September 14 2010, 10:51 am PT | Posted in: Hair Loss Causes
Dear Dr Rassman,
I’d like to ask a question on dust mites. I recently came down with an itchy scalp particularly in the crown area, causing me to scratch during the night. My hair began to look a little thin in that area. I’d had some stress-related hair loss problems in the past and worried it was related.
I then came to think I had head lice and so treated myself for it by combing through the hair with a lice comb almost daily. This eased the symptoms which seemed to confirm I had lice.
However the itching came back and now I think it is caused by dust rather than lice. I have a very small room with electronic equipment which attracts dust, and I had a large fan right next to my bed for the summer heat which I used during the day and overnight, which on inspection was extremely dusty.
My question is, can prolonged contact with dust cause itchy/irritated/dry scalp due to dust mites? Can this also cause hair loss? Or could it be excessive combing with a fine lice comb that could damage follices?
You shouldn’t treat yourself without knowing what you have. You need a diagnosis before jumping to conclusions. So far you blamed lice and dust mites without knowing for sure — what’s next? At the least, you must keep a very clean environment where you live and wash your linens often. Perhaps you need to see a good doctor for a diagnosis, as a doctor will be able to find the mites or lice that you think you have.
I suppose if you were constantly scratching or pulling at your hair you could create some hair loss in those areas, though the hair loss is not directly caused by mites or lice.