Scalp Diseases

Listed (A-Z) below are brief descriptions of scalp conditions.


This is a form of scalp folliculitis, which affects the hair follicles of the scalp by causing inflammation. Some of the characteristics are small spots that can be very itchy. The spots are mainly on the scalp, especially towards the frontal area but they can spread to the face and other parts of the body. We offer acne treatments in our clinic, please contact the helpline number to speak to a consultant.

This is a severe type of scalp folliculitis. It is also known as Acne frontalis. At this stage the spots are bigger, inflamed, very sore and with pustules that can develop into dark or black crusts that may leave scarring behind. This affects mainly the scalp and face. This condition can be treated in our clinic. Please contact the helpline for more information.

Alopecia Areata is a highly unpredictable autoimmune disease of the skin. This occurs when the immune system begins to attack the healthy or normal body tissues by way of autoreactive antibodies. Alopecia areata appears as either singular or multiple bald spots on the scalp or other parts of the body. The affected areas will present with hairs that look like exclamation marks towards the bottom. In most cases the hair will return back to normal; however in some cases the condition might progress to another stage called 'totalis' which is loss of hair from the rest of the scalp or 'universalis', which refers to loss of all hair from the body and scalp. We can help to manage this condition in our clinic after diagnosis.

This is a common androgen-dependent trait in which there is a progressive decline in the activity and size of scalp hair follicles. Testosterone is the major circulating androgen in men; excess testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5∂-reductase and DHT acts adversely on hair follicles. This substance will affect the anagen phase (growth stage) of the hair as the follicle will begin to miniaturise, and the hair shaft itself will experience thinning. There will also be a receding hairline at the frontal-temporal region that will mimic an 'M' shape due to permanent loss of active hair follicles. The vertex and parietal hair can also be affected and the hair loss can happen as a gradual process from any time after puberty. Caucasian men are more affected and the records show 80% in their 70s and above experience androgenic alopecia. Please contact the helpline for more information.

Women can also be affected by DHT except that the effect is less dramatic and does not progress to complete pattern baldness. This also happens as a gradual process and there is usually a diffuse thinning on the scalp and frontal-temporal recession. Please contact our helpline for more information.

This is an abnormal eating disorder that is characterised by self-starvation and very picky eating due to fear of gaining weight. The condition could be chronic. Anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder and would need psychotherapeutic intervention but it often causes other health complications too, some of which relate to hair. This is a disease that can lead to muscle pain, abdominal pain, depression, loneliness and suicidal thoughts. In severe cases the disease can result in heart problems, infertility, premature birth, damage to the kidneys or liver, edema and loss of memory. The anagen phase (growth stage) of hair will also be affected and this can cause miniaturization or thinning of the hair and early telogen transition; this is to say anorexia sufferers can experience abnormal hair loss from the scalp. They can also develop soft downy hairs (lanugo hair) on the skin of the arms and chest. We can help to diagnose the condition and send you to the correct place for help. Please visit our clinic or call to speak to our consultant.

This is a psychological disorder that causes binge eating and purging soon after. This is a compulsive disorder whereby excessive eating is followed by guilt and self-induced vomiting. Most patients suffering from bulimia are usually convinced that they are overweight and this normally causes depression, lack of confidence and low esteem. Patients affected with this condition will need counselling from a psychotherapist but some may seek help from a trichologist because they may also experience hair loss and lanugo hair formation as a result of bulimia nervosa. Please contact us for more information.

This is a common condition that is characterised by flaking, scaling and shedding of the corneum layer. There can be mild itching with no inflammation. The condition is often associated with Pityrosporum Ovale, a harmless lipophilic yeast that resides on the top layer of the scalp and skin. In certain cases this could be an indication of an underlying disease. Please call our helpline for consultation.

This is a skin condition that is characterized by inflammation of the epidermis layer, itching, dry skin and crusting on the scalp. There are different types of eczema, which can be distinguished by the different characteristics, and aetiologies that can overlap in certain cases. Seborrhoeic eczema and atopic eczema are the most common diseases treated by family doctors, it affects 1-3% of adults and leans slightly towards males. Seborrhoeic eczema is synonymous to seborrhoeic dermatitis, a skin and scalp disorder, so as atopic eczema is also classified as atopic dermatitis. Eczema can be associated with asthma and hay fever in certain cases. In severe cases there can be symptoms of tiny oozing vesicles that will eventually become crusted with thick and itchy plaques of dead skin. In our Leeds clinic we provide light therapy, a technology that is commonly used in treating the condition. We encourage a diagnosis first before any treatment regimens begin. Please call our helpline for consultation.

Anagen effluvium is loss of hair during the growth phase whilst telogen effluvium is hair loss that happens prematurely due to certain conditions like fever and stress among others. In normal circumstances 10% of the hair shaft is in telogen phase (exit stage) at any given time, so losing 50 to 100 strands of hair every day is normal. When it gets to be significantly more than that, you may need to see a specialist. Please contact our helpline if you notice that your hair is shedding more than usual.

This is a chronic scalp disorder that inflames and damages hair follicles leading to scarring alopecia. It initially appears in a multiple of 16 to 100 tiny papules that dominate the cranium, occipital and vertex areas of the scalp but occasionally appears in other hairy regions like beards and armpits. The characteristics of this condition are redness, pinpointed follicular erythema, pustules and crusts on the hair- bearing regions. It can also be accompanied with symptoms of soreness, tenderness, burning sensations and itchy papules. In severe cases these pustules can result in mild hemorrhaging of lesions that will lead to permanent scars. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This condition affects postmenopausal women of between 40 and 80 years. This is described as the recession of hair in a symmetric band at the frontal-temporal region. The hair loss happens in a gradual manner and may come with itching as well as shiny and atrophic skin, erythema and mild hyperkeratosis. Please contact our clinic for more information.

Iron is predominantly required in the body to make haemoglobin which has the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells hence iron deficiency can cause anaemia, paleness of the skin, fatigue, hair loss and a few other symptoms. Vitamin B12 is also important for the production of red blood cells, the function of nervous system and the brain. These types of vitamins can only be acquired through diet. Please contact our helpline for more information.

Fever is not an illness but a response to an illness, with a characteristic high body temperature that rises above the normal 98.6F (37.5c). High fever is usually caused by an infection from a microbe bacteria, fungus or virus. The microbe releases pyrogens into the blood circulatory system and this will result in pyrexia (fever). Please contact our helpline for more information.

This is a condition caused by a virus called Varicella Zoster, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. This is a highly contagious disease that manifests after about 14 days of incubation after being exposed to someone with the condition. The initial symptoms are a headache or a flu like fever, burning sensation of the skin, soreness and erythema which is followed by some scattered or compact vesicles that protrude and develop into pustules that will erupt into haemorrhaging lesions. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This the genetic or idiopathic defect of increased hair growth on a woman with male characteristics (e.g the development of facial hair on a woman.) The condition is caused by an increase in circulating androgens and this usually happens after puberty. Some of the characteristics are moustache hair, deep voice, menstruation disorders and others. Please contact our helpline for more information.

This is the rare condition of abnormal or excess hair growth, which could be lanugo, vellus or terminal. The hair will grow in the form of patches that spread out to certain areas of the body or could cover the entire body except for the palms and soles. Please contact our helpline for more information.

This is a highly contagious disease of the skin that is also known as school sores due to fact that it is common in school children. It is a bacterial infection that mainly affects the epidermal layer. Staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus pyogenes are the causative bacteria. The infection can spread through skin contact, sharing of clothes, combs, towels, bedding, sports and swimming pools. The symptoms can be itching, redness, vesicles with pustules that surround the hair strands, crusting and mild hair loss. Please contact or visit our clinic for more information.

This is a condition that affects adults from all ethnicities and is common in females. It usually occurs within the age range of 25 and 75 years but is more common among females in their forties and fifties. Planopilaris can be very pruritic and presents with perifollicular inflammation, hyperkeratosis, erythema, burning sensations, scalp tenderness, increased shedding and scarring alopecia in severe cases. Please contact us for help.

A chronic and inflammatory autoimmune disease that is more common in Afroid and Asian ethnicities, though it can affect Caucasian people also. Discoid lupus is when only the skin and scalp is involved. Systemic lupus can also affect the skin but it affects the internal organs also. Lupus most often affects middle-aged women and some of the symptoms are skin rash, fever, hair loss, swelling, pain in the joints, fatigue, sensitivity to sunlight and other symptoms. Please contact our clinic for more information.

These are life-threatening growths of cancerous tumours that originate from melanocytes, the pigment producing cells that give skin its brown or tan colour. These are different from benign tumours (non-malignant melanomas). Malignant Melanomas will at some point develop into secondary cancerous growths; they break away from their point of origin and spread through the bloodstream to other body tissues, where they multiply into more tumours. Melanoma is primarily caused by excessive absorption of UV radiation from the sun or tanning machines, which leads to DNA mutation. This causes cancer if the change is within the original code of proto-oncogenes or tumour suppressor genes within the melanocyte cell nucleus. This causes rapid and uncontrolled cell production because certain genes are supposed to suppress hyperactive cell division. This condition can also be predisposed through genetics and may develop from an ordinary mole or freckle on the skin. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes intense itching of the skin and scalp. It's related to the nervous system. It affects any age group, ethnicity and gender. The condition starts with mild irritation before spreading to various parts of the skin and scalp. This can be triggered by anything that causes itching like insect bites, pollen, hair dyes, excessive heat, detergents, sweating, anxiety, dry skin and others. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This is a disease that targets body areas that secrete excess sebum. Malassezia globosa is a harmless fungus that resides on the surface of the scalp; this is a yeast that thrives on sebum, secreted from the sebaceous glands. Seborrheic dermatitis affects mainly the scalp and the characteristics are inflammation of the scalp, flakiness, erythema, itching. In severe cases there can be some lesions under the scales. This condition can be hyperactive during puberty and it is referred to as cradle cap when affecting infants. Please contact our helpline to speak to the consultant.

This is an inherited and rare disease that occurs due to genetic mutation. It is a disease that affects the red blood cells due deficiency of the enzyme uroporphyrinogen cosynthase which is involved in making haem. Some of the characteristics are anaemia, sensitivity to sunlight and hypertrichosis. There is also a change of urine colour (reddish pink) due to porphyrin deposition, chest pains, vomiting, depression, confusion, seizures and others. Please contact us for more information.

This is a hair loss condition that occurs to some women after childbirth. When a woman is pregnant, the hormone oestrogen increases to maintain the pregnancy. This hormone will also help in hair growth by increasing the anagen phase (growth stage) of the hair and reducing the telogen phase (growth arrest before shedding.) The hair will grow faster and healthier with less shedding. When the child is born the oestrogen hormone will revert back to its normal level. The anagen stage of the hair will also revert back and this will cause what seems like sudden diffuse hair loss, as many hairs will be forced into telogen phase (hair loss). This will result in abnormal hair loss but this is temporary, as hair growth will resume back to pre-pregnancy behaviour. Please contact our helpline for more information.

This is an unusual chronic condition that causes scarring alopecia. 'Pseudo' means false and 'pelade' is a French term for alopecia areata. This conveys that the condition will appear like alopecia areata with different aetiology. This condition occurs due to the gradual degeneration of stem cells in the hair follicles. The process could end spontaneously or progress towards permanent hair loss. This condition can also affect the sebaceous glands as they also depend on stem cell division and differentiation. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This is a chronic, dermatitis disease of the skin. It is an autoimmune condition that alters the life cycle of skin cell proliferation by shortening their life span from a month to a week. This will result in a characteristic combination of premature cells and mature dead cells that are thick, dry and silvery with overlapping flaky scales that are crusty (resembling fish scales.) The condition is not contagious and can range from mild erythema and inflammation of the skin to weepy lesions in severe cases. Please contact our clinic as we have facilities that can help.

This is a contagious disease that is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which thrive on nutrients from the dead keratin in the stratum corneum of the skin and scalp. Tinea capitis is common in children, though it can also affect adults. It can manifest in two ways; endothrix and ectothrix. Ectothrix affects mainly the hair shaft. It appears in the shape of a ringworm, with an itchy rash, erythema, inflammation and some breakage of the hair shaft that leaves behind black dots. Endothrix describes when the condition becomes severe and spreads within the skin; causing damage to the pilosebaceous unit and follicles. This can cause lesions (keroin), which can result in scarring alopecia. Please call our helpline for more information.

Tinea favosa This disease mainly affects the scalp (but also the skin) and is caused by fungal infection. It's highly contagious and usually associated with malnutrition and unclean environments. The fungus grows faster in warm, damp and dark environments like unclean and sweaty parts of the skin and scalp. The characteristics are inflammation, thinning of the skin, crusts that encircle hair strands, itching, mousy odour and in severe cases, lesions. This condition can easily spread in families. Please contact our helpline for more information.

Thyroid hormones are secreted by the thyroid gland and have diverse functions; they help with metabolism, protein synthesis, balancing of body calcium and other functions. Thyroid dysfunction can be caused by autoimmune or inherited conditions but it can also be triggered by lack of iodine or too much iodine. An overactive thyroid is referred to as hyperthyroidism (grave's disease) whilst the opposite is referred to as hypothyroidism (hashimoto's disease). Thyroid problems can cause hair to become dry, brittle and coarse and leads to dry scalp, decreased hair growth, diffuse non-scarring alopecia and decreased sebum production. Please visit our clinic for consultation.

This is a self-inflicted condition, that occurs as a result of hairstyles that pull the hair strands from the follicles. The condition happens as a gradual process to the point of permanent hair loss. Styles like braiding, cornrows and ponytails can cause inflammation and injury to the hair follicles due to sustained mechanical force. In most cases the damaged follicles will not recover, and this will result in permanent scarring under the skin. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This is an inherited autosomal recessive disease. The name is derived from the Greek words 'tricho' for hair, 'thio' meaning sulphur and 'dystrophy', which means wasting away. TTD is caused by a genetic mutation; the genes are passed on from both parents, who carry the mutation even though they do not show the signs. The condition is more common in children than adults but can equally affect all genders and races. TTD can affect other areas of the body including the hair shaft. The characteristics of TTD on hair are brittleness, which occurs due to lack of sulphur content in the hair. The hair will appear scanty, short, fragile and will easily break. Please contact our clinic for more information.

This is the chronic or acute condition of skin allergy, caused by an infection or due to an autoimmune reaction. Urticaria is characterised by erythema, a raised rash and bumps that can sometimes itch. This is a condition that affects more women than men and can often affect children. Please contact our clinic to speak to the consultant.

This is a disease triggered by an autoimmune reaction that results in loss of melanin in the skin and hair. The characteristics of vitiligo are patches of lighter skin when compared to the original skin tone and also white patches of hair on the affected areas. Vitiligo can be classed into three categories; segmental, non-segmental and universalis. These three types can be distinguished by symmetry, location, age of onset and coverage. This is neither contagious nor life threatening. Please contact our clinic for more information.

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