Alopecia is a vast subject – its definition is purely ‘hair loss’ and can be applied to all types of hair loss, so if you hear the word alopecia it does not always mean you will result in total hair loss.
Is it more than just hair? If you are reading this then there is a good chance that you understand how life and self esteem can be affected by the top of our heads. In todays society, there is much importance placed upon our looks, but as hair is the second fastest growing cell in the body, it can quickly become the earliest signs of important underlying issues and illness. Hair loss may be genetic, immune related, hormonal or dietary and a Trichologist is able to spend time to ‘join up the dots’ to establish factors, symptoms and signs to look at the full picture of your health.
Unfortunately not all hair and scalp conditions can be ‘cured’, in many cases treatments will only work for the time you use them and these may need reviewing and altering. However taking positive action to understand your condition, whatever it may be and discussing the next steps and options, can bring peace of mind and reassurance about what the future may hold.
Below, you will find brief descriptions of common hair and scalp problems, however as with any condition, there are often other subcategories that exist and these descriptions are intended for general guidance only.
To buy the products recommended during your consultation, I have partnered with Lifestyle Pharmacy to offer a selection of products. I do not advocate buying these products without a consultation as they may be incorrect or contra-indicated for your individual hair condition and the conditions described below can co-exist; it is important to evaluate all factors before considering treatment.
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These types of alopecia are perhaps the ones that many people commonly think of when we hear the word ‘alopecia’. Areata can take different forms but with the same autoimmune cause. Commonly it will cause distinct patches of loss in different areas of the head, but can also be a more diffuse loss where the hair thins rather than causing patches, and either can extend to a complete loss of scalp hair known as ‘totalis’. The autoimmune nature of this disorder makes it very unpredictable. Itching and scalp irritation are commonly reported along side an increase in hair shedding and noticeable patches of loss.
A quick diagnosis is key at the onset to get you the correct treatment as these are often more effective the sooner they are started, whether this is dermatology referral for medical intervention or addressing any underlying causes through a trichology consultation and electrotherapy treatments.
Testosterone is the androgen hormone implicated and is naturally present in both men and women in differing amounts. It is the conversion of testosterone to a more potent type, called dihydrotestosterone that causes the miniaturisation of hair follicles in sensitive individuals.
Scarring hair loss falls into three categories:
- Autoimmune scarring; such as frontal fibrosing alopecia, lichen planopilaris, discoid lupus erythematosus, pseudopelade, and folliculititis decalvens
- Bacterial scarring; such as acne necrotica miliaris and folliculitis keloidalis.
- Traumatic scarring from an injury to the scalp, or over time, excessive tension placed on the follicles, such as from poorly applied hair extensions or trichotillomania (compulsive pulling) causing atrophy.
Two more commonly seen conditions can also be caused by external weathering and damage to the hair shaft. Trichoptilosis or fragilitas crinium is more commonly known as split ends and trichorrhexis nodosa describes fractured nodes along the hair shaft that easily break away when pulled.
Any and all of these combined can leave the hair feeling brittle, dull, dry, prone to breakage from loss of tensile strength and elasticity, more split ends (trichoptilosis/fragilitas crinium), fractured nodules (trichorrhexis nodosa), loss of moisture and knotty, tangled matting hair from open, raised cuticles.
Advice in the correct hair care regime and reconditioning treatments can help to prevent reoccurrence in the future.
On examination I will be able to distinguish any contributing factors and offer advice and treatments to reduce the feeling of irritation and soothe the area.
• Pitryiasis Capitis (dandruff): small, loose, white flakes
• Infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis (Cradle cap): adherent build up of skin cells
• Seborrhoeic dermatitis: commonly itchy with more pronounced flaking, but these symptoms can appear individually.
• Pityriasis Amiantacea: Thick adherent patches of skin cells, often in small patches and can be itchy and sore. Can co-exist with other forms.
Surrey Trichology Clinic @ 10 Harley Street, London, W1G 9PF
Evening appointments available by request.
For enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org 07751 553234 or use the contact form.
For appointments please contact the Body Tonic Reception on 01372 270790