"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" - Gandhi.
Hair disorders can present as either hair loss or excessive hair growth.Hair loss may refer to excessive shedding or baldness (or both). Balding can be localised or diffuse, scarring or non-scarring. Increased hair can be due to hormonal factors (hirsutism) or non-hormonal (hypertrichosis.
To better understand hair disorders one needs to know the cycle of hair growth. Hair grows from the follicle or root underneath the scalp skin. It goes through 4 stages called anagen (growing stage-80-90% of hairs,lasting for 2-6 years for scalp hair), catagen(regression stage), telogen(resting stage 10-15% of last for approximately 3 months) and exogen(new hair phase-old hair sheds about 50-150 a day, new hairs grows) . Every hair on scalp is at a different stage of growth cycle. The rate of hair growth per day is about 1.25 cm per month.
Some of the common hair disorders are mentioned below.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss. This disorder occurs in both males and females, also known as male-pattern or female-pattern hair loss. This type of hair loss might be associated with other medical problems. In men hair loss begins above the temples and progresses to involve the crown. In women hair becomes thinner all over the head.
Telogen effluvium is the second most common form of hair loss. It is marked by a significant decrease in scalp hair. This condition is related to diffuse alopecia, and diagnosis can be made once other hair disorders have been ruled out.Telogen effluvium may follow two or three months after child birth, sudden weight loss, blood loss, fever or stress.
Diffuse alopecia is hair loss from the scalp can also be caused by infections, nutritional deficiencies, imbalance of hormones or other physical or emotional stressors, alopecia areata or even medications.
Alopecia areata is the most common cause of one or more areas of localised baldness on the scalp and other hair-bearing areas. It is an autoimmune skin disease and is more common in those affected by, or with a family history of other autoimmune disease. Although the onset may be at any age, it most often starts in childhood or young adult life.
Traction alopecia describes gradual hair loss that is caused by chronic pulling. Hair that is forced in certain directions, typically through use of braids, ponytails, barrettes, weaves, dreadlocks or protective headgear, can result in significant hair thinning. It is particularly noticeable around the temples and behind the ears
These disorders may result in scarring (cicatricial alopecia) in which there is shiny pale skin and reduced or absent follicular orifices. Some of the common ones include
If you suspect you have any of the above mentioned hair disorders you must see your dermatologist.