Baldness is commonly caused by seborrhea of the scalp, an affection probably due to a microbe, and consisting of an inflammation of the skin, with great increase of dandruff of a thick, greasy variety. Sometimes it appears as a thick film, not only covering the scalp, but also the forehead and back of the neck. The greasy substance should be removed with olive oil or vaseline, and the scalp treated with ointment of ammoniated mercury, four per cent strength. Shampoos with tar soap suds should be given once in four or five weeks, and the hair should not be wet with water between the shampoos. The hair must be arranged by combing, the brush being used to smooth the surface of the hair only. Deep and repeated brushing does great damage, which is equalled only by the frequent washing some ill advised sufferers employ. Massage of the scalp is useless to control seborrheic eczema, which is practically always present in these cases.
Tight hats are sometimes a cause of baldness. The lead used in the preparation of the “sweat leather” of hats is said to be a cause of loss of hair over the temples. When once killed, hair can rarely be made to grow again. Early treatment of seborrhea is the best preventive of baldness.
The baldness occurring during an attack of syphilis, when the hair falls out in round patches, is treated and often relieved by antisyphilitic remedies.