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Hair Concerns

Top 5 hair conditions and concerns that GPs can help with:

1. Head Lice

As parents we have to deal with our children when they come back from nursery or school and their hair is infested with head lice, and it’s never pleasant. The thought of it alone causes worry and panic. Every mum and dad struggle with how to deal it as it is very contagious and usually involves a lot of washing. However, we can reassure you as head lice do not carry any known human disease and they are not dangerous.

How do I recognise head lice?

  • Lice attach to the skin and feed on human blood, they lay their eggs on hair shafts
  • Nits are white hard oval lice eggs attached to the hair shaft about 1cm from the scalp surface
  • Girls are affected more than boys
  • Head lice are rare in people of African or Afro-Caribbean descent

Head lice treatment

Wet combing with nit comb regularly after washing the hair aids prevention and removes the nits. There are various lotions and shampoos on the market but have not been very effective in the long run. Please see for further advice.

2. Dandruff

Another problem with hair which is very common and affects the scalp is dandruff, which doctors call seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. It is caused by a chronic inflammation of the scalp most likely triggered off by a fungal infection. The scalp sheds dry scaly skin, which is accompanied occasionally by a mild itch. Most annoying is that the dry skin gathers on the clothing which becomes unsightly and can make you feel self-conscious about wearing certain colours.  

Dandruff treatment

  • Regular washing with anti dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders and similar products, which you can buy over the counter
  • Should the problem get worse you can visit your local General Practitioner who can prescribe as steroid based lotion like Betacap or Dermovate scalp lotion, and in severe cases, oral medication may be of help

The Private GPs at London Doctors Clinic can offer same day doctors appointment and offer immediate advice and treatment for scalp conditions such as dandruff.

3. Alopecia

Hair is one of the most important issues when it comes to appearances and making an impression on other people. Everyone is very concerned about losing one’s hair or having issues with it. Below we go through the most common causes of hair loss. One of the main issues affecting the scalp is hair loss and it has various causes.

Alopecia Areata

The term Alopecia is the general term for hair loss. Many people have come across Alopecia areata where they suddenly noticed an area on their scalp where there is no hair. This patch is oval or round. Single or multiple patches of hair loss appear suddenly on the scalp. It can be associated with other auto immune diseases like Hypothyroidism Vitiligo or Colitis but reassuringly in most cases regrowth occurs within 3-4 months. There are various treatment options available and you can discuss them with your General Practitioner.

4. Female Pattern Hair Loss

This is called androgenic alopecia, which occurs in younger women in their 30s and 40s, in contrast to post menopausal hair loss that begins in women in their 50s or 60s or even later in life. There is a genetic disposition to this kind of hair loss.

What to look out for:

  • Gradual hair loss on the central top of the scalp
  • Retention of the normal hairline
  • Due to thinning the scalp becomes more visible

Hair loss treatment for women:

  • See your GP who will check for any hormonal abnormalities.
  • Minoxidil topical
  • Spironolactone tablet (this is not licensed but has shown improvement to hair)
  • Ketoconazole shampoo

5. Male Pattern Hair Loss

As everyone knows, this very common and almost every male is affected by some degree of hair loss. The progression and the pattern are recorded and classified by Hamilton-Norwood Scale. The cause is hormonal, but the pattern and progression are genetic.

Hair loss treatment for men: 

There is no known cure, but various treatment has led to an arrest of hair loss. Your GP will be able to provide you with advice on the best course of action. 

  • Finasteride tablet 1mg
  • Ketoconazole shampoo
  • Minoxidil foam and lotion

Should you be affected by any of these conditions and would like further advice you can contact London Doctors Clinic where we can offer you a same day appointment with one of our Private GPs at a time and place that suits you.


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Article written by Dr Heschil Lewin, General Practitioner

Published: November 2018

Review date: November 2021