ALOPECIA PREMATURA

Last modified on January 26th, 2019

Homeopathy treatment of Alopecia Prematura, with indicated homeopathic remedies from the Diseases of the Skin by Frederick Myers Dearborn.

 

Premature baldness or loss of hair may be idiopathic or symptomatic. The idiopathic variety may begin at any age but rarely before the thirtieth year. It is similar to senile atrophy without any known cause beyond heredity and usually occurs in men. Frequently it is noted as an increase of the normal shedding of the hair, commencing about the temples and vertex and although the hair may be reproduced it becomes less vigorous until it ceases to appear. The process varies thus: the hair line at the sides of the forehead may gradually recede, sparing a central crest for some time and forming an arched forehead; or the entire forehead line may recede, presenting the high forehead; or the hair may become thin over the whole crown simultaneously; or it may extend from the vertex forward. No matter what the preliminary process, the resulting baldness is usually symmetrical. While there may be a temporarily increased hair growth, if left untreated, progressive, gradual thinning of the hair ensues. Rarely is the process rapid and seldom does grayness of the hair precede it, though this is not a fast rule. Usually the sides and back of the head remain unaffected.

In symptomatic premature alopecia the baldness may be temporary or permanent, depending upon the nature and the local or general etiological factors, but it always has a recognizable cause. Permanent loss of hair may result from the local lesions of lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, folliculitis decalvans, syphilis, kerion, favus and folliculitis. Temporary baldness may come from localized eczema, psoriasis, parasitic affections, erysipelas or superficial local injuries. However, the great bulk of cases give a history of antecedent seborrheic diseases, commonly known as dandruff (alopecia furfuracea seu pityrodes). Loss of hair, incident to or following the acute fevers, such as typhoid, smallpox and erysipelas (defluvium capillorum), the abuse of mercury, diabetes, phthisis, syphilis, leprosy, mental anxiety or nervous shocks, is too well known to need description. It is interesting to note that this loss of hair often occurs during convalescence rather than during the course of the disease. In most of these cases the baldness is temporary and often presents a thinning of the other hairy parts as well as the scalp. The shedding may be rapid or slow and persistent.

Etiology and Pathology. Heredity exists in about fifty per cent. of all cases of idiopathic premature alopecia and the percentage is usually much larger in female cases. Women are less affected with baldness than men because of the greater abundance of fat in their scalps, the greater care they give to their hair, and the lighter and looser covering usually worn by them. The daily application of water to the scalp which is so common among men contributes to alopecia. It is well known that brain workers and intellectual people in general are more often afflicted. My experience demonstrates that symptomatic alopecia is due in at least seventy-five per cent. of all cases to seborrhea in some form and I personally believe with Sabouraud that city life, lack of exercise, excessive meat diet, gout and heredity are all predisposing causes, contributing to the successful activities of some parasite, possibly the microbacillus of seborrhea and acne. It is interesting in this connection to note that baldness is more frequent in urban populations than in rural communities and is rarely noted among savages.

Pathologically, this condition is essentially one of atrophy, both of the connective tissues and the hair-producing structures, consequent on a diminished blood supply. The nature of the antecedent causal disease explains most cases of symptomatic alopecia and describes their etiology and pathology.

Prognosis. The marked hereditary tendency to early baldness and atrophic involvement of the hair-follicles are unfavorable features. However many cases of the idiopathic variety in its early stages and a large proportion of the symptomatic forms may be cured or arrested by suitable treatment.

Treatment. Physiological measures must be employed to correct any general or local fault in nutrition. These may embrace the questions of diet, exercise, bathing and clothing, together with the local care of the scalp. Local conditions must be treated specifically and, because of the important role played by seborrheic disease, the treatment advised is frequently that noted under seborrhea and dermatitis seborrhoica. There are a number of important items of prophylaxis. Frequent and unnecessary cleansing of the scalp is to be avoided, singeing and wetting the hair with water should never be practiced, and shaving the head, following an acute febrile condition, is ridiculous and barbarous. The use of brushes and combs by all members of one family, or in public resorts of any kind, should be discouraged. Light and air are most important to promote the vigor of hair, hence, the head covering should be worn only for protection and be as light and well ventilated as possible. The wearing of artificial hair and the use of the crimping-iron and the curl-paper might be added to the already long list of “don’ts.”

The active treatment of alopecia embraces the cleansing of the scalp at intervals of from one to four weeks, depending upon the individual needs of the case. This may be done by shampooing with any non-irritating soap or, if a mild stimulant is desired, combinations of glycerin, alcohol and tincture of green soap, with or without eggs, may be useful. After thoroughly drying the scalp, sweet almond oil; lanolin, plain or salicylated; vaseline; equal parts of lanolin, glycerin and rose water; or scented castor oil may be applied in small quantities to the scalp to replace the natural secretion which has been removed by washing. It is my custom to use the first named and apply it to the scalp with a medicine dropper. The hair may be combed but not brushed until some hours later because the oil should be kept on the scalp and not brushed on the hair. If the scalp is very dry these oily applications may be applied every few days to lessen that condition. It is usually necessary to accomplish local stimulation and this may be done by the regular applications of any of the following tonics. Lotions are usually preferable but ointments sometimes do better in selected cases. Frequently more than one prescription will be needed and the change from lotion to ointment may be the best procedure.

Sulphur, resorcin, chrysarobin, tar, cantharides, carbolic acid, capsicum, mercuric chlorid, pilocarpin, ammonia, chloral, quinine, nux vomica and other drugs may be usefully combined with alcohol, boric acid solution, distilled water, cologne or lavender water to make the necessary ingredients. A word of caution, concerning the dirty-yellow or brown tinge that some of the above remedies can give to light-colored or white hair, is not amiss. The following are suggested.

Rx Chloral hydrate,

Hydrarg. bichlorid.,

Aq. violette.

Aq. distill.,

Spts. vin. rect.

3ij;

gr.ij;

3iij;

z3jss;

q.s.ad z3iv;

8@

@12

12@

45@

120@ M.

Rx Resorcin.,

Fluidext. ergotae.

Tr. nux vom.,

Glycerini,

Spts. vin., rect.,

3ij;

3j;

3jss;

3ss;

q.s.ad z3iv;

8@

4@

6@

2@

120@ M.

Rx Resorcin.,

Quinini,

Ol. ricini.

Spts. vin. rect.,

3j;

gr. xv;

Mxxx;

q.s.ad z3iv;

4@

1@

2@

120@ M.

Rx Hydrarg. bichlorid.,

Tinct. cantharid.,

Ol. amygdal. dulc.,

Spts. rosmarin.

Spts. vin. rect.,

Aq. distill.

gr. iij;

z3ss;

3j;

z3j;

z3ij;

q.s.ad z3vj;

@2

15@

4@

30@

60@

180@ M. (Hyde)

Rx Resorcin.,

Acidi acetici,

Ol. ricini,

Ol. bergamot.

Spts. vin. rect.,

3ij;

3j;

3ss;

3j;

q.s.ad z3vj;

8@

4@

2@

4@

180@ M.

Rx Cantharid. tinct.,

Capsici tinct.,

Spts. vin. rect.,

Aq. ros.,

3ij;

Mxv;

z3jss;

q.s.ad z3v;

8@

1@

45@

150@ M.

Rx Acid. salicylic.,

Phenol.,

Ol. ricini,

Spts. vin. rect.,

3iij;

3j;

3iij;

q.s.ad z3vj;

12@

4@

12@

180@ M. (Walsh)

Rx Hydrarg. bichlorid.,

Spts. vin. rectif.,

Acid. acet. dil.,

Glycerin.,

Aq. ros.,

gr. v;

z3ij;

3ij;

z3ss;

q.s.ad z3vj;

@3

60@

8@

15@

180@ M.

Rx Hydrarg. bichlorid.,

Betanaphthol,

Ol. ricini,

Ol. bergamot,

Spts. vin. rect.,

gr. x;

gr. xxx;

3j;

mxxx;

q.s.ad z3vj;

@6

2@

4@

2@

180@ M.

Rx Acid. lactic.,

Spts. vin. rect.,

Aq. ros., M. To be applied with absorbent cotton, using friction until the surface is reddened. (Richema).

3ij-iv;

z3j;

z3j;

8-16@

30@

30@

Rx Sulphur. precipit.,

Lanolin.,

Glycerin.,

Aq. rosae.

3j;

aa 3ijss;

4@

10@ M.

Rx Tannobromini,

Bals. Peruv.,

Adipis colli equini,

gr. xv;

3ss;

q.s.ad z3j;

1@

2@

30@ M. (Saalfeld)

Rx Hydrarg. chlorid. mit.,

Hydrarg. ammon.,

Petrolat.,

3j;

3ss;

q.s.ad z3;

4@

2@

30@ M.

Rx Sulph. precip.,

Ol. bergamot.

Petrolat.,

gr. xxx;

Mxxx;

q.s.ad z3j;

2@

2@

30@ M.

Probably no single method is more useful than massage which may be applied by the patient night and morning for two or three minutes. The scalp should be grasped laterally and then in other positions with the hands so as to move the entire scalp in one direction simultaneously. This loosens the scalp, thereby increasing circulation and hair growth. Massage as applied by an operator or with a vibratory machine is distinctly inferior to this simple method which should be insisted upon, regardless of any other stimulating treatment.

The high-frequency currents, applied to the spine for their systemic effect or locally with a vacuum electrode held 1/4 of an inch from the scalp, have entirely superseded faradic and galvanic electricity and, to my mind, far surpass in value these older agents. Repeated small doses of the X-rays or cataphoresis by which an electric current may force such agents as mercuric chlorid, salicylic acid, sodium chlorid or zinc chlorid directly into the hair- follicles, thereby destroying the micro-organisms and stimulating a healthy condition of the follicles, may at times be useful. There is a wide choice of remedies which may be prescribed for a case of premature baldness, but one of the following is often indicated: Calcarea carb., Calcarea phos., Baryta carb., Fluor. acid, Helleb., Hypericum, Kreosotum, Kali sulph., Lycop., Mercurius viv., Nat. mur., Nit. acid, Pet., Phosphorus acid, Sarsap., Selenium, Sepia, Sulphur, Staphisag., Thuja and Vinca.

About the author

Fredrick Dearborn

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