Category Archives: hair disorders

Male pattern baldness ( Androgenic Alopecia )

Androgenic alopecia (also known as androgenetic alopecia or alopecia androgenetica) is the most common cause of hair loss and thinning inhumans.Variants appear in both men and women. A variety of androgenic alopecia also occurs in chimpanzee and orangutans. In humans, this condition is also commonly known as male pattern baldness. In classic pattern baldness, hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above bothtemples. Hair also thins at the crown of the head. Often a rim of hair around the sides and rear of the head is left. This type of pattern is dubbed “Hippocratic balding” and may rarely progress to complete baldness. Women rarely suffer classic male pattern baldness. Instead, the hair becomes thinner around the whole scalp, and the hairline does not recede. This is dubbed “female pattern baldness” and may occur in males. This variety of androgenic alopecia in women rarely leads to total baldness.

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men.

Causes
Male pattern baldness is related to your genes and male sex hormones. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown, and is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition.
Each strand of hair you have sits in a tiny hole (cavity) in the skin called a follicle. Baldness in general occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle does not grow a new hair. However, the follicles remain alive, which suggest that it’s possible to grow new hair.
Symptoms

The typical pattern of male baldness begins at the hairline. The hairline gradually moves backward (recedes) and forms an “M” shape. Eventually the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, and creates a U-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head.

Exams and Tests

Classic male pattern baldness is usually diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of the hair loss.
It is important to note that hair loss may be due to other conditions. This may be true if your hair loss occurs in patches, you shed a lot of hair, your hair breaks, or you have hair loss along with redness, scaling, or pain.
A skin biopsy or other procedures may be needed to diagnose other disorders that cause hair loss.
Hair analysis is not accurate for diagnosing hair loss due to nutritional or similar disorders. However, it may reveal substances such as arsenic or lead.

Treatment

Treatment is not necessary if you are comfortable with your appearance. Hair weaving, hairpieces, or change of hairstyle may disguise the hair loss. This is usually the least expensive and safest approach for male baldness.
Two medications are approved to treat male pattern baldness:
• Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a solution that you apply directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
• Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) is a pill that interferes with the production of a certain male hormone linked to baldness. It slows hair loss. It works a bit better than minoxidil. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
Hair transplants consist of removing tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. This can cause minor scarring and possibly, infection. The procedure usually requires multiple sessions and may be expensive. Results, however, are often excellent and permanent.
Suturing hair pieces to the scalp is not recommended. It can result in scars, infections, and abscess of the scalp. The use of hair implants made of artificial fibers was banned by the FDA because of the high rate of infection.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Male pattern baldness does not indicate a medical disorder, but it may affect self-esteem or cause anxiety. The hair loss is usually permanent.
Possible Complications
• Psychological stress
• Loss of self-esteem due to change in appearance

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your doctor if:
• Your hair loss occurs in an atypical pattern, including rapid hair loss, widespread shedding, hair loss in patches, or hair breakage.
• Your hair loss occurs with itching, skin irritation, redness, scaling, pain, or other symptoms.
• Your hair loss begins after starting a medication.
• You want to attempt to treat your hair loss.

 

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A very positive outlook on Alopecia Areata

I had alopecia areata before and it was so embarrassing when so may people asks “what happened to your hair”, it just SUCKS!. I got so tired of answering the same question over and over again that i finally decided to shave off my hair so nobody would notice that i’ve got this weird looking patches on my head with NO HAIRS! My hair did eventually grow back but it took more than a year.

I really admired this girl in the video, we both shared the same experience with alopecia areata, i really love how cheerful and positive she is despite her condition!


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Alopecia Areata

The author of this blog have first hand experience with alopecia areata. It happened on the summer of 2000, i noticed there were very small round patches on my head with no hairs, during that time i was very stressed with my job. I immediately went to a dermatologist for consultation and possible treatment and found out my condition is known as alopecia areata and that there isn’t a single effective treatment for this disorder, hair will eventually grow back on this patches but it’s going to take some time. I was so disgusted with my condition that i eventually decided to shave off all my remanining hair. I shaved my hair every other day so that the hairless patches wouldn’t be noticed. After a few months i noticed some hairs did grow back on the bald patches but it was very thin and white in color. A year later, the bald patches are gone and my hair did grow back but i got so used to shaving my head that until today i shave my head every three days.

Lucky i’m a guy, for women however who develops alopecia areata, shaving their head every other day is unthinkable, i have a relative who developed this condition about 6 years ago and hasn’t recovered today, she has about a dozen set of wigs that she uses.

Alopecia areata can afflict both genders although it seldom happens to individuals younger than three years old.

I am writing this blog because i have noticed some of my wife’s costumers in her salon also have this condition and most of them go to any length to find a rapid cure/solution for this condition.


Source:
Hair Foundation
non profit, charitable hair health organization, Hair Foundation
www.hairfoundation.org
224-522-5420
info@hairfoundation.org

Founded in 2005, the Hair Foundation is the only charitable, 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization committed to providing expert and scientific information on hair loss and overall hair health to the public through education and outreach. Supported completely by donations and volunteers, the Foundation works to provide credible information regarding all aspects of hair health including hair care, styling and volume, disease, hair loss and proven hair loss treatments without commercial bias. The Hair Foundation strives to be the most trusted source providing hair information to the public.


Source : http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/alopecia-areata

Alopecia (al-oh-PEE-shah) means hair loss. When a person has a medical condition called alopecia areata (ar-ee-AH-tah), the hair falls out in round patches. The hair can fall out on the scalp and elsewhere on the body.

Alopecia areata can cause different types of hair loss. Each of these types has a different name:

Alopecia areata (hair loss in patches)
Alopecia totalis (lose all hair on the scalp)
Alopecia universalis (lose all hair on the body)

Not everyone loses all of the hair on the scalp or body. This happens to about 5 percent of people.

Hair often grows back but may fall out again. Sometimes the hair loss lasts for many years.

Alopecia is not contagious. It is not due to nerves. What happens is that the immune system attacks the hair follicles (structures that contain the roots of the hair), causing hair loss. This disease most often occurs in otherwise healthy people.

Learn more about alopecia areata:

Alopecia areata: Signs and symptoms
Alopecia areata: Who gets and causes
Alopecia areata: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome
Alopecia areata: Tips for managing

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Alopecia areata: Signs and symptoms
If you have alopecia areata, you may have one or more of the following:

Patchy hair loss: The problem often begins with 1 or more coin-sized, round, smooth, bare patches where hair once was. You may first notice the problem when you see clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower.

Hair loss occurs mostly on the scalp. But it can involve eyebrows, eyelashes, beards, or any hair-bearing site. Patches vary in size.

Alopecia areata. It often begins with a round, smooth, bald patch.
“Exclamation mark” hairs: Often a few short hairs occur in or at the edges of the bare spots. These hairs get narrower at the bottom, like an exclamation mark.

Widespread hair loss: With time, some patients go bald. Some lose all their body hair, too. This is not common. Also uncommon is a band of hair loss at the back of the scalp.

Nail problems: Alopecia areata also can affect your fingernails and toenails. Nails can have tiny pinpoint dents (pitting). They also can have white spots or lines, be rough, lose their shine, or become thin and split. Rarely nails change shape or fall off.

Sometimes nail changes are the first sign of alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata: Who gets and causes
Who gets alopecia areata?
People can have this type of hair loss at any age. It often begins in childhood. Some patients with alopecia areata have a family member who also has the disease.

What causes alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means that the body’s immune system attacks the body. When alopecia areata develops, the body attacks its own hair follicles. A person’s genetic makeup, combined with other factors, triggers this form of hair loss.

People with alopecia areata may have a higher risk for:

Another autoimmune disease such as thyroid disease or vitiligo (patches of lighter skin appear).
Asthma and allergies, mainly atopic dermatitis (more commonly called eczema) and hay fever (nasal allergies).
Having relatives who have asthma, allergies, or an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes.

Alopecia areata: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome
How do dermatologists diagnose alopecia areata?
Sometimes a dermatologist can diagnose alopecia areata by looking at the hair loss.

If the patch of hair loss is expanding, the doctor may pull out a few hairs. These hairs will be looked at under a microscope.

Sometimes the dermatologist will perform a skin biopsy to confirm that the disease is alopecia areata. To perform a skin biopsy, the dermatologist removes a small piece of skin so that it can be studied under a microscope.

Blood tests may be necessary if the dermatologist thinks the patient might have another autoimmune disease.

How do dermatologists treat alopecia areata?
There is no cure for alopecia areata. Hair often re-grows on its own. Treatment can help the hair re-grow more quickly. A dermatologist may prescribe one or more of the following to help the hair re-grow more quickly:

Corticosteroids: This medicine suppresses the immune system. It can be given as shots, with the dermatologist injecting the medicine into the places with hair loss. Sometimes a patient gets a topical (applied to the skin) form of this medicine. It may be a cream, lotion, or ointment. The patient applies the medicine to the bare spots. Less often, patients take corticosteroid pills.

For adults with alopecia areata, these shots are often the first treatment tried. Patients receive shots every 3 to 6 weeks. Hair growth begins about 4 weeks after the last shot. Sometimes, it takes longer.

Topical corticosteroids are less effective than shots. This is often the best treatment for children.

Corticosteroid pills can have serious side effects. Dermatologists do not routinely prescribe them for this reason. Pills may be a treatment choice for patients with many bald spots.

Minoxidil: A hair re-growth medicine, minoxidil 5%, may help some patients re-grow their hair. Both children and adults can use it. Patients apply it twice a day to the scalp, brows, or beard. New hair may start to grow in about 3 months. Patients most often use this medicine with another treatment.

Anthralin: This medicine alters the skin’s immune function. The patient applies a tar-like substance to the skin and leaves it on for 20 to 60 minutes. A dermatologist may call this short-contact therapy. After 20 to 60 minutes, the anthralin is washed off to avoid the skin from becoming irritated.

Diphencyprone (DPCP): This medicine is applied to the bald skin. It causes a small allergic reaction. When the reaction occurs, a patient has redness, swelling, and itching. Dermatologists believe this allergic reaction tricks the immune system, causing it to send white blood cells to the surface of the scalp. This fights the inflammation. It also prevents the hair follicles from going to sleep, and causing the hair loss.

With DPCP, it can take 3 months for the hair to start re-growing.

Other treatments: Patients often get more than 1 treatment at a time. A mix of 2 or more treatments often boosts success.
Ask your dermatologist about possible side effects (health problems that can result from the medicines). If you have a bad reaction to a medicine, call your dermatologist right away.

Researchers are working to advance the treatment of alopecia areata. They are exploring other medicines that work on the patient’s immune system. They also are looking at lasers and other light-based therapies.

Outcome
When a person has alopecia areata, the hair will start to re-grow when the body gets the right signals. Sometimes this happens without treatment. Even with treatment, new hair loss can occur. Everything depends on how the immune system reacts.

The following explains what can happen.

Re-growing hair: It is likely that the hair will grow back even without treatment. It may fall out again, though. Most patients lose their hair more than once before the disease goes away for good. Even people who lose all the hair on their scalp and body can have their hair grow back. When hair loss is widespread (lots of hair loss on the scalp and/or body), there is a greater chance that the hair will not re-grow.

When hair re-grows, it can be white or fine at first. A person’s own hair color and texture often return later.

How long it lasts: This varies. For some people, the disease never returns. Others lose and re-grow hair for many years. No one can predict when the hair might re-grow or fall out again. This lack of control makes the disease frustrating.

Emotional toll: The emotional aspects of living with hair loss can be hard. Our world regards hair as a sign of youth and good health. The good news is that alopecia areata does not affect overall health. It should not stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. You should not let it stop you from doing well in school, sports, and work.

If your hair loss bothers you a lot, you may wish to join a support group.

Alopecia areata: Tips for managing
Dermatologists offer the following tips to their patients who have alopecia areata:

Hide hair loss. If you feel embarrassed by hair loss, there are things you can do to hide patchy hair loss:
Style your hair to cover the bald spots.
Wear a wig, cap, hat, or scarf. These do not interfere with hair re-growth.
Some people shave the head.
Use makeup to draw missing eyebrows.

Join a support group. While the above tips can hide the hair loss, people often have trouble dealing with the emotional aspects of hair loss. Because the emotional aspects can be so difficult, you may want to join a support group. You’ll find a link to NAAF, which offers support groups, below.
Other resources
Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP)
Website includes tips for coping.

National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF)
Offers message boards, support groups, and pen pal program.

Alopecia World
Offers social networking with links to many groups.