If you live in a house with a mold problem you could start to lose your hair. The allergic reactions humans suffer from mold can lead to hair loss, even in females or children.
How Mold Allergies Cause Hair Loss
The roots of your hair are nourished by tiny blood vessels called capillaries. If the circulation to these blood vessels is disrupted the hair can fall out or break.
When you breathe in mold spores they trigger allergic reactions in your body. During these allergic reactions your immune system creates a chemical called histamine. The histamine causes inflammation which disrupts the blood flow in the capillaries. This can lead to hairs not getting enough blood and eventually your hair can start to fall out.
If you don’t take care of the mold problem in your home then eventually mold allergies can lead to baldness. Hair loss from allergies will usually be in a diffuse pattern.
Other Allergies Cause Hair Loss
It’s not just mold that causes hair loss. Being around any substance that you’re allergic to for long enough can also make you lose hair.
Besides mold spores, some other common indoor allergens that could be causing you hair loss are dust mite excretion, animal dander from pets, chemicals in laundry powder and also biological enzymes in laundry powder.
Treatment for Hair Loss Caused by Mold
If you think you’ve lost hair from being around mold then the first step is to remove any mold problems in your home. You should thoroughly inspect your home for mold. If it’s practical, consider having your home mold tested to be sure.
If you do find any mold in your home then you should begin taking steps to remove it (see Mold Removal). Regularly HEPA vacuuming your home also helps to reduce mold allergies by minimizing mold spores.
After you’ve dealt with any mold problems in your home you should talk to a doctor or allergist. They can prescribe you anti-fungal treatments. Such medications include nasal sprays, oral medications and creams that can be applied directly to the scalp.
The Mold Symptoms page has information on treatment for mold allergies, as well as allergy testing and a description of the symptoms mold allergies can cause.
Will Hair Grow Back?
Hair loss caused by mold exposure can be reversed. Although the regrowth might be slow, in most cases the hair will grow back once a person is no longer exposed to mold.
If you have lost hair from mold exposure you should fix the mold problem and talk to your doctor about treatments without delay for the best chance of maximum regrowth. Hair follicles which are dormant because of mold exposure can be regrown, however once a hair follicle dies you cannot get the hair back.
Hair Loss from Fungal Infections
Hair loss can also be caused by mold-like fungal infections such as ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis). These fungal infections are caused by parasitic fungi called dermatophytes which infect the outer layer of a person’s skin.
Fungal infections result in patchy hair loss, unlike hair loss caused by mold allergies which would generally be diffuse. The patches begin as a pimple or small sore, before turning into a red, itchy and flaky patch where the hair breaks or falls out. The scalp can become inflamed and tender and the skin might peel or scale. A rash might also develop.
These fungal infections are very contagious between people. Those people with weak immune systems are more at risk of being infected and it is also often the cause of hair loss in children. Fungal infections can also be caused from being around mold and exposure to mold spores.
Treatment for Fungal Infections
If you suffer from a fungal infection you should talk to a doctor about treatment, who may prescribe anti-fungal medications. Treatments for fungal infections include miconazole and terbinafine which are applied directly to the skin. Besides anti-fungal creams for the scalp, treatment might also be through anti-fungal nasal sprays or through oral medications. Once treated successfully, hair lost from fungal infections will usually grow back.