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Indications That Your Hair Isn't Healthy
by Jane Meggitt
There’s hair that doesn’t look so great, and then there’s hair that’s actually unhealthy. With the latter, your hair condition may indicate a nutritional deficiency or illness. If your hair starts getting weird, get yourself to a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Sudden Hair Loss
Losing large amounts –or all –of your hair is a not subtle sign that something is seriously wrong. If you lose 30 percent or more of your hair at one time, you’re suffering from telogen effluvium. Medically, that means the number of hair follicles actually growing hair drops significantly, and you end up shedding. Hair generally disappears from the scalp, not the sides of the head. Triggers of telogen effluvium include:
- Physical trauma
- Thyroid issues
- Nutritional deficiencies – often the result of “crash diets”
- Chronic stress
The good news is that hair grows back in most cases. If your doctor diagnoses a nutritional problem, the hair comes back once it is corrected. The same holds true for thyroid disease and similar issues. If stress is the culprit, medication or a lifestyle change may bring back your crowning glory.
If you develop black or white spots on your hair, it’s likely you’re dealing with a fungal infection. Hard nodules along the hair shaft are signs of piedra, a fungus occurring in both shades. Black piedra is more common in tropical regions, while white piedra is more common in Europe and North America. The nodules compromise the hair shaft, resulting in breakage. Piedra is more often found in people with weakened immune systems. Treatment involves removing the affected hair by shaving the head, although if caught early anti-fungal medication may prevent such drastic measures.
Ringworm is a fungal infection, not an actual worm. While it more often appears on the skin as scaly, rough patches, it can show up on the scalp. If that’s the case, balding and itching occurs in the affected area. Fortunately, antifungal medication and shampoos get rid of it, but you should throw out your old combs and brushes and buy new ones. Wash your bedding and towels in hot water, preferably with bleach.
Patchy hair loss may result from an immune system disorder known as alopecia areata, which usually affects younger people. The body attacks its own follicles, mistaking them for a foreign invader. In a worst-case scenario, the condition can progress to complete hair loss on the head or body. Small patches of hair generally grow back within a year, but larger hair loss requires steroid treatment. Once the immune system rights itself, hair regrowth occurs.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!