Category Archives: Hair Problems

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

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It is an inflammatory skin disorder which affects the face, torso, and scalp. Typically it presents with itchy, flaky, red skin, and scaly. It mainly affects the sebaceous gland regions of the skin. In adults and adolescents, it generally presents as scalp scaling like dandruff or like mild erythema.

Causes

There are no exact known causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis. But it seems like it is a combination of factors, such as;

  • Your genes
  • Stress
  • Certain medicines or medical conditionsDry, cold weather.
  • Yeast that usually lives on the skin.

It is not caused by an allergy or being unhygienic. Adults aged 30-60 years and newborns are more likely to get it. It’s common in people who have oily skin.

Other medical conditions that will raise the risk of getting it include;

  • Alcoholism
  • Eating disorders
  • Stroke recovery
  • Heart attack
  • Rosaccea
  • AIDS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Acne
  • Depression

Symptoms

Cradle cap and dandruff are the common terms used to refer to Seborrheic Dermatitis. Newborn babies often get cradle cap, brown scales or crusty yellow on their scalp. Then it goes away before reaching a year old it might come back when they reach teenage years.

You may get it on your face, commonly on your eyelids, around your nose or even behind your ears. It may show up on the other body parts to like;

  1. Below the breasts
  2. On the buttocks
  3. In skin folds on legs and under arms
  4. Around the navel
  5. In the middle region of the chest

The skin can burn, itch, or even look red. The scales that crumble off might be yellowish or white and look oily or moist.

For it can appear like other skin conditions, one should see a dermatologist to get a right diagnosis and treatment. The dermatologist will carry tests on your skin.

Treatment

Sometimes, it will clear up by its self, it’s a lifelong issue that flares and clears. It can last for a long time even years, but one can manage it with good skin care.

For adults they can use a dandruff shampoo that contains any of the following key ingredients:

Ketoconazole, Coal tar, Zinc pyrithione, Selenium sulfide, Salicylic acid.

For infants they can scalp daily with baby shampoo and warm water. If this does not help talk with a pediatrician on medicated shampoo before you use one. A dandruff shampoo might irritate your baby.

  1. First soften the thick patches, then rub mineral oil onto the affected areas and gently brush with a hairbrush to peel off the scales.
  2. On the body and face, keep the affected regions clean, wash with water and soap daily. Sunlight can prevent the growth of the yeast on your skin, so outdoor exercises or being out door can make the rash to go away. Other treatments are such as: medicated shampoos, anti fungal products, sulfur products and corticosteroid lotions. The best results will come up as a result of both the lifestyle and medication.
    If the condition persists, or the affected areas become red, painful, pus starts to drain or even swollen, then what you need is to see your doctor immediately.

Hirsutism

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Hirsutism is defined as a disorder where women grow abnormal amounts of stiff, dark colored hair in areas where it is not normal for women to grow hair. Examples are the face, the chest and the back. While this can be distressing enough in and of itself, there are also a number of conditions that can cause it. Some of these conditions need to be addressed from a medical perspective in order to prevent additional complications from occurring.

Potential Causes

Many people that suffer from this particular condition have to deal with it because of one of two reasons. One of the most common reasons is because of hormone imbalances that cause the body to generate too much testosterone, or androgen, thereby causing excessive hair growth. In some cases, women deal with this because they have a hereditary disposition to grow more hair than normal. For some individuals, it is due to medications they are already taking for another condition and for some, the cause is never identified. In these cases, it is known as idiopathic hirsutism.

Other Medical Conditions

Certain individuals suffer from it because of more pressing medical conditions. In some cases, tumors can cause excessive hair growth, as can Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. Cushing’s disease can cause a number of other complications throughout the body and polycystic ovary syndrome can cause a woman to deal with fertility issues. In most cases, medications designed to manage these conditions will also manage the excessive hair growth by dealing with the problem that is causing it.

Additional Complications

Some people that suffer from severe hormone imbalances have to deal with a lot of additional complications as well. Examples are a changing voice, excessive acne, an enlarged clitoris and even going bald. Fortunately, treatment can usually be administered in these cases that cause the hormones to become more balanced throughout the body, thereby limiting the complications that could result.

Effective Methods of Eliminating Unwanted Hair

For anyone who is suffering from this condition and cannot find an underlying cause, it is relatively easy to manage. There are a number of procedures that can be done to limit the hair growth in unwanted areas, ranging from waxing to laser treatments. In some cases, special creams can be applied. Some women simply prefer to pull the hairs out with tweezers. However, this method can be time-consuming and also means that women will have to deal with it on a regular basis, doing it several times a week. Other treatments can be much more effective in limiting hair growth.

Summary

One thing is certain, no one wants to suffer from a condition like this because it can have a dramatic impact on a person’s confidence. If you or someone you know does suffer from the condition, it is important to find out if there is an underlying medical condition and then address it if one is found. Otherwise, addressing the excessive hair growth directly can help you manage it so that it no longer becomes an issue.

Ingrown Hairs

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Ingrown hair is hair that curls back and grows into the skin. It causes bumps that are similar to pimples. Ingrown hairs are uncomfortable and ugly. It also gets sore and hurts at times.Ingrown hair appears on the chin, cheeks, or neck in men. Women experience the same on the legs, pubic area and armpits. Those who shave often mainly experience ingrown hair which can even occur in the buttocks.

The African-Americans, Latinos and those with thick or curly hair get a sort of ingrown hair named pseudo-folliculitis. The bumps mainly appear in the beard area after shaving, waxing, or tweezing to remove excess hair. Coarse hair grows back and stabs the skin. Thereafter, the hair gets trapped under the surface and becomes ingrown.When infected, ingrown hair leaves a scar or darkens the skin.

Causes of Ingrown Hair

  • Dead skin that blocks follicles: This prevents the hair from growing outwards
  • Curly and coarse hair that is cut too short: The sharp end curls down and pierces the skin
  • Certain sex hormones

How to Remove Ingrown Hair

  1. Leave it to go away on its own. With time, the bump disappears and the hair grows outward.
  2. Use hair removal cream.
  3. Use a sterile needle or scalpel to help the ingrown to come out. Do not cut the skin and be patient during the process.
  4. Use depilatory creams which dissolve the hair.
  5. Use a laser or electric current to perpetually eliminate the hair follicle.
  6. Use medication for example:
  • Steroid medicine which is applied on the skin to reduce swelling and itchiness
  • Retinoid that remove dead skin and lessen skin color changes resulting from ingrown hairs
  • Antibiotic which is administered through the mouth or rubbed onto skin to treat ingrown hair

Employ acne treatment methods to remove ingrown hairs. Use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid more than once a day for some time. It reduces swelling and allows the hair to grow outwards. Also try aspirin technique or add a bit of toothpaste.

Use a moist compress on the section with ingrown hair. This softens the surface and makes it easy for the hair to come out. Apply for about ten minutes to determine if this method works on your skin.

Warm milk. Deep a slice of bread in it and place it on the area. Remove it when it cools in about 2 minutes. Repeat severally and check for opening of the pore.

Use egg membrane to cover the affected area. Then, pull it off when dry.

Preventing ingrown hair

  • Shave with warm water and lubricating gel
  • Delay shaving as much as possible
  • Ceremoniously rub the face daily using circular motion with a wet face towel or an exfoliating scrub to remove persistent ingrown hairs
  • Use a sharp, single-blade razor for shaves
  • Follow the direction of the hair growth during shaves
  • Use the minimal strokes while shaving
  • Wash the blade after each stroke
  • Leave some allowance from the skin while shaving
  • Hold electric razors above the surface of the skin
  • Use a cool face towel after-shaves to lessen irritation
  • Use salt, olive oil and sugar to exfoliate skin

Different methods may need to be employed in order to find one that best suits your situation.

How to Spot the Tell Tale Signs of Barber’s Itch

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For lots of men, a good mustache is a necessity. In fact, you only have to look at Hollywood stars like Tom Selleck, Timothy Dalton, or Clark Gable to realise just how much of an impact they can make. Can you imagine iconic mustache wearers like Charlie Chaplin or Einstein without their furry face warmers to keep them company?

The bottom line is that facial hair speaks of masculinity, power, and manly charisma. It can be a thing which separates the men from the boys, which singles out a guy as being confident and comfortable with his sexuality. On the other hand, facial hair can also be a source of frustration, stress, and hard work; it takes a lot of effort and grooming to keep a mustache or beard neat and tidy.

The Other Side of Facial Fuzz

Unfortunately, hard work is not the only thing which facial hair attracts because bacteria and fungus are a common cause of skin problems on and around the face for men. If bacteria make its way into hair follicles, it can result in a nasty condition called folliculitis. Whilst it is no threat to overall health, it looks extremely unsightly and can make the face sore, dry, and itchy.

The other common term for folliculitis is ‘barber’s itch,’ and this skin disorder can cause painful rashes, itchy sensations, visible redness, and even pus filled blisters if left without treatment. This condition (also called staphylococcal folliculitis) is actually a product of bacteria which exists on human skin pretty much all the time. This bacteria is completely harmless until it enters the body.

Learning How to Spot the Signs

So, if you have a cut or a lesion (as a result of shaving) the bacteria can invade the hair follicles and give a guy some real trouble. This is a fairly common ailment, and can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. However, the bad news is that bacteria is not the only thing which can cause a nasty case of barber’s itch.

It is even more common, particularly for men with curly hair and bears, to contract barber’s itch as a result of curved hairs doubling back on themselves and growing into the skin. This is essentially an ingrown hair and they are not restricted to men – it just so happens that beards are the perfect environment for naughty hair follicles which do not want to follow the crowd.

This kind of barber’s itch is more common to guys who shave with basic razor blades, because razors actively sharpen the hair follicles, making it that much easier for them to pierce the skin instead of growing outwards. If left untreated, the condition can lead to minor facial scarring, so you really do want to get rashes on the face looked at by a doctor as soon as possible.

Finding a Way to Beat the Itch

It can help, particularly for men who are prone to barber’s itch, to switch to using electric shaving equipment. According to experts, the risk of contracting the skin condition is greatly reduced if you do not share towels with others, keep towels clean and laundered properly, and use a suitable lotion or cooling cream after shaving the face.

If you are unlucky enough to be struck with the dreaded barber’s itch, a routine course of antibiotics should be more than enough to get you back in tip-top condition. The important point to remember is that this is a common ailment, and there is nothing embarrassing about speaking to a doctor or nurse about the problem. If you want to live healthily, you have to be willing to put your face first.

Lice Aren’t Nice!

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What are Head lice?

They are tiny, whitish to brown organisms that reside on the skin casing the top of your scalp. They can also be found in the eyelashes and eyebrows. They spread from one person to another by close contact.

Causes

They infect the hair on your head. Tiny eggs on the hair resemble flakes of dandruff. But they don’t peel off the hair, they stay in that place. They can stay up to thirty days on the human hair. Their eggs can stay for more than two weeks. They easily spread more particularly amongst school kids. They are common in overcrowded, close living environments.

One can get them through:

  • Coming into close contact with someone who is infected
  • Touching bedding or clothing of a person who is infected.
  • Sharing of towels, combs, hats and brushes with a person who is infected.

They cause intense itching, but they never spread or carry diseases. For a person getting he4ad lice does not necessary mean that one has poor hygiene.

Symptoms of head lice include:

  • Intense itching of the scalp.
  • Small and red bumps on parts like; the neck, scalp, and shoulders.
  • Tiny white specks.

Exams and Tests

They are very hard to see. One needs to look closely. Look at the person’s head under bright light or use a magnifying lens.

To exam head lice:
  1. Part the hair down to the scalp.
  2. Look at the hair and scalp for eggs and moving lice.
  3. Examine the entire head this way.
  4. Examine closely around the top of the ears and neck.

Treatment

Hair shampoos and lotions containing 1% permethrin will often work well. Those medicines can be bought without a prescription. If this does not work see a doctor. The medicines should be used as directed. Using them always or in the wrong way can cause serious side effects.

To use the hair shampoo and lotion:
  1. Rinse and dry your hair.
  2. Apply the shampoo to the hair and scalp.
  3. Wait for ten minutes, and then wash it off.
  4. Check for hair lice again in 8-12 hours.

If you discover active lice or lice eggs, talk to your doctor before doing the next treatment.

Wash all bed linens and clothes with detergent in hot water during hair lice treatment. This will help to stop them from spreading to other people during the short duration that they can survive off the body. Also ask your doctor if someone who shares clothes or bedding with the infected person requires treatment to.

Prevention

Never share combs, hats, towels, clothing, hair brushes, hairpieces and bedding with an infected person.
If your children are infected, make sure that you check the policies at daycare and schools. A number of places do not permit infected children to be in school up to the time when the lice are fully treated.
Many schools may have policies to ensure that the environment is free of hair lice. Cleaning of floors, carpets, and other surfaces regularly helps prevent the spread of every type of infections, even head lice.

Compulsive Hair Pulling

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Have you ever known somebody that suffers from compulsive hair pulling? Perhaps you have known someone or maybe you have even suffered from it yourself. The truth is, this disorder is far more prevalent than most people think it is. People pull their hair compulsively for all kinds of reasons.

Sometimes it is due to a medical problem and sometimes it is a psychological issue. Still other people do it because it is their only coping mechanism after some type of severe physical or emotional trauma that they have suffered. The most important thing to remember is that people that do it feels such a strong need to do it that they simply can’t refrain from pulling their own hair. Instead, it is important to get qualified therapy in order to help them overcome this problem.

Reasons People Pull Their Hair Compulsively

While it is true that it may be due to a medical problem, at least to a certain extent, the overwhelming majority of individuals that pull their hair in this fashion do it because of some type of mental or emotional issue that they are going through. It could be a psychological problem that stems from early childhood or it could be due to something that happened to them later in life.

Many times, it is something that happens when a person is struggling to feel accepted and they feel out of control. They start pulling their hair because this is one thing that they can control. It is similar to an eating disorder or cutting oneself, only instead the hair is being pulled.

What Can Be Done

Fortunately, anybody that suffers from this disorder does not have to suffer through it alone. The obvious first step is to get professional help. The place where a lot of people run into roadblocks is because they feel shame because they pull their hair, therefore they do not want anyone to know. This means that they usually do it in secret until the problem becomes so bad that people start to notice that they are essentially going bald. Once it gets to this point, it is vitally important that the individual in question gets the necessary help because it will be virtually impossible for them to stop without it.

Things To Look For

If you think someone that is close to you might be doing this, there are a few things that you can look out for. Many times, a certain behavior such as isolating oneself coupled with feelings of worthlessness can tip you off that something is going on, especially if the individual starts wearing some type of cover on their head all the time. If you do notice that it appears they are losing their hair, it is definitely time to act but direct confrontation may do more harm than good.

Summary

The most important thing to remember is that hair pulling can manifest itself for a number of reasons. The best thing you can do is provide emotional support and help them into a treatment program. It may be difficult to accomplish, but it is worth it.

Dandruff

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Dandruff is a skin disorder that affects the scalp. It causes itchiness and flakes of dry skin to fall off. The flakes are whitish in color. It is not a serious medical condition but is embarrassing to have them. It implies bad grooming when that is not necessarily the case. Dandruff is not a transmissible condition.

Dandruff is common and affects about 50 percent of the population. This condition mostly occurs after puberty and is present to the middle age. It affects all races and is predominant in men than women. The majority with dandruff have no internal or immune problems.

Causes

The scalp sheds off dead skins as new cells are created. Excessive shedding of skin is noticeable and is what is referred to as dandruff. The shedding comes about due to various reasons. These reasons include:

  • Overemployment of hair products
  • Infrequent washing of hair and scalp
  • Anxiety
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis: this is a skin condition that affect body areas with hair, the face, and ears
  • Ringworms
  • Suppression of the immune system due to chemotherapy and HIV virus
  • Allergy sensitivity

Treatment

a) Anti-dandruff shampoo

Treatment is available over the counter in the form of anti-dandruff shampoo. The effectiveness of the shampoo depends on one’s skin. Try different shampoos until you get one that works.Shampoo should have any of the components below for it to be effective:

Rub the shampoo in the hair while washing. Leave for the recommended minutes, normally five. Then rinse off completely to avoid irritation. Massage the scalp but do not scratch it. Scratching damages the hair and scalp and increases dandruff.

b) Prescription shampoo

See a specialist if your shampoo does not work in a few weeks. The GP may recommend a prescription shampoo.Seborrhoeic dermatitis requires medication.

c) Lotion and creams

Lotions and creams with cortisone help reduce inflammation. Anti-fungal creams lessen the number of yeast organism in the skin and require daily application. Sunlight also affects the bacterium. Sunny weather, therefore, helps diminish dandruff.

d) Brush hair

Brush hair from the scalp upwards. Use steady strokes in order to remove oil from the scalp.

e) Lessen use of some hair products

Evade using hair products such as hairspray and gel until dandruff clears. Also use less of dyes.

Effects

Hair loss results when dandruff extends to become thick patches. The hair grows back if the scar is not severe.
Treatments that do not work

Moisturizing: Lotions that moisturize make plaques look more sore.
Changing antiperspirants: Using a different antiperspirant does not help seborrhea. Antiperspirants are not the cause for the condition but make it look worse.

Conclusion
Several methods to deal with dandruff are recommended by different cultures, but they have not been proven to work. Some of these include the use of homemade concoctions. In India and China, for example, they use egg oil to treat dandruff.

 

References:
1) United State Food and Drug Administration - Controlling Dandruff - Audrey T. Hingley - www.fda.gov
2) International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS) - National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) - USDA Agricultural Research Service - National Agricultural Library (NAL) - December 2002 - grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php
This summary is a general overview about the topic discussed and does not include all the facts, or include everything there is to know about any medicine and/or products mentioned. Do not use any medicine and/or products without first talking to your doctor. Possible side effects of medications, other than those listed, may occur. Full Disclaimer and General Safety Advisory