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Also known as alopecia, hair loss is a problem that is encountered by people from all backgrounds, gender and age. To help with the situation, there are a number of measures have been used. These include, medication, hair replacement and hair restorations. There are several other hair problems that many live with other than the hair loss. This article seeks to highlight the hair problems as well as some of the remedies that have worked against these problems.

Gray hair.

In many societies, the graying of hair is something that has been associated with a distinguished stature. To many, it is just a sign of the sunset years. Regardless of how one feels about grey hair, it is quite inevitable as it has to come at some point in life. The only common factor about grey hair is that it comes with age.

In the quest of determining the root cause of grey hair, a number of studies have been conducted with most convinced that they have unraveled the mystery. Hair color is as a result of the pigment from the melanin. The melanin is produced by the melanocytes that exist in the hair follicles. With age, the melanocytes loose their ability to produce the pigment hence the growth of grey hair. Some people do however get to start growing the grey hair way early in their lives. Some people as early as in their teen ages. The graying of hair is genetically determined hence inherited through generations. If you hate your grey hair, you can cover it with dye of your choice.

Hair loss.

Hair has a defined pattern of growth or a cycle if you may. Hair has continuous growth for the first three to four years. This period is known as the anagen phase. The phase is followed by telogen phase and this normally lasts about three months. During this period, the hair gets o rest from growth. The last part of the cycle is where the grown hair falls and gets replaced with new hair.

Other than through the cycle, hair loss can also be due to a number of reasons including diseases or use of drugs. With age, men get to lose the hair on top of their heads leaving behind an interesting shape with hair at the sides of the head. This is what is known as the male-pattern baldness. This is caused by the genes of the individual and catalyzed by the hormone testosterone.

There are disorders that also cause hair loss. An autoimmune condition known as alopecia has its sufferers losing hair on the scalp as well as other parts of their bodies. Other conditions known to cause hair loss include;

  • Medications
  • Severe infections
  • Major surgery
  • Overactive or underactive thyroid.
  • Stress
  • Hormonal problems.
  • Pregnancy
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Fungal infection on the scalp.

Hair damage.

Some activities that we subject our hair to can pose great threats in terms of damaging the hair in an extent that will eventually lead to hair loss. Highlighting, straightening, perming and blow drying can leave the hair weak and thin, brittle and unmanageable. To treat split hair, one will need to

  • Avoid over brushing. Use a soft flexible hair brush.
  • Avoid towel drying.
  • Use conditioner.

Hair loss happens as a result of numerous factors. The situation can be quite embarrassing; affecting the physical appearance of a person which consequently lowers self-esteem. Apart from practicing basic hygiene, it’s advisable to seek medical treatment for severe cases. Dermatologists conduct tests in order to establish the exact cause, which enables them to determine the most appropriate treatment method.

It’s also important to note the following:

  • When the problem starts
  • Whether it’s sudden or gradual
  • Medication you may be taking
  • Diet
  • Pregnancies, menopause and periods (for women)

In some cases, dermatologists may need to take a sample from the scalp to establish the cause. The scalp tests may be combined with other tests for comprehensive results. The doctor may schedule several appointments.

What Are the Hair Loss Treatments?

Treatment becomes much easier when you treat this condition as soon as it appears. Acting early means seeking medical assistance before you lose plenty of hair. There are several options including:

  • Minoxidil- It’s available over-the-counter without prescription. Minoxidil works its way through the scalp when applied and prevents thinning of the hair. In addition, it also rekindles growth thus enables you to recover from hair loss much quicker. This product is approved for both women and men by the FDA.
  • Laser Products- These are generally gadgets, like combs and brushes, which are hand-operated. They release laser light which combats the loss by accelerating the growth process. Some people may experience better results than others. Although it’s possible to enjoy youthful hair in short time duration, safety must always be considered.
  • Finasteride- This is a prescription drug specifically designed for men. It’s available as a pill with an efficiency rate of 88%. Finasteride inhibits the production of the DHT hormone that leads to loss of hair in men.
  • Corticosteroid- Some people suffer from hair loss as a result of irritation. To curb this occurrence, doctors can inject the patient with corticosteroid. The medicine is administered through the scalp and helps in accelerating growth immensely.

What Are the Medical Procedures?

The amount of damage suffered will be a major determinant of the procedure. Dermatologists will try to restore the hair to its initial state through one of the following techniques:

  • Hair Transplantation- Inflammation on the scalp can be treated through this procedure. Healthy skin is normally removed from another part of the body and then transplanted onto the scalp.
  • Scalp Reduction- This is one of the most common hair loss procedures. In this option, the area of the scalp affected by baldness is cut out and the remaining skin is tightened. The surgery can work on its own or in combination with the transplant.
  • Scalp Expansion- This procedure takes approx 4 weeks. An apparatus is inserted inside the scalp and removed after the time period. The skin will stretch thus enabling the doctor to get rid of the balding areas easily.
  • Scalp Flaps- Doctors remove an area of the scalp that has plenty of hair and insert it in the problem area. The surgical procedure is quite effective in correcting hair loss.

Ingrown hair is a common problem which causes hair to grow back into the skin after shaving or tweezing. This normally results in inflammation and irritation and can affect in people with tightly coiled hair and shave, wax or pluck their hair. Electrolysis to remove the hair can also cause ingrown hair.

Ingrown hair may cause a localized pain along with bumps in the area where hair has been removed. The bumps are usually just embarrassing for many people.

You can avoid ingrown hair by not removing your hair at all. However, if this cannot be avoided, you can consider alternative air removing methods that may have a lower risk of ingrown hairs.

Risk factors

People with tightly curled hair are most susceptible to ingrown hairs; therefore, the condition is mostly common in blacks and Hispanics.

Signs and symptoms

Ingrown hair is common in men in the beard region, which includes the cheeks, chin and the neck. Men who shave their heads may have it in their scalp. In females, ingrown hair is common in areas such as the armpits, the pubic regions and the legs.

Signs and symptoms of ingrown hair include:

  • Tiny, solid bumps
  • Small pus-filled lesions
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Darkening of the skin, also known as hyperpigmentation
  • Itching
  • Embedded hair

 

When to seek medical attention

If ingrown hair is occasional; it is not a cause for concern.

See a doctor if:

  • Ingrown hair is chronic. Your doctor may be able to help to control the problem
  • Excessive unwanted hair growth results in ingrown hair, if you are a woman. In this case, the doctor will most probably determine the cause of the condition and treatment.

Treatment

In order to prevent ingrown hairs, the best method is to stop methods of hair removal such as shaving, plucking or waxing hair. If you really have to remove hair, it is better if you consider laser treatment for hair removal, which will remove the hair from deeper within the hair follicles to prevent re-growth more effectively. However, it may take several treatments until you can inhibit growth completely.

Medications may be prescribed by your health care provider if ingrown hair is too bothersome for you. Retinoids may be prescribed by your doctor to help remove dead skin cells from the skin surface. Retinoids can also help relieve thickening and hyperpigmentation of the affected regions of the skin that often occurs on dark skin that is susceptible to ingrown hairs.

Corticosteroids may be prescribed as well to control inflammation of the skin.

Topical antibiotics can help prevent infection that is causing by excessive scratching of the affected regions. For more severe infections, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.