalp and hair include scalp infection, hormonal imbalances, alopecia areata, and hair loss.
What is a disease of the hair called?
A disease of the hair is called a cutaneous disorder. There are many types of cutaneous disorders, including alopecia, scalp infection, and hair loss.
What are the four disorders of the hair?
The four disorders of the hair include alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia barbae.
What are the common hair disorder and diseases?
The common hair disorders and diseases include alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia barbae. Hair loss can occur in a number of ways including familial, hormonal imbalances, high fever, chemotherapy among other things including alopecia areata and telogen effluvium among others.