Archive for June 26th, 2011

SKIN DISORDERS IN ADULTS: MALE-PATTERN HAIR THINNING AND ALOPECIA AREATA

Male-pattern hair thinningBalding in women occurs in the same way as it does in men. It is generally less severe and usually occurs diffusely from the front of the scalp to the crown. Some women have a hormone disturbance which causes the hair loss, and can also suffer from excessive hair growth on the face, irregular periods and facial acne. These women produce an excess of male-type hormones.Because it is genetically determined, this type of hair loss cannot be readily prevented. However, oral contraceptive pills which contain high levels of progestogen can aggravate hair loss, while those with high oestrogen and low progestogen can improve the situation. There are no special shampoos, conditioners, lotions or hair treatments that prevent or decrease hair loss.There are several ways this male-pattern hair loss can be treated. These include the use of topical Minoxidil, hair transplantation, the use of hair pieces and make-up, and hair fusion. Refer back to pages 70 to 71 for more details on these techniques. If there is a true hormonal disturbance, hormone treatment can be an option. There are now two anti-male hormone drugs on the market, called Androcur and Aldactone, which can be effective if used on a long-term basis.
Alopecia areataThis condition, which can occur in both adults and children, results in patchy hair loss. It occurs more commonly in people with eczema, and may appear suddenly after a stressful episode. In children it often improves spontaneously, but in adults it can lead to permanent, severe hair loss.The exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by an abnormality in the body’s immune system, whereby the body rejects its own hair in the way it would a foreign protein. If hair loss is limited to a few patches, cortisone injections will successfully treat the problem. If hair loss is extensive however, there are few effective remedies and fifty per cent of sufferers will lose all their hair.
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