Alopecia areata is a condition in which the body attacks its own hair cells, causing hair loss. The hair loss can be total (including facial hair such as the eyelashes and eyebrows) or partial, resulting in a bald spot. Any disorder in which the body attacks its own cells is called an autoimmune disorder, and alopecia areata is an example of this kind of disorder. In general, autoimmune disorders are poorly understood, and there is rarely treatment for them; fortunately, those affected by alopecia areata sometimes experience regrowth of the hair. Though there is no certain treatment for hair loss, your doctor can help with keeping the skin healthy. Alopecia areata is not a contagious condition. This condition runs in families and can be worse depending on the season. There are a variety of reasons for a person to develop hair loss, and it is important to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Male pattern baldness (alopecia), or androgenetic alopecia, is the patterned balding of a man. Although the condition may affect both the appearance and self-esteem of some men, one should note that the condition is not a medical disorder. The hair loss is non-scarring and has a genetic basis. Sex steroids (androgens) – specifically, dihydrotestosterone – play a role in this form of balding.
Female pattern baldness (alopecia) is a form of hair loss affecting women due to an inherited susceptibility. It is most commonly noticed after menopause, although it may begin earlier.Female pattern baldness is due to a combination of a family history of balding (in men or women from either parent's side of the family), aging, and hormones. Female pattern baldness is not due to a vitamin deficiency, poor circulation, dandruff, or wearing hats. There is progressive shrinking of the hair follicles until they produce only a fine, wispy hair or cease functioning.
Tinea capitis is the medical term for ringworm, a very common fungal infection, of the scalp. Despite the name, there are no worms involved in scalp ringworm, rather the rash forms a scaly, round patch that sometimes clears or improves in the middle, thus looking like a ring. Ringworm can occur on other parts of the body, but scalp ringworm is commonly seen in children. It is contagious and is acquired by contact with infected people, animals, or objects (such as towels, combs, and pillows). Scalp ringworm should be treated (by a prescription medicine your doctor can prescribe) because it is contagious and because, if left untreated, the affected area can develop hair loss and sometimes another, more serious, infection called a kerion.
A kerion is a scalp condition that occurs in severe cases of scalp ringworm (tinea capitis). A kerion appears as an inflamed, thickened, pus-filled area, and it is sometimes accompanied by a fever.The underlying condition, scalp ringworm, is a usually harmless fungal infection of the scalp and hair that occurs as scaly spots and patches of broken hair on the head. Ringworm of the scalp is most commonly seen in children. Though several different species of fungus may cause scalp ringworm, they are generally known as dermatophytes. Scalp ringworm may be acquired by direct contact with infected people or with contaminated objects that have been handled by infected people (such as combs, pillows, and sofas). Most commonly, scalp ringworm infections are caused by dermatophytes that prefer to grow on humans. Less commonly, the fungus may be spread from infected animals (zoophilic dermatophytes) or from the soil (geophilic dermatophytes).Kerions usually occur in people who have been infected with zoophilic dermatophytes. A kerion is believed to be an overly active response of the immune system or an allergic reaction to the fungus.
Vitiligo is a disease where the immune system turns against itself (autoimmune disease) where immune cells of the body attack the color-producing (pigment-producing) cells to cause white patches on the skin, which may contain hairs that are white in color. It may be seen with other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, alopecia areata, diabetes mellitus, Addison disease, and myasthenia gravis. The way that vitiligo progresses varies greatly; it may remain in the area where it started (localized) or it may become more widespread.
Warts are growths of the skin and mucous membranes (the mouth or genitals) that are caused by over 100 types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). A plantar wart occurs on the sole of the foot and can feel like a callus. The virus causes thickening of the top skin layer. Plantar warts can be small, or they can grow to cover most of the sole of the foot. They are usually painless and go away on their own, sometimes taking a few months to resolve (but can take up to 2 years).Warts are usually acquired from person-to-person contact. The virus is not highly contagious but can cause an infection by entering through a small break in the skin. In the same way, warts can be spread to other places on the child's body. The virus is rarely transferred by touching an object used by an infected person, but it is still a good idea for siblings to refrain from sharing towels or socks.
Early diagnosis of hair loss is crucial because certain types of hair loss in the category of cicatricial alopecia can result in irreversible damage. To make full use of each dermatology visit, patients can help by being equipped with a basic knowledge on hair loss and an understanding of the goals of your dermatologist during the visit.
Finding presents for all your loved ones can be very stressful this time of year. The stores can get so crowded that you may just want to pull your hair out. Hair loss, however, is no joking matter.