Trichotillomania, also known as trichotillosis or trich, rather than being an actual disease of the hair, is a mental condition, which adversely affects the hair. Trichotillomania is an impulse control
disorder, in which sufferers have repeated and compulsive urges to pull their hair out, with such aggression, that it often results in noticeable bald patches appearing on the head.
Because it is a mental
disorder, Trichotillomania is difficult to treat and needs to be dealt with extreme caution. Low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder are commonly associated with people suffering
Signs that an individual is deliberately pulling their hair out range from the obvious bald patches visible on the head, hair of differing lengths, broken hair and blunt ends, but also
some patients may be ashamed of their compulsions and be intent on ‘hiding’ the evidence by wearing wigs and hats.
Diagnosis of the disease usually comes through self-admittance, but for those who deny the
disorder; tests for other diseases of the hair which result in similar symptoms need to be performed to rule them out. Because Trichotillomania is a mental condition, treatments usually consist of referrals to
psychiatrists and psychologists and putting the patient on behavior modification programs rather than pharmacological interventions.
Although medications related to depression and anxiety, can also be
prescribed, such as Prozac and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Hypnotherapy also often has beneficial results in patients suffering from Trichotillomania.
Folliculitis is a hair disease which causes inflammation of individual hair follicles, which is not restricted to the hair on the scalp but can occur anywhere on the body. When the follicles become swollen, it
causes painful red bumps to appear on the skin. Folliculitis is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection, although less frequently it can be caused by non-bacterial factors including friction from tight
clothing or shaving. Anybody can be affected by Folliculitis and it does usually clear up quite quickly by using antiseptic creams such as chlorhexidine or triclosan.
Tinea Capitis, or more commonly known as ‘scalp ringworm, is a fungal infection of the scalp. Primarily this hair disease is caused by dermatophytes which invade the hair shaft. Symptoms are fairly easy to
detect and commonly include scaly swellings of the scalp, raised red rings on the scalp, as well as dandruff and itching and bald patches occurring where the fungus ‘eats away’ at the hair.
Capitis affects pre-pubertal children, the majority of whom are boys. A microscopic examination of the scalp and hair usually confirms Tinea Capitis. Treatments of the disease range from oral medications such
as griseofulvin, applying topical creams to the affected area, to sprinkling antifungal granules on a child’s food. Generally the effective therapy rate of Tinea Capitis is quite high.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a disorder of the skin which affects the scalp and causes excessive itching and flakiness. Temporary hair loss readily occurs with those suffering from Seborrhoeic dermatitis and in
some cases can even lead to permanent hair loss if the hair follicles are badly damaged.
Environmental, hereditary, hormonal and immune-system factors have all been associated with causing Seborrhoeic
dermatitis, although the exact cause remains ambiguous. Seborrhoeic dermatitis affects both adults and children, although within children an excessive intake of vitamin A has been linked to causing the
disease. Treatments include topical, cleansers and shampoos which contain sulfur, salicylic acid and coal tar.