information on hair diseases and their remedies
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Home >> Infectious hair diseases >> Treatment for the infectious hair diseases
In medical terms, infectious diseases are caused by a biological agent such as virus, bacteria or parasite. Unlike hair shaft disorders, most of the infectious hair loss diseases like tinea capitis, folliculitius or seborrheic dermatitis do respond to medications. Acquired hair shaft disorders like trichorrexxis nodosa do not require any hair loss treatment product and may be cured naturally with healthy diet and proper hair care products.
A patient suffering from severe alopecia is a common diagnosis made in every dermatology clinic. But before beginning any treatment of alopecia the dermatologist focuses on the diagnosis to examine the type and intensity of hair loss. Once the diagnosis of the disease is complete, appropriate treatment of the alopecia with a suitable hair loss treatment product naturally follows.
Hair loss treatment products for Tinea Capitis
Tinea Capitis is a common condition that can involve fungal infection in which the fungus invades the hair shaft and causes the hairs to break. It also results in inflammation and scaling of the scalp.
Treatment for ringworm of the scalp varies depending on the various types of fungus involved. Some types of ringworm infection will resolve spontaneously and so no treatments are required.
The most common treatment for tinea capitis is an antibotic called Griseofulvin. It gradually accumulates in the hair follicle and it binds with keratin which is a key component of hair. The Griseofulvin blocks the fungus from infecting the keratin. More recently, some types of fungus causing tinea capitis have been showing some resistance to the drug Griseofulvin. Instead, newer anti-fungal drugs like Terbinafine, Itraconazole, and Fluconazole can be prescribed.
Fluconazole, Terbinafine and Itraconazole drug medications have been reported to be effective in children suffering with tinea capitis. Though the Terbinafine drug is reported to be effective, the quantity of the dosage should be fixed in accordance to the weight of the patient. Children who weigh less than 20kg can take only 62.5 mg/day while children weighing around 20–40kg can take 125 mg/day. Children weighing more than 40kg can intake 250 mg/day which is the standard adult dosage.
A few uncommon side effects like gastrointestinal disturbances and skin reactions were reported with the use of these three drugs. But these side effects are rarely evident in few people.
Treatment for Sebhorreic Dermatitis
Medicated shampoos and ointment application
Medicated shampoos with formulating agents like selenium sulfide, sulfur, Zinc pyrithione and Ketoconazole are the most effective treatment for sebhorreic dermatitis. Current research has suggested that fluconazole and metronidazole as the best potential agents for this fungal infection.
Though medicated shampoos are the best treatment for dandruff, African-American people must use this hair loss treatment product with caution. Unlike the other ethnic groups, African-Americans are recommended not to use the medicated hair care product too frequently as it may lead to dryness and damage to the hair fiber. The application of a moisturizing hair conditioner either mixed with the anti-dandruff shampoo or just applied after hair cleansing helps to prevent brittle hair.
If the seborrheic dermatitis is particularly extensive or stubborn, an oral treatment of ketoconazole, is effective for both the infected scalp and body. Despite its efficacy, however, oral ketoconazole has potential adverse effects, with prolonged use. Alternative treatments of Itraconazole, oral terbinafine may be effective against seborrheic dermatitis.
Topical corticosteroids are also commonly used to treat seborrheic dermatitis as these agents have an anti-inflammatory effect. In the past high-potency steroids were used for this severe infection but the adverse effects associated with prolonged use of potent corticosteroids lessened their popularity. Currently, low-potency corticosteroids application to the skin are preferred.
Experimental studies have suggested that topical tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream associated with corticosteroids have potential anti-inflammatory activity against various infectious skin and hair diseases.
Other than these medicated hair care products and oral treatments, a ciclopirox gel can also be effective for this fungal infection. This gel contains the free acid of ciclopirox instead of the salt which is useful in sebhorreic dermatitis treatment.
Hair loss treatment products for folliculitis
Folliculitis can be of various intensity and it can involve superficial or deep inflammation. Folliculitis can be caused by different types of micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi viruses or even parasites. Bacterial induced folliculitis is the most common infection on the scalp. In contrast fungal folliculitis and parasitic folliculitis are relatively rare, though when they do occur the folliculitis can be quite severe.
Deep folliculitis generally doesn't affect the scalp though it can affect other hair growing areas of the body.
General treatments for superficial bacterial folliculitis include antibiotics such as mupirocin or fusidic acid ointment. In severe cases, topical steroids may be used to reduce the inflammation. Also, physical treatments like gentle removal of the crusts from the location of infection ensure that the hair loss treatment product enters directly onto the skin. Medications that are applied directly on the affected skin will be more effective rather than being applied on top of the crust.
To eliminate skin colonization caused by a staphylococcal infection, a daily 5- minute bath with Oilatum is recommended by some dermatologists. Oilatum is a liquid paraffin compound with moisturizing and antiseptic properties. It is effective in treating various superficial and deep bacterial infections.
Also, to eliminate all types of contaminated carriers of the infectious agents, clothing, bed and bath linen should be washed in hot water.
There are an increasing number of medicines and other effective hair loss treatment products in the market that are very helpful to combat with any type of infectious hair disease and hair loss caused by infection. But sometimes these helpful tools may become harmful agents for the patients. Medications or other hair loss treatment products can lead to damaging effects largely due to improper labeling, packaging, or use by the patient. Improper packaging leads to the destruction of the useful properties especially when they come in contact with sunlight as sunlight can chemically alter and break down some types of medications used to treat infectious hair diseases. Labeling is important to instruct the patient the correct use of the medication and of course it is important for the patient to follow the instructions closely.
So it is very necessary that before using any medicines or other hair loss treatment products carefully examine the manufacturing date and other safety guidelines. When in doubt, contact your doctor for instructions.
Aditya K. Gupta, Robyn Bluhm, Elizabeth A. Cooper, Richard C. Summerbell, Roma Batra, “Seborrheic Dermatitis”, 2003, Dermatol Clin 21 401–412.
Shannon Harrison and Rodney Sinclair, “Optimal Management of Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Children”, 2003; Am J Clin Dermatol 4 (11)