How To Prepare For A Visit To A Hair Loss Specialist
They key is to make sure the doctor has specific expertise and knowledge in hair loss.
The most suitable doctors to assess your hair loss concerns are a dermatologist , hair loss clinic or a medical professional who specialises in diagnosing and treating scalp and hair disorders .
Tips to assist your doctor
- Make a list of important personal information, especially any recent life changes or major stresses youve experienced
- List all the medications including supplements/vitamins you are currently taking
- List any medical conditions you are affected by
- Jot down some questions youd like to ask your doctor about hair loss
Questions your doctor might ask you
- When did you first begin experiencing hair loss?
- Do you lose hair continually or just occasionally?
- Have you noticed any of the following: hair breakage, shedding or poor hair growth?
- Have you lost hair overall or in patches?
- Have you found anything that seems to improve or worsen your hair loss?
- Is this the first time you have experienced hair loss or has it occurred previously?
- Is anyone in your immediate family affected by hair loss?
- What medication or supplements do your take regularly?
A Dermatologists Diagnosis Is Best Before Treating Hair Loss
If you think you have FPHL, its important to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis. Women develop hair loss for many reasons. Other common causes of hair loss in women can look a lot like FPHL. Each of these causes requires different treatment. Without the right treatment, hair loss often continues.
You can find a dermatologist in your area by going to Find a Dermatologist.
When Should I See A Dermatologist About Hair Loss
If you notice thinning hair or bald patches and you feel self-conscious or upset about these changes, its important to see a dermatologist as soon as possible for treatment. The sooner we can treat your hair loss the better. Even temporary causes of hair loss can be unnerving and its important to have a qualified doctor who can determine whats causing your hair loss and to find ways to treat it.
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When Hair Loss Strikes A Doctor Is A Girls Best Friend
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A COUPLE of years ago my hair started falling out. Not in clumps, but I noticed more hairs than usual in my comb and in the bath drain.
I went to a trichologist who tested my blood , told me some thinning was natural for a woman in her mid-40s and sent me home with expensive shampoo and a serum to use on my scalp. I used the potions. I took vitamins. I stopped brushing my hair.
I was a wreck. If someone had told me there was a cure in a remote village in the mountains of Bhutan, I would have put on my hiking boots and boarded a plane.
No one wants to lose their hair, but for women it is especially traumatic. Men can shave their heads and look hip, even sexy. Most women dont want to be bald. Though it is more common and visible in men, many women lose their hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million women in this country have hereditary hair loss, compared with 50 million men. But many additional women experience thinning hair that results from menopause or health problems.
If your hair is coming out, be advised that of the multitude of treatments on the market for women, few are worth your money, says Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Americans spent an estimated $176 million on hair loss products last year, and chances are some of that money was not well spent. Dont let charming salon owners, seductive ads or fancy gimmicks convince you otherwise.
Thats the background. Now for some guidance:
How Many Hair Falling Out Can Lead To Baldness
Hair loss of 100 hairs per day is normal. But, it is very difficult to gauge when this limit of 100 hairs is crossed. Here are 7 warning signs when you should consult your dermatologist:
- Bunch of hair while combing or shampooing your hair.
- Hair on your pillow, beddings or floor.
- Thinner and smaller hair strands.
- Visible bald scalp.
- Receding of the frontal hairline in males. You might notice broadening of the forehead. Your barber might prompt loss of hair on your vertex while doing hair cut.
- In females, widening of central parting and reduction in the volume of the ponytail.
- Positive hair pull test: Pull a bunch of approximately 100 hair using moderate pressure. If you get more than 6 hair, then it is an indicator that you are having active hair fall. Dr Surbhi, MD has shown hair pull test in the end of this video:
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How Is Diffuse Alopecia Areata Treated
With all types of alopecia areata, hair loss, regrowth and recovery can be cyclical and unpredictable, which can make treatment and management challenging.
Currently, there is no cure for alopecia areata, though there are several commonly used treatments like corticosteroid injections to the hair loss regions, topical hair loss medications like minoxidil, topical corticosteroids and topical or oral immunotherapies.
Some topical treatments, such as dinitrochlorobenzene, work by creating allergic contact dermatitis in the skin of the affected areas. These trigger an immune response that encourages the follicle to begin growing hair again.
Ultimately, treatment will depend on how severe the diffuse alopecia areata is. One small study showed that topical steroids were very effective in patients with diffuse AA, where 21 out of 22 female patients saw hair regrowth after one year of treatment.
What To Expect At The Trichologist
When you visit a trichologist, you can expect a thorough examination of your hair and scalp.
The trichologist may ask you several questions about your medical history, nutrition, lifestyle, and hair care routine. Your answers can help the trichologist determine how to treat you or whether they should refer you to a different specialist or to a physician.
Trichologists sometimes conduct hair analysis to check for structural damage or the presence of a lice or fungal infection.
Occasionally, trichologists will request a blood test from your primary care physician.
Once the trichologist arrives at a diagnosis, they will recommend the next best step. This could include:
- A referral to another professional, specialist, or primary care physician
- Topical creams or lotions
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Whats Hair Loss In Women
Hair loss in women is just that when a woman experiences unexpected, heavy loss of hair. Generally, humans shed between 50 and 100 single hairs per day. Hair shedding is part of a natural balance some hairs fall out while others grow in. When the balance is interrupted when hair falls out and less hair grows in hair loss happens. Hair loss is different than hair shedding. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.
Hair grows on almost all of your skin surfaces not the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, lips or eyelids. Light, fine, short hair is called vellus hair. Terminal/androgenic hair is thicker, darker and longer.
What Is Diffuse Alopecia Areata
While several forms of AA are considered to be forms of focal alopecia, or hair loss that happens in specific and targeted locations, diffuse AA is a widespread hair loss characterized by thinning over the entire scalp.
Diffuse alopecia areata is a type of alopecia areata where hair fall is spread out over the scalp and not in the patches that are typical of AA, said Dr. Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, a dermatologist practicing at the University of Pittsburgh.
Like all members of the AA family, diffuse alopecia areata is a form of non-scarring hair loss. Unlike scarring forms of alopecia, non-scarring forms of hair loss do not cause permanent damage to hair follicles, which means that treatment may encourage hair regrowth.
With that said, all forms of AA can be sporadic, difficult to treat and unpredictable. Not only that, but diffuse alopecia areata can look like several different forms of hair loss, making it tricky to diagnose.
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What Are The Best Online Dermatologists For Hair Loss
Instead of going through the hassles of visiting a hair loss specialist in person, you have the option to move your visit online, giving you access to a dermatologist, but virtually. Modern telehealth and direct-to-consumer companies make this not only possible, but extremely convenient.
This process skips the need for referrals, driving to and from visits, waiting in the doctors office and going to the pharmacy for your prescriptions on an ongoing basis. Instead, everything is conveniently handled online and your prescription is sent to your door.
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Are There Complications/side Effects Of Treatment
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp and cause dryness, scaling, itching and/or redness. See your dermatologist if this happens.
With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp . Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it.
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Is Female Hair Thinning Reversible
Is it reversible? While some forms of AFAB hair loss are temporary, female pattern baldness is permanent and irreversible without treatment. However, proper treatment can stop the hair loss and potentially help regrow some lost hair. Youll need to stay on this treatment long-term to prevent losing your hair again.
Why Is My Hair Thinning/am I Losing My Hair
All three derms tell me this is one of the top questions they get in practice. The answer is intensely individual. “There are multiple reasons why hair could be thinning or falling out, the first of which is some type of metabolic syndrome, like a thyroid abnormality or anemia or choosing to be vegan or vegetarian and may not be getting iron in their diet,” says Dr. Gohara. The second reason is shedding, whether that’s the normal 100 hairs per day or something more extreme like post-childbirth shedding or stress shedding. A third reason, says Dr. Gohara, is over processing. “At some point the hair is just like, ‘I don’t want this color anymore, I don’t want these chemicals anymore, I don’t want this hot iron anymore, and it just breaks and rebels and is tired and weak,” she says, adding that this eventually happens to everyone and that it’s just a matter of how long your hair can last. A fourth reason has to do with medications that may cause hair thinning, and the fifth is geneticit’s just the time for your hair to thin, according to your particular genetic code. And finally, good old hormones can cause hair loss, too, including those which kick in around perimenopause.
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When To See A Doctor For Thinning Hair
Although its common to lose hair throughout the day, its a good idea to speak with your doctor if youre losing more than 100 hairs per day.
You should also talk with your doctor if youre worried about persistent hair loss or a receding hairline, or if you notice sudden patchy hair loss. Patches of hair loss could signify an underlying medical condition.
How Can I Stop My Hair From Thinning
This, too, is a question all three doctors hear frequently, and they say there are myriad ways to prevent hair loss. “Minoxidilnot new or sexy, but very effectiveworks to decrease hair shedding and promote new hair growth,” Dr. Engelman explains. “Minoxidils mechanism of action is believed to be due to an effect on the calcium channels in the hair cells. Minoxidil increases the capillary blood flow to the dermis of the skin where the follicle residespromotes oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the hair folliclesto make them stronger and help re-grow hair,” she explains. Over-the-counter Rogaine and some dietary supplements, like viviscal, are also effective, says Dr. Zeichner, who adds that prescription options such Propecia or spironolactone can be acquired after a visit to your dermatologist.
In-office treatments are also on the rise. Among the most common is platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, with Dr. Engelman says is very effective . “It’s a hair loss treatment that withdraws a patients own blood, processes the enriched cells, and injects them back into the scalp,” Dr. Engelman explains. “The platelet-rich plasma contains the proteins needed to stimulate hair growth.” Botulinum toxin is being studied for hair regrowth as well, says Dr. Engelman. “The initial studies show promise with 50 percent of test subjects experiencing new hair growth,” she says. “These results aren’t published yet, but my colleagues who only work in hair restoration substantiate these numbers.”
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Trichologist Is An Expert In Human Hair A Dermatologist Is A Medical Doctor
A trichologist is an expert in human hair, from making it look its best through to treating problems with your hair and scalp. A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in skin, hair, and nails and has the training and expertise to conduct a full examination and any necessary tests to give an accurate diagnosis.
This training and depth of knowledge are vital. Typically a trichologist will train for up to four years. My training to become a dermatologist included six years of medical school, two more years of core medical training, four years specializing in dermatology, then another year on my special interest areas. Thats 13 years of medical training to specialize in skin and hair, giving a depth of knowledge that enables the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of hair loss conditions. I am one of the few dermatologists in the UK who specializes in hair loss.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What is the cause of my hair loss?
- How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
- What type of hair loss do I have?
- Will my hair loss be permanent?
- Whats the best treatment for me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.
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Treatments For Hair Loss
While there is no cure for hair loss, a number of treatments can slow or reduce hair loss, stimulate partial regrowth or replace damaged hair. Men with advanced balding find that surgical hair transplantation is beneficial.
Age-related hair loss and hereditary forms of hair loss are hard to reverse. Hair loss treatments can control alopecia areata and in some cases hair thinning stabilises so baldness can be avoided.
Cosmetic hair loss and alternative treatment options:
Some men and women who are experiencing hair loss discover that wearing wigs and hairpieces can help them feel like themselves again.
Other treatments suggested for hair loss include:
- Herbal remedies like saw palmetto,