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What should i do for hair loss and white flakes in the scalp?

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Practicing since : 2002
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Hi, I am 24 yr old male 5'11 and a clean medical history and for the last year I have been experiencing a lot of hair loss and its all been in the temples and at the same time a lot of white flakes in the scalp which has never occured before. I changed shampoos to a JustNatural organic hair care hair loss shampoo and I have been experiencing less hair loss but still flaky. I have set an appointment with a dermatologist but it's not for a month and wanted to see if I could get any answers on here. And hair loss is not something found in my family and its not stress related. Any suggestions?
Posted Wed, 11 Apr 2012 in Hair Loss
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 33 minutes later
Hello and thanks for the query.

Your question is a good one and I will try to provide some reassurance and information regarding what is going on. You are very young to be experiencing hair loss but it does sometimes occur in your age group.

Your history of flaking of the scalp is pertinent and may be related as well. This is sometimes referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition that makes the skin look greasy, scaly and flaky. It usually affects the scalp. In adolescents and adults, seborrheic dermatitis is commonly called "dandruff." In babies, it is known as "cradle cap." Seborrheic dermatitis can also affect the skin on other parts of the body, such as the face and chest, and the creases of the arms, legs and groin. This can be a potential cause for the hair loss.

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis. The cause may be different in infants and adults. Seborrheic dermatitis may run in families. The condition seems to be related to hormones, because the disorder often appears in infancy and disappears before puberty. Or the cause might be a fungus, called malassezia. This organism is normally present on the skin in small numbers, but sometimes its numbers increase, resulting in skin problems.

This is usually treated with a shampoo that contains salicylic acid (some brand names: Scalpicin, X-Seb), selenium sulfide (brand names: Exsel, Selsun Blue) or zinc pyrithione (some brand names: DHS Zinc, Head & Shoulders). These shampoos can be used 2 times a week. Shampoos that contain coal tar (some brand names: DHS Tar, Neutrogena T/Gel, Polytar) may be used 3 times a week. You might start by using one of these shampoos daily until your dandruff is controlled, and then use it 2 or 3 times a week.

Rub the shampoo into your hair thoroughly and let it stay on your hair and scalp for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. This will give it time to work. Next important is personal hygiene using personal comb, keeping your hair dry when you go out. Keep the hair short so that it is easy to maintain.

If the shampoo alone doesn't help, your doctor might want you to use a prescription steroid lotion once or twice daily, in addition to the shampoo.

As for the hair loss - topical remedies such as Rogaine Foam have generally been used with good success in maintaining hair and also in promoting hair growth. Lastly Propecia - a medication - has been proven to be effective as an alternative to the topical agents or is used if the topical remedies do not help.

I thank you again for your query. I hope you have found this answer to be both helpful and informative. Should you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
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