Hair and Nail Disorders

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What are Hair and Nail Disorders?

Hair disorders may include loss of hair, and may also include scalp disorders. Nail disorders are a large group of conditions that affect the appearance of the finger and toenails. These conditions may be caused by many factors, including genetics or autoimmune problems.

Both of these groups of conditions can be stressful and cause self-consciousness in those who suffer from them. While there is a large array of both hair and nail disorders, some of the more common ones include:

Hair Disorders

Alopecia Areata

This is an autoimmune condition that causes patches of hair loss. The immune system attacks hair follicles, resulting in loss of hair. There are different forms of alopecia that affect hair loss with different levels of severity. This condition can also cause nail pitting or splitting. There are a number of treatment options available, including corticosteroids and topical immunotherapy.


This is a compulsion that causes people to pull out the hair on their scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes. It is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Treatment may include medications such as Prozac and cognitive-behavior therapy.

Telogen Effluvium

This condition causes excessive hair loss that is caused by stress on the body. This stress may be due to fever, infection, childbirth, surgery, thyroid disease, restrictive diets, emotional stress, or severe chronic illness. Hair loss usually occurs in the weeks or months following the stressful event. Once the stressor is over or removed, hair shedding usually slows down within 6-8 months.


Dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, causes flaking skin on the scalp. It is caused by overactive oil glands that may result in yellow or white skin flakes shedding from the scalp. Treatment includes using special shampoos containing dandruff-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, tar, and ketoconazole.

Hair and Nail FAQS

Do hair skin and nail vitamins really work?

People with certain vitamin deficiencies may be at a higher risk for developing hair, skin, or nail conditions, in which case supplemental vitamins may be prescribed by a dermatologist.

How long does it take biotin to work on hair?

Biotin does not help thinning hair unless you have a deficiency. (Most Americans don’t) Biotin can interfere with labs for thyroid hormones and tests to see if someone is having a heart attack.

Can you stop hair loss in patches?

One common form of hair loss is called alopecia areata, which is when the immune system begins attacking hair follicles, resulting in patches of hair loss. Treatments for various levels of severity include corticosteroids and immunotherapy.

Can hair fall out suddenly?

If you experience a sudden loss of hair, or discoloration of patches of hair, and have experienced a recent change in stress level, you could be suffering from telogen effluvium. Removing the stressor can bring hair regrowth in several months.

Can hair grow back after thinning?

Depending on the cause of hair loss, some treatments can be effective in reversing the effects of alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and even hair pulling (trichotillomania).

Does collagen make hair thicker?

Collagen has several uses when it comes to hair growth, including providing essential amino acids for keratin synthesis, protecting follicles from damage, and providing skin with resilience and strength.

What do hair and nails have in common?

Both hair and nails are made primarily of the protein keratin, arranged in different formations in the nail beds and hair follicles.

How do I treat an ingrown toenail?

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to additional pain and infection, which is why it may need to be removed with a minor surgical procedure by Dr. Erwin.

What causes vertical ridges in nails?

Slight vertical ridges or lines in the nails is often a symptom of the natural signs of aging. Deeper, more noticeable grooves may be a sign of a vitamin deficiency or nail disorder.

Why are my fingernails opaque?

Onychomycosis is the term for fungal nail infection, which can cause the nails to grow thick, brittle, and opaque. Treatment for this condition is an antifungal medication.

Nail Disorders


With this condition, the nail separates from the nail bed and is usually caused by infection or injury. Treatment includes clipping off the affected area of the nail. It is important to keep the affected area of the nail dry, so wear gloves when washing or cleaning. Healing usually takes place over 2-3 months.


Also known as a fungal nail infection, this causes the nails to become thick, opaque, white, and brittle. Injury to the nails may increase the risk of fungal infection, as does wearing acrylic nails, or spending time in damp, warm conditions. Treatment options may include antifungal drugs that are taken orally or applied to the nail.

Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edges of a toenail grow into the surrounding skin. This most commonly occurs on the big toe and can cause pain, redness, and lead to infection if not treated. In some cases, minor surgery may be needed to remove part of the nail, the nail bed, and excess skin.

Ideal Candidates for Hair and Nail Disorder Treatment

Anyone who is affected by a hair or nail disorder that causes discomfort, embarrassment, or stress can benefit from treatment. The best way to determine which treatment option is best for you is through an assessment by Dr. Erwin at our office. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Contact Us Today

If you have a hair or nail disorder that you would like to get treatment for, contact our office by calling 979-543-9933 to schedule your initial appointment! Dr. Erwin has the skills and experience to successfully diagnose and treat your condition for a better quality of life.