Hair loss is a universal concern that can occur for a variety of reasons, but did you know that beyond genetics and environmental factors there are infection-related causes of hair loss? That's right, certain infections - typically fungal in nature - can contribute to thinning hair and an unhealthy scalp.
Though this kind of hair loss is associated with itching, bumps, and other irritating side-effects, the cause isn't always obvious. Below, we've outlined some of the most common infections that cause hair loss so you can be vigilant in protecting your scalp. The following information will you help you determine what to look for and when to seek the help of a doctor.
Tinea Capitis: or Ringworm
Perhaps the most common fungal infection to cause hair loss, tinea capitis is colloquially referred to as "ringworm". Contrary to popular belief, this infection has nothing to do with worms and can occur anywhere on the body. It is actually the same strain of fungus as "athlete's foot", making it a common contagion in locker rooms. Ringworm is typically accompanied by small pimple-like growths that grow and spread, eventually causing patches of baldness. The infected scalp may be itchy and inflamed, and develop scaly bald patches.
Trychomycosis Nodularis: or Piedra
The second most common fungal infection to cause hair loss is trychomycosis nodularis. This infection affects the hair fibers directly and is commonly known as piedra. When hair fibers are infected they secrete a combination of hyphae and a fungus known as ascostroma to create hard nodules on the surface of the hair. These nodules provide a visual indication of the infection and provide the origin for its common name - "piedra" is Spanish for stone. There are two different variations of the piedra fungus: black and white. The black variety is found in tropical countries whereas the white variety is found in Europe and some regions of the United States.
This type of infection is usually bacterial in nature. Folliculitis refers to the inflammation of hair follicles. This is usually accompanied by pimple-like inflammation at the opening of the hair follicle. Though early stages of folliculitis do not immediately cause hair loss, it is recommended to see a doctor as early as possible. If the inflammation becomes too severe it has the potential to permanently damage the hair's follicles, as well as its ability to grow.
Dermatitis is primarily considered a skin condition. Though it is typically seen on the face it can spread to the scalp. Should dermatitis affect the scalp it can create the right conditions for hair loss. This condition causes scaly inflammation that is often red and sensitive to touch. Severe cases of seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp can cause temporary hair loss, but this condition is not well understood. It is generally agreed that there is a genetic component to susceptibility, and treatment usually consists of a combination of dandruff shampoo and antibiotics.
In most cases, treating the underlying infection should return your hair to normal growth patterns. Some of these infections require antifungal creams while other require doses of antibiotics. Still others can be treated by shaving off the infected area. Though it may be tempting to seek at-home remedies, it is best to seek the help of a medical professional if you suspect your hair loss is the result of a skin condition or infection.
As an established provider of hair restoration, LH Hair is ready to help you regain your hair - and your confidence - with proven methods and hair restoration techniques. Whatever the cause of your hair loss, we are ready to provide a solution. Ready to learn more? Contact us today!