Understanding Hair Loss Part 3
Wesley A. Wilborn, M.D.
In the last to columns I discussed hair loss caused by grooming and chemicals. Now let us turn our attention to some of the scalp conditions that cause hair loss.
You are probably familiar with individuals getting “shots” in their scalp to make their hair grow. They probably are being treated for Alopecia Areata. In this condition the hair falls out completely leaving round clean spots. These bald spots may be on the scalp, face, neck and scattered over the body where ever there is hair. If the scalp is totally bald the condition is called Alopecia Totalis. If the hair is loss over the entire body it is called Alopecia Universalis. Children as well as adults are affected.
These conditions are considered “auto-immune” diseases. To simplify the cause let’s just say that one has become allergic to their own hair. Individuals with this condition may have a history of asthma, nasal allergy, and/or atopic dermatitis themselves or in their family. Stress will often trigger an outbreak. The hair may re-grow on its own up 50% of the time and in other instances continue to spread.
Treatment of mild cases may require only the use of topical cortisone preparation applied directly to the bald spots. More severe cases may require injection of the cortisone directly into the spots. The worse cases will require internal medication by mouth or injections in the muscle. Your dermatologist will have to decide what’s best on an individual basis.
Next month Understanding Hair Loss Part 4
Dr Wilborn is an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology of The Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA., and member of the advisory board of the Circumscribed Cicatricial Alopecia Foundation. He has been in private practice for