scalp_hair_diseases
SCALP & HAIR DISEASES

Diseases of the scalp and hair fall into the realm of dermatology, too, because most of these conditions involve problems that start in the skin. Symptoms of scalp and hair diseases may include:

  • Flaking, shedding skin “scales” on the scalp
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle hair or hair breakage
  • Lack of hair growth

Scalp and hair diseases are as varied as their causes are. The Midwest Dermatology team works to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms, which are often conditions such as:

  • Dandruff
  • Sebhorrheic dermatitis
  • Cradle cap
  • Psoriasis
  • Alopecia areata
  • Ringworm
  • Folliculitis

Scalp & Hair Disease Treatment

Midwest Dermatology’s treatment plans start with gathering a medical history and performing a physical examination. Our dermatologists may also conduct lab work on samples of skin from the scalp or on strands of hair.

Midwest Dermatology’s expert team recommends treating hair loss and other scalp diseases as early as possible. Options may include:

  • Dandruff treatment – Over-the-counter and prescription shampoos, and regular vigorous shampooing can prevent a build-up of dead skin cells (those are the flakes) on the scalp.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis treatment – Anti-steroidal shampoos can be used to treat this condition, which is earmarked by inflammation, excess oil and crusty yellow or brown scales on the scalp and in the hair.
  • Cradle cap treatment – This form of seborrheic dermatitis affects infants and typically clears up before a child’s first birthday. The crusty, yellow scales of cradle cap can be loosened by gently rubbing a baby’s scalp with mineral oil. Then, simply shampoo and use soft brush to remove the scales.
  • Psoriasis treatment – On the scalp, the thick patches of psoriasis are most effectively treated with creams, ointments and shampoos containing steroids, which reduce the inflammation of psoriasis.
  • Alopecia areata treatment – Treatment is challenging for a condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles and causes patches or clumps of hair to fall out. Alopecia areata typically happens on the scalp, with a few quarter sized areas of sudden hair loss, but it can be more extensive and occur in other areas such as the beard or eyebrows. Our physicians will often treat alopecia areata with corticosteroids, sometimes applied to the skin and often with tiny injections placed gently below the surface of the skin. Immunotherapy and other drugs are sometimes prescribed with varying success. Because alopecia areata can have mixed results with treatment, doctors also help with cosmetic solutions and referrals for emotional support.
  • Ringworm treatment – Because ringworm on the scalp, or tinea capitis, is a fungal infection, our dermatologists treat it with anti-fungal drugs. Ringworm is contagious, so it’s important to treat it as soon as possible.
  • Folliculitis treatment – Often caused by bacteria that attack the skin around hair follicles, folliculitis is treated with antibiotics.

In addition to these common scalp and hair diseases, hair loss can result from normal aging and from genetic predisposition. Your Midwest Dermatology physician can consult with you about whether your hair loss can be slowed or, in some cases, reversed.