Alopecia areata and viral or bacterial infection


The skin and scalp are very sensitive not only to what is happening within the body but also to its surroundings. Infections whether viral or bacterial can have an adverse effect on the body and cause the loss of hair from the head as well as all over the body. For the most part this type of hair loss, alopecia areata, will grow back once the condition has cleared.

Exposure to mould can cause some people to start losing hair. Mould spores in the air are breathed in and can cause allergic reactions in some people. The body’s immune system will create the chemical histamine which disrupts the flow of blood in the capillaries. When the hair follicles do not get enough blood supply and nutrients they start to shrink and the hair falls out. There are medications available to counteract the reaction but the cause needs to be eliminated to prevent further reactions.

The body’s immune system is very sensitive and if allergies are being fought there are more chances of the hair being affected. Some people are allergic to dust mite excretion which has the immune system creating the chemical histamine. This in turn can cause hair to fall out and thin. It is not permanent, once the problem has been dealt with the hair will start to grow back.

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause patchy hair loss. Ringworm is a parasitic fungi known as dermatophytes which cause the skin to become inflamed and itchy. The hair follicles start to shrink and can no longer hold the hair shaft leaving bald patches. Once the follicles are permanently damaged the hair will not grow back but if caught early and medication clears the problem hair will start to grow back.

Bacterial infections often pass through the body with no adverse effect as the immune system is able to fight it off quickly without damaging any other parts of the body. When the infection is more severe the system works harder and can damage good cells. Much research has been done into how infections can cause damage to the hair when the initial cause has nothing to do with hair. Unfortunately it is the body’s own natural system that has its own way of coping. Fortunately, when the infection is cleared the hair will slowly begin to grow back.

Dermatitis is a skin condition that although is not an infectious disease it can become infected. The skin can become inflamed, oily and scaly, this can damage the hair follicles. They shrink and are unable to hold hair. There are medications available to help clear the condition but for some it is an on-going condition that permanently damages the hair follicles.

Wounds that become infected can not only damage the skin around the area including the hair follicles but without treatment the infection can enter the blood stream and cause damage to other parts of the body. The immune system will not only attack the bad cells but also good cells including the hair follicles in the scalp. Keeping the body healthy is important and if hair loss is noticed advice should be sought as there will be an underlying cause.

Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles. Similar to acne in looks the inflammation in the inner circle surrounds the hair follicles. Without treatment it can irreversibly damage hair follicles and hair will no longer grow. Antibiotics can cure the condition but early diagnosis will prevent permanent bald patches.

Piedra is a fungal infection of hair fibres which can affect hairs on all parts of the body. Nodules form on the hair fibres and when the infection takes hold it can weaken the hair fibres which then break off. This can cause patchy hair loss in the areas of infection. Antifungals are available to cure the infection and the sooner this is started the more successful hair regrowth will be.

Infections, whether viral or bacterial, causing hair loss can happen to male or female at any age. Any signs of thinning hair or more hair loss when washing or brushing than is usual should be looked into. Hair is sensitive to how the body is ‘feeling’ and is a good sign when something is wrong.

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