Common problems affecting the hair and scalp include hair loss, infections, and disorders causing itching and scaling.
Hair loss (alopecia) is a frequent concern for both men and women, although it is normal to shed some hair each day. People who experience more than normal hair loss may have the inherited tendency to “common baldness.” Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men, with a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head. Women may develop female pattern baldness in which the hair becomes thin over the entire scalp. Sudden and temporary loss of a large amount of hair may be related to the stress of an illness or recent delivery of a baby (telogen effluvium). Alopecia areata causes hair loss in small, round patches while tight elastics or braids may cause hair loss at the hairline (traction alopecia). Certain diseases (eg, thyroid problems, diabetes, and lupus), medicines, or poor nutrition may also cause hair loss.
Infections of the scalp include bacterial infection of hair follicles (folliculitis), infestation of head lice (pediculosis capitis), and fungal infection of scalp ringworm (tinea capitis). Itching and excessive flaking of the scalp is seen with both dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) and psoriasis.
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