November 14, 2014

Understanding Dissecting Cellulitis of the Scalp

There are different conditions that can affect the hair and scalp and while some of them are not so worrisome and can be handled quite easily, there are a few that need a lot of attention and medical treatment as well. Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp happens to a condition that would fall in the second category and can become quite a serious issue, if not handled on time and with precision.

Here is an in-depth look into this condition:

Ø Firstly, what is dissecting cellulitis of the scalp?
In order to treat a condition, it is important to learn more about the basics, and the very first step in that direction would be the definition. Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp is a reasonably rare condition, in which spots filled with pus develop in areas where there is eventual hair loss. However, the loss of hair in this condition is permanent, because there is development of scar tissue and this terminates the hair follicles completely. The condition is also known as perifolliculitis capitis abscedens et suffodiens, which literally means inflammation of the hair follicles on the scalp.

Ø What are the main features of this condition?
In most cases, this condition is known to affect men of African or African-American descent, but there have been recorded cases, of it affecting others as well.
It starts as painful swellings over the scalp that gets filled with pus. Later on, there will be multiple such lesions forming abscess which discharge pus through sinus openings. All these lead to scarring and hair loss, and the hair loss as mentioned before, tends to be permanent. Sometimes this is associated with other conditions called follicular triad which include: acne, dissecting cellulitis and hidradenitis suppurativa.

Ø What exactly causes the condition?
While the cause of dissecting cellulitis of the scalp is still unknown, studies have shown that it is certainly not a hereditary condition. There are theories however, that it is the blocking of hair follicles by keratin that causes the inflammation and later leads to secondary infection.

Ø How is the condition diagnosed and is there a real cure?
There is no method of self-diagnosing the condition, which is why it is best that one visit a dermatologist or hair expert. A doctor needs to do the following minimum investigations:

· Biopsy from the lesion : confirms the diagnosis

· Pus culture and sensitivity : identifies if secondary infection is present

Unfortunately, there is no real cure for dissecting cellulitis of the scalp, but there are methods using which the condition can be contained. There have been cases where the condition has resolved on its own, but this can take years and there is no guarantee for the same to happen.

Ø What kind of treatments are normally prescribed for dissecting cellulitis of the scalp?
There are several methods of controlling the condition and some of the most prominent ones are mentioned here:

Ø What can the person affected by dissecting cellulitis of the scalp do?
There are certain dos and don’ts that should be followed by someone affected by this condition and they are as mentioned below:

· Getting proper treatment would obviously be the first step, but there has to be an acceptance that none of the treatments might start showing results on an immediate basis. All treatments take time and patience is of utmost importance.

· It is important not to squeeze the lesions and it is crucial that the scalp and hair are kept clean. It would be advisable to avoid using any hair products that are oil based.

· A healthy diet also goes a long way in helping control the condition and for those who are overweight, it would be a good idea to bring the body weight down.

This article was written by Dr. Kapil Dua, a hair restoration expert & co-founder of AK Clinics. He loves to help people get the hair back and keeping it healthy all the way.

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