Dermatologists Can Get To Root Of Problem Provide Treatment
Losing hair, especially over time, is normal. But when it happens suddenly or without clear explanation, it may be quite distressing. In some cases, it may be due to an illness or underlying condition. Dermatologists are experts in the skin and its structures including hair. Often they can get to the root of the problem and recommend the best hair loss treatment approach.
There are a number of things you can do to slow or stop hair loss, says Daniel Zelac, MD, a dermatologist at Scripps Clinic. But before deciding what to do, its important to identify the type of hair loss you are experiencing.
When to consider hair loss treatment
It is normal for individuals to lose 50 to 300 hairs each day, often without noticing. New hair usually replaces lost hair, but even this can result in a loss of overall hair length and a sense of fullness. When hair loss increases suddenly, it can be alarming, especially if it appears to be happening rapidly.
Some types of hair loss are linked specifically to correctable causes while others are not, Dr. Zelac says. Your dermatologist can determine if your hair loss is caused by things like thyroid gland issues, stress, scalp infections, genetics or simply aging.
When hair loss is temporary, often no treatment is needed and the hair may regrow on its own. Other times, treatment may be needed to slow the rate of the hair loss. In particular cases, hair loss treatment may allow the thinned hair to be regrown.
Aging and hair loss
What’s The Best Doctor To See For Hair Loss
If you’ve started to notice your hairline receding or the hair on the crown of your head slipping away, you may be experiencing male pattern hair loss.
It’s a genuine medical condition that affects millions of men globally, and this type of hair loss is actually the most common cause of hair loss among men. Nearly 80% of men will experience significant hair loss in their lifetime because of it.
For most men, the process of losing their hair will start sometimes in their 30s, but it can start later or much earlier depending on genetic traits. In fact, genetics and heredity are key factors in whether you’ll be affected by male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia.
While male pattern hair loss is a progressive condition that results in continual hair loss over time, there are hair loss treatments that can delay loss and even stimulate new growth. The first step to treatment may involve seeing a medical professional.
But which is the best medical professional for hair loss?
What Is A Dermatologist
A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. These medical experts are able to identify and treat the many thousands of conditions affecting these parts of the body, but the most common conditions they treat include eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer. Because hair emerges from follicles in the skin, hair loss and hair conditions tend to fall under the expertise of these highly trained specialists.
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Stress Has Taken Over Your Life
Stress is the culprit behind many physical issues, including those making their presence known in our skin, scalp and hair. If youve seen an uptake in your stress levels and suddenly, your scalp and/or skin is seriously itchy or irritated along with increased hair issues, theres likely a connection.
Stress frequently results in sleep issues, which then leads to imbalances in our levels of cortisol. This can act as a catalyst for scalp sensitivity or irritation by reducing blood flow within the skin, cutting off the number of nutrients required for healthy hair follicles. You may want to add scalp wellness products like GRO Scalp Detoxifying Serum.
Regular exfoliation of the scalp can help eliminate pore-clogging buildup that can impact the hair follicles and hair growth. Try a scalp massager to work in the serum while it simultaneously promotes improved circulation and blood flow. In some cases of severe hair shedding, you may want to head to your dermatologist for a hair pull test to determine what exactly the root causes are of your hair loss.
When Is It Time To See A Hair Loss Doctor
The best time to see a hair loss doctor is as soon as you notice any of the early signs of male pattern baldness.
Because hair loss from male pattern baldness is permanent, acting quickly can help you to stop your hair loss from worsening and keep more of your hair.
The best time to act on hair loss can vary from one person to another. For some guys, the signs of hair loss may show up in their 20s or 30s. For others, they might appear earlier. Even guys in their teens can make early changes to prevent hair loss.
Below, weve listed some common signs that it might be time to book an appointment with a hair loss specialist.
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What Causes Hair Loss
Many instances of hair loss are linked to genetics. If you have a family history of hair loss or balding, you may be more likely to experience these issues with age. Hair loss can also occur due to changes in hormones, particularly during pregnancy and menopause, and because of any thyroid issues. Stress may play a factor in hair loss as well.
Medical conditions and medications have been linked to certain types of hair loss. Alopecia areata, for example, is a common condition that causes hair loss in patches. Infections can have a similar effect. If youre taking medications for conditions like depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure, hair loss could be a side effect. So, its important to talk to your doctor about any concerns. Hair loss is a common side effect for cancer drugs like chemotherapy, as well as cancer treatments like radiation to the head region.
You Arent Losing Hair Yet But Have Concerns
Finally, its often worth seeing a hair loss doctor even if you havent started to experience major hair loss, but simply want to be prepared and have a plan ready for dealing with hair loss if and when it becomes an issue for you.
You may want to talk to a hair loss doctor if you have family members with visible hair loss, such as a parent or sibling.
Alternatively, if you use medication that can cause hair loss, you may want to meet with a doctor to discuss your options if your hair starts to shed or thin.
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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.
What Are The Cycles Of Hair Growth
Hair goes through three cycles:
- The anagen phase can last from two years to eight years. This phase generally refers to about 85% to 90% of the hair on your head.
- The catagen phase is the time that hair follicles shrink and takes about two to three weeks.
- The telogen phase takes about two to four months. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out.
Your shorter hairs like eyelashes, arm and leg hair and eyebrows have a short anagen phase about one month. Your scalp hair can last up to six years or even longer.
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What Treatment Will A Hair Loss Doctor Prescribe
Since hair loss can occur for several reasons, theres no one-size-fits-all treatment for hair loss that doctors prescribe.
When you meet with a hair loss doctor, theyll look at your scalp and identify the primary cause of your hair loss. Theyll then suggest the most appropriate treatment based on the type of hair loss you have and its severity.
Most of the time, hair loss in men is caused by male pattern baldness. If you have this type of hair loss, your hair loss doctor will likely prescribe medications for hair loss such as finasteride and minoxidil.
Finasteride is an oral medication that works by preventing your body from producing DHT, the androgen hormone that causes hair loss.
Minoxidil is a topical medication. It works by moving your hair follicles into the growth phase of the hair growth cycle, and by stimulating blood flow to your scalp.
Research shows that finasteride and minoxidil are particularly effective when used together. In one study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, more than 94 percent of balding men who used both medications experienced improvements in hair growth over 12 months.
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:
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What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss
Your healthcare provider might ask about your habits:
- What kinds of hair products do you use?
- What kinds of hair styles do you wear?
- What types of food do you eat ?
- Do you have a habit of pulling your hair out ?
They might ask about your history:
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- Is there anything stressful going on in your life?
- What medications and supplements do you take every day?
- Has hair loss ever happened to you before?
- What foods are in your diet?
And, they might ask about your observations:
- How long have you been losing hair?
- Have you been shedding more?
- Have you noticed hair loss in places other than your scalp, like your eyebrows? Leg and arm hair?
- Does anything worsen your hair loss?
- Does anything improve your hair loss?
- Have you noticed hair loss occasionally or has it been going on continuously?
- Have you noticed if your hair growth has changed?
- Has your hair been breaking more often?
When To See A Doctor
See your doctor if you are distressed by persistent hair loss in you or your child and want to pursue treatment. For women who are experiencing a receding hairline , talk with your doctor about early treatment to avoid significant permanent baldness.
Also talk to your doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your or your childs hair. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
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A Trichologist Is Not Medically Trained
A trichologist can of course help in some cases but can only give patients topical treatment for hair loss, as they are not medically trained. Unlike a dermatologist, they cannot perform tests that help with the diagnosis and evaluation of the condition and inform the best course of treatment these require special training.
For example, a dermatologist can perform a trichoscopy with a video dermatoscopy, a non-invasive technique that allows a rapid and magnified observation of the skins surface enabling the evaluation of hair thickness, presence of regrowing hairs and scalp inflammation. We can also perform a trigonometry, which involves an instrument that provides a numeric value of the hair quality. All of which are vital to in-depth diagnosis.
Dermatologists can also carry out a scalp biopsy, where a sample from the scalp is taken under local anaesthetic and tested under the microscope by a histopathologist. These tests are often necessary to evaluate cases of hair loss.
Only a dermatologist is qualified to carry out these tests, without which a full and thorough evaluation and diagnosis is not possible. Getting to the cause of your condition leads to better treatment. Furthermore, there are a variety of oral treatments available for hair disorders which a trichologist cannot prescribe but a dermatologist can so these are some reasons why you need a dermatologist for hair loss and not a Trichologist.
Symptoms Of Excessive Hair Loss
For most people, excessive hair loss is gradual, which means it happens over a long period of time. This is especially true of male-pattern baldness. Hair loss is considered excessive when it results in bald spots or hair that is noticeably thinning. In some cases, hair can fall out suddenly. This is typically caused by sudden or prolonged stress, either physical or emotional.
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Limit Those Bathroom Dye Jobs
Chemical hair treatmentsincluding dye, bleach, relaxers, and permsoften lead to hair loss, especially as the hair becomes drier and more brittle with age. “Each chemical service a hairstylist does, regardless of how great their products are, is still chemical,” says Claire. “Sticking with one hairstylist who knows your hair and what it can do is better for your hair health.”
Claire notes that hair dye is one of the most common chemical treatmentsand the one that can do the most damage. “Some people DIY with box dyes without understanding the science behind it all,” she says. “I also see some women seeking immediate gratification versus having the patience to go through transitional colors.”
Your best course of action? Find a hairstylist you love and work with them over the long term to achieve your hair goals.