Types of hair disorders and their cures Reviewed by Momizat on . Herbal Chikitsa Human hair has many functions. It gives us the feeling of and sensation of touch, adds to the beauty of face and protects sensitive areas, such Herbal Chikitsa Human hair has many functions. It gives us the feeling of and sensation of touch, adds to the beauty of face and protects sensitive areas, such Rating: 0
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Types of hair disorders and their cures

Types of hair disorders and their cures

Herbal Chikitsa

Human hair has many functions. It gives us the feeling of and sensation of touch, adds to the beauty of face and protects sensitive areas, such as the nose and eyes, from dust. Hair also keeps us warm during winters. Genetic factors determine colour, curl, thickness and amount of hair.

There many problems associated with hair, shedding, baldness, infections, excess growth (hirsutism) and developmental disorders being the main hair disorders that adversely affect the self esteem of an individual.
How and where are hair originate?

Underneath the texture of skin there are bulbs which are the only living part of the hair. Hair grows on these bulbs in a process called keratinisation, keratin being the protein hair is made up of. Keratin also makes up nails and the outer layer of the skin. Multiplication and maturing of cells into fibre cells determines the length of hair.

Each follicle produces hair for a period of months to years, before the bulb undergoes spontaneous involution and disappears. The follicle remains latent for a period extending to three months. After this, remnants of the follicle regenerate stem cells and new hair bulbs are formed.

An entirely new hair is sprout during the growth phase shedding the old ones. Every month, hair grows by one centimeter and the duration of growth determines length.

While most hairs constantly grow for three years on the scalp, in the armpits and groin, the growth typically only lasts six to nine months, and the hairs stop growing.

Hair disorders
Hair disorders can be divided into broadly five categories. They are:
• Shedding of hair
• Baldness
• Hair infections
• Developmental disorders
• Excess hair.

Shedding of hair

Hair loss or telogen or anagen effluvium is a natural process. Every day we lose some hairs and get new ones in a continuous cycle of growth, rest and renewal. However, there are certain conditions in which abnormal hair shedding can happen. These include severe illness, pregnancy, certain medications and chemotherapy.

Baldness

Baldness or androgen tic alopecia occurs when testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) modify the type of hair fibre produced within hair follicles. In the process, long thick terminal hairs transform into short, fine vellus hairs over time. This change occurs in a predictable pattern.
Baldness begins in men with slump in hair at temples before extending to the crown in typical male baldness, while in women androgen tic alopecia does not result in complete baldness but produces a progressive loss of hair volume over the crown.

There are innumerable genes associated with premature baldness. Elaborate medical research has ensured development of treatment for androgenetic alopecia. With prescription medications one can stop the process of hair loss and ensure hair regrowth albeit partially.

In alopecia areata which sometimes associated with autoimmune disease, hair loss occurs in round patches on the scalp of head. In severe cases of alopecia areata, not only hair on the scalp but also on body is shed from the follicle. However, the hair sometimes regrows spontaneously follicles not being destroyed but dormant in alopecia areata.
In most such cases, medical treatment can ensure regrowth of hair. Alopecia areata leads to low self esteem, depression and even suicide.Scarring alopecia is another form of disorder in which inflammation destroys the hair stem cells and leads to a permanent bald patch. Treatment by specialist dermatologist can stop progression of the baldness.

Excess hair

Excess hair or hirsutism is a disorder typical to women in which thick, dark hair in typically ‘male’ areas of body such as the face, chest and back grow. A common cause of hirsutism is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, in most cases the cause of excess hair could not be ascertained.

Hair infections

Hair infections in some cases are contagious. Here are two examples of hair infections:

Ringworm
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the scalp. It generally starts with a small circle of red, itchy and scaly skin. With the growth of this ring the hairs within its circumference snap off close to the scalp.

Folliculitis
This is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles which produces pimples on the scalp. However, it generally does not result in hair loss as in the case of other infections.
Other disorders

Among the hair disorders, developmental disorder is one which is caused by the inheritance of altered genes. This results in either hair loss or altered hair fibre formation.
Over-processing (excessive treatments such as bleaching, colouring or perming) for cosmetic purposes can also deteriorate the strength of the hair shaft and cause breakage of hair.

Points to ponder
• Hair loss is a common problem
• Treatments for most cases of hair loss have been made possible through medical research
• Dermatology provides answer to diseases of the skin, hair and nails

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