26 June, 2007

Common Hair Problems


- Common Hair And Scalp Problems -

1 - Itchy Scalp - If you have itching of the scalp, there maybe two main causes.

  1. Lice - Apart from affecting the scalp, lice can reside on the body anbd on the clothes as well.The lice suck blood from the skin and may cause infection.The main problem, however is itching.The thing to look for, to confirm the presence of lice, are the eggs laid by lice; these are attached to the hair and are the size of a pinhead, so you really have to search carfully for them.Once the diagnosis is made the problem is easily treated with malathion or gamma benzene hexachloride;both have to be applied once a week for two weeks.

  2. Dandruff -We all shed dead skin cells as a normal process; these cells are not shed off individually but as aggravates which are normally too small to be seen.In dandruff, however, the shedding of the dead cells is in larger visible aggravates;there is also an excessive production of dead cells.Dandruff is generally rare in children.Scaling generally begins to emerge at adolescence.Starting at puberty, dandruff increases gradually over the next few years; it is maximum in the early twenties.Later over the years, it gradually decreases and is decidedly rare in the elderly.

Getting Rid Of Dandruff -
There are two ways of treating dandruff:either the scales are removed as quickly as they are formed, or the formation of scales is suppressed.Shampooing is a good way to rapidly remove the scales.To be effective the washing should be thorough and frequent.Application of oils temporarily improves the appearance of a scaly scalp because the scales stick to the scalp and are less visible.But oils tend to nullify the effect of shampooing to a considerable extent and are best avoided if you are suffering from dandruff.Medicated shampoos are very popular, these contain selenium sulphide, zinc pyrithione or coaltar.These agents decrease the production of scales in addition to removing the scales.Corticosteroid applications are also very effective in reducing the production of scales and are used for severe dandruff.But the most important aspect of treating dandruff is that the medications should be used regularly till you outgrow the problem.

2 - Greying Of Hair -

The age of onset of the greying process is largely determioned by our genes.Generally by the age of 50, 50% of the population have at least 50% grey hair.Grey hair can sometimes appear earlier too.Premature greying runs in certain families.Rapid greying of hair may occur after severe emotional stress.In certain internal diseases like diseases of the Thyroid Gland,certain anaemias, hair may grey early.

What Can Be Done -
The usual and the most effective way of dealing with greying of hair is dyeing it.There are several dyes available.The oxidative dyes are the most versatile and the most frequently used, despite the fact that they can cause reactions.Henna is also used because apart from its safety it is a superb conditioner.

3 - Loss Of Hair-Baldness -

Causes Of Baldness:
All of us loose hair.A loss of upto 100 hair a day is normal, as this hair loss is replaced.Excessive hair loss which is not replaced leads to baldness.Baldness or alopecia, as your doctor would call it, has several causes:

  1. The commonest form of baldness that affects men.It is called male pattern baldness.The hair loss in this condition depends on two factors, namely the presence of androgens(male sex hormones), and a genetic tendency to develop baldness.One out of every ten men is likely to develop some degree of alopecia by the age of 25; by the age of 35, 4 out 10 men show some baldness; and by the age of 50, nearly half of all men are bald.
  2. Many systemic diseases can cause diffuse hair loss.Any prolonged debilitation(thyroid, viral fevers, malaria, operations, accidents and even child-birth) can be followed by diffuse loss of hair.Mental stress must be included as a cause of this type of baldness.Nutritional deficiencies, crash dieting and anorexia nervosa are all also associated with hair loss.Anaemia is an important cause of hair loss in women.
  3. The third type of baldness is called alopecia areata.Patches of baldness first appear on the scalp, but can spread to the eyebrows and eyelashes as well.In men the beard area may be involved.Fortunately most of the time, the problem resolves on its own.This pattern of alopecia is more commonly seen in men and is sometimes associated with leucoderma and diabetes.
  4. Some diseases of the scalp like fungal and bacterial infections on scalp can also cause baldness.
  5. Finally physical trauma also results in hair loss; this type of hair loss affects women more often than it affects men.Tight hair styles, too much exposure to hot air can also be a cause to some extent.

Remedy -

  • The easiest and the cheapest solution is to grow the remaining hair, and to restyle it to cover the bald areas.Conditioning the hair would give body to the hair, but these methods can be resorted to only in mild cases of baldness.
  • Another but rather expensive solution is hair transplantation.Hair when transplanted from a hair producing area to a bald area of the scalp, continues to function and grow normally for a lifetime.If done with skill this method seems to work fairly well.

4 - Superflous Hair -

Superflous hair or hirsutism maybe due to heredity or ethnic causes.A mild hirsutism might be seen in women after menopause.

Remedy -

  1. Bleaching: Bleaching is one way of making existing hair less conspicuous-it is good for down, rather than for thick coarse hair.It is the most commonly used method for camouflaging facial hair.But blaching might cause irritations in some.
  2. Shaving: It is a fallacy that hair grows faster and becomes coarser after shaving.Yes, after shaving hair does reappear with great rapidity(within 24 hrs), because shaving cuts the hair just at the surface.
  3. Pumice Stone: Abrasives in the form of pumice stones and special emery covered mitts and pads, are frequently used to remove unwanted hair.Though this method is cheap, its effects are temporary.This method is most effectively used on moderately coarse hair of the legs and arms and is not practical for use on the face.
  4. Chemical Depilation: Depilatory agents such as creams, lotions and sprays used in the method of depilation may cause irritation and dryness of the skin and thus should never be used on broken skin.However conduct a patch test before using any of the depilatory agents.
  5. Waxing: This is one of the oldest methods of removing hair.However, the wax should be warmed to the right temperature(neither too hot or too cold) and applied by an expert.If doing at home use cold waxing method instead.Waxing reduces hair growth if done frequently and is the best method of hair removal
  6. Plucking And Threading: These methods are usually reserved for eye-brows, hair on the upper lip and chin and for removing odd hair around the nipples.These methods do not increase hair growth.
  7. Electrolysis: Electric epilation is considered a safe and a cosmetically acceptable method of removing unwanted hair permanently.It is a useful way of getting rid of facial hair, but for hairy arms and legs it might prove too expensive and time-consuming.

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