From baldness to dandruff, scalp conditions tend to affect men more than they do women. That could mean a faster rate of hair falling out in alopecia. Or it could mean a poorer mental response to severe dandruff.
A full head of hair is a key to confidence as men age. That’s why, when a condition like scalp discoloration affects the health of a man’s hair, a doctor’s visit is in order.
To tie you over until your visit, we created this guide to the top scalp conditions that affect male adults. We’ll also be discussing some of the treatments your doctor may recommend for your scalp condition.
Are you ready to get back the full, healthy hair you had as a youth? Then keep reading this article for the top scalp conditions that affect men.
Scalp discoloration can be defined as any condition that causes the scalp to change colors. Scalp discoloration can be relatively permanent (as with lichen planus) or temporary (like a sunburn). Many different conditions can cause scalp discoloration.
For example, a 2012 study found that some selenium sulfide-containing hair care products may lead to orange-red spots on the scalp. Luckily, ceasing the use of products that discolor your scalp is usually enough to fix the problem.
Meanwhile, seborrheic dermatitis is a severe form of dandruff with semi-permanent red, scaly patches on the scalp. While dandruff does tend to affect men and women at the same rate, men deal with dandruff differently.
One study found that men are 10% more likely to be worried about scaly, dry scalp skin than women. That’s why it’s good news a medicated shampoo is usually enough to alleviate scalp discoloration due to seborrheic dermatitis.
Male Pattern Baldness
Perhaps the most common type of scalp condition to affect men of all ages is male pattern baldness. Men first begin to notice this condition when hair falls out at the temples and the back of the head.
50%+ of all men experience male pattern baldness. Why is the percentage so high? This condition is genetic and it affects the different levels of hormones that change as you age.
The good news is there are effective medications and techniques like micropigmentation to fix the look of baldness. What is scalp micropigmentation? Check out the linked article to learn more.
Like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis is a skin condition in which scaly red patches form on the skin. It can occur on the elbows, knees, and back. When psoriasis affects the scalp, we call it scalp psoriasis.
Unlike conditions related to dandruff, doctors consider psoriasis an autoimmune disorder. That’s why this condition is usually chronic, especially when it’s a symptom of chronic plaque psoriasis.
Often, though, treatments like retinoids or Vitamin D supplementation can help alleviate the itchy, dry feeling of scalp psoriasis.
Ringworm is a common scalp infection that occurs in adventurous young men. Still, the older you are, the more likely you’ve been exposed to the ringworm infection at some point in your life.
Ringworm is a fungus that burrows into the skin. When the infection spreads to your scalp, you can expect the following symptoms:
- Itchy, scaly, and painful scalp skin
- Brittle hair texture
- Swollen lymph nodes and a low fever
The best solution for ringworm is to prevent it in the first place. Avoid sharing combs, hats, or pillows with anyone who might be infected already. Since men tend to be less hygienic, you can see why this scalp condition is more common in men than women.
Another autoimmune disorder, alopecia is a condition in which men lose large amounts of hair at once. This could either be scalp hair or hair on your face, chest, or neck.
Doctors differentiate between alopecia areata (patches of hair loss), alopecia totalis (complete loss of scalp hair), and alopecia universalis (loss of all body hair).
Because it’s an autoimmune disorder, men and women do develop alopecia at similar rates. However, significant hair loss is more likely to occur than men.
Doctors aren’t certain why this occurs. They think it could have to do with a double hit from the autoimmune disorder and a genetic predisposition to male pattern baldness.
If you’ve ever run your hands over a bamboo stalk, you know it’s not completely smooth. Your hand catches on each knot of the stalk. This is a similar experience to running your fingers through bamboo hair.
Bamboo hair is usually a symptom of an underlying condition, Netherton syndrome. However, other related disorders may cause bamboo hair, too. For example, X-link ichthyosis only affects men and leads to discoloration at the base of the scalp.
When men get bamboo hair, it can make growing out your hair difficult. Each strand tends to snap at the knot, which also leads to dry-looking hair.
Unfortunately, bamboo hair isn’t curable because Netherton syndrome is a genetic condition. What you can do is use highly-moisturizing hair care products rich in keratolytics and emollients. Oral retinoids may also be effective for more severe cases.
Head lice is perhaps the only scalp condition on our list that has no gender discrimination. Lice affect men and women equally, especially when it comes to lice in children.
Lice are blood-sucking creatures that spread from one infected person to another. As with ringworm, avoid sharing combs, hats, or pillows to prevent an outbreak. Lice have even been known to pass through headphones, so avoid sharing those, too.
While lice don’t cause permanent scalp damage, the itchy feeling that accompanies them is disturbing. Luckily, there are over-the-counter medications and treatments for lice. The best treatment, though, is prevention.
You Don’t Have to Live with Scalp Conditions
Scalp discoloration, baldness, and other unsightly scalp conditions don’t have to kill your confidence. There are treatments like scalp micropigmentation that can help you feel yourself again.
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