Susan Lennon MSW, LCSW Content Strategist
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Specializing in Thought Leadership and B2B/B2C Marketing Communications

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Double Header: Hair Loss and Wound Care
USA Weekend Magazine, January 13, 2008
by Susan T. Lennon

Why is your hair falling out?

It could be a medical reason.

Losing your hair? Don't assume it's just a sign of aging. Over-the-counter hair-loss remedies won't do you any good if an underlying medical condition is the cause.

"If you suddenly start losing your hair, see a dermatologist," says Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., president of Dermatology Consulting Services in High Point, N.C. "It's hard for the average person to figure it out."

Some causes:

Birth control pills. Switching from the pill to an IUD or from a high- to a low-dose estrogen pill can precipitate hair loss -- sometimes months later.

Physical or emotional crisis. "You'll see hair loss after a heart attack, after general anesthesia, after going on a fairly strict diet and losing weight, after psychiatric illness," Draelos says. After a trauma, the body puts all its energy into life-preserving activities. Hair suffers.

Chronic conditions. These include high or low thyroid levels, anemia and diabetes.

Dermatological conditions. About 100 skin problems, including alopecia areata, can lead to hair loss.

Ouch! Cut yourself? Here's how to heal.

If you think that letting a scab form is the best way to heal a cut, you're in for a surprise.

"Keeping it moist and covered works best," says dermatologist Robert S. Kirsner, a professor at the University of Miami. "When the skin dries out, cells have to work harder to dig away the crust, which delays healing."

Kirsner, who is the co-editor of Wound Healing, a textbook for physicians, suggests washing a fresh cut with gentle soap and water, and applying an ointment before covering it. Surprise: "Petroleum jelly is just as effective as an antibiotic," he says. "Covering a wound provides physical protection and helps it heal better, faster and with less scarring."

Tips from the expert:

If the cut is clean and there's no draining, use a transparent film dressing, such as a clear Band-Aid; if there's draining, use a non-stick absorbent bandage.
If it seems infected, use a dressing with anti-microbial action.
Don't change the bandage daily. Let it fall off naturally, unless it gets wet or leaks.
Don't pour Betadine or peroxide on the wound, except for "dirty wounds for an initial cleaning," Kirsner says. Such solutions can hurt cells if used daily.
Don't use vitamin E. "Recent studies suggest not only that it doesn't help but can make the final result worse," Kirsner says.

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