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Dry hair

Hair - dry

 

Dry hair is hair that does not have enough moisture and oil to maintain its normal sheen and texture.

Causes

 

Some causes of dry hair are:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Excessive hair washing, or using harsh soaps or alcohols
  • Excessive blow-drying
  • Dry air
  • Menkes kinky hair syndrome
  • Malnutrition
  • Underactive parathyroid (hypoparathyroidism)
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

 

Home Care

 

At home you should:

  • Shampoo less frequently, perhaps only once or twice a week
  • Add conditioners
  • Avoid blow drying and harsh styling products

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your hair does not improve with gentle treatment
  • You have hair loss
  • You have any other unexplained symptoms

 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

 

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may ask the following questions:

  • Has your hair always been slightly dry?
  • When did the unusual hair dryness first start?
  • Is it always present, or is it off and on?
  • What are your eating habits?
  • What kind of shampoo do you use?
  • How often do you wash your hair?
  • Do you use a conditioner? What type?
  • How do you normally style your hair?
  • Do you use a hair dryer? What type? How often?
  • What other symptoms are also present?

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

  • Examination of the hair under a microscope
  • Blood tests

 

 

References

Habif TM. Hair diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 24.

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            Review Date: 12/2/2014

            Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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