Is Hair Loss and Itchy Scalp an Allergic Reaction to Styling Product?'

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Question: I’m 33 and my hair has always been thick. I always let it get real long in the winter and get it cut during the summer. I got it cut pretty short and bought a new kind of hair product that worked great. I noticed a few days after the hair cut that my head was itchy and I thought since my hair was so short, that it was a sunburn. I stopped using the new product along with others and my head is still itchy and I’m getting flakes/scabs of skin and little pimples/blood crystals. Dandruff has never been a problem for me. My hair isn’t falling out a lot, but I have noticed I’m starting to thin on my crown where most of the itching is. My dog also had fleas really bad and thought maybe it had to do with that, but I never felt anything crawling on me. I started to use Selsun Blue with caffeine in it and also a conditioner to help damaged hair. It cut down on the itching, but my hair is still coming out a little bit. Nothing drastic though. I just can’t stop itching even though I’m trying to fight it. So could this of just been a reaction to the new hair product?

Answer: Hi, Jamie. From what you describe this is most likely to be a scalp problem that probably flared up either due to your new hair product or possibly something else.

If it was purely an allergic reaction to the new styling product your scalp should really have improved dramatically around two days after you stopped using it. With this in mind a secondary infection is possible as your symptoms are still on-going. We would really need to see you in person, or for you to send us photos via our online form in order to properly diagnose your precise scalp issue. In the meantime wash your hair frequently with warm water and a gentle hypoallergenic shampoo, suitable for every day use, to soothe your scalp.

Regarding the hair loss you have been experiencing, as it is concentrated around your crown area this is almost certainly genetic. A thinning crown indicates that this shedding is likely to be the early stages of Male Pattern Baldness which, especially when it takes this particular hard-to-see pattern, you may not have noticed until you cut your hair short. A hair loss specialist will be able to assess both your scalp problems and your hair loss then recommend a personalised plan comprising suitable treatments for both.

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