What Are The Types Of Hair Loss
There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium: This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle .
- Telogen effluvium: This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss /baldness: This type is the most common. Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Losing hair in an unusual pattern
- Losing hair rapidly or at an early age
- Pain or itching with the hair loss
- The skin on your scalp under the involved area is red, scaly, or otherwise abnormal
- Acne, facial hair, or an abnormal menstrual cycle
- You are a woman and have male pattern baldness
- Bald spots on your beard or eyebrows
- Weight gain or muscle weakness, intolerance to cold temperatures, or fatigue
- Areas of infection on your scalp
Why Consulting A Dermatologist Is Crucial For Hair Loss
For both women and men, its important to see adermatologist for many reasons if youre experiencing hair thinning:
- Dermatologists can offer expert advice and help you get to the root of the problem more quickly than if you try to self-diagnose the issue on your own.
- You can be prescribed medications, and get a biopsy if necessary.
- Sometimes, your dermatologist will identify a more serious underlying medical issue that is causing your hair to fall out.
The only way to treat hair loss effectively is to identify the cause, said Dr. Kevin DeHart. We look at each patients total health history in order to diagnose them. There are a lot of reasons for hair loss, and its everything from a thyroid issue to a new medication to a recent trauma.
The best course of action is determined in part by the type of thinning you have. A scalp biopsy may be done in order to see hairs under the skin. Working alongside Dr. Kevin DeHart and Dr. Kelly DeHart, ParisersDr. Ashley Reed performs biopsies for us and helps determine the diagnosis. However, scalp biopsy is not common and only 10 percent of patients who come to Pariser Dermatology for thinning hair need a scalp biopsy.
Under the microscope youre going to see different things, for example the follicle size of the hair. This can show us, for example, whether testosterone has influenced the hair loss or if broken hairs indicate trichotillomania, which is pulling out hairs.
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What Is Hair Loss Anyway
For starters, losing hair is not inherently a bad thing. Its a natural part of life, regardless of age or sex. We lose somewhere between 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. That sounds like a lot. However, we have over 100,000 strands of hair and many more hair follicles, so daily hair loss is hardly noticeable. When we start losing many more and start seeing bald spots, we know something is wrong. Each hair follicle on our head is going through a stage of growth. These follicles can be in different stages at any point:
In some cases, the rate of new hair growth is not fast enough to replace what was lost, causing baldness. Alopecia is the scientific name for hair loss, and it can happen in several ways and forms. Generally, hair loss can be categorized into thinning hair, receding hair, sudden clumps of hair falling out, or patches around the head. In severe cases, some people can experience full-body hair loss.
Where To Buy Hair Loss Medication
The most accessible hair loss treatments are those made with minoxidil. Brands like Rogaine are widely available over the counter at pharmacies and online retailers.
Prescription drugs used to treat hair loss finasteride, spironolactone, and dutasteride are more accessible with subscription-based telehealth platforms like Hims, Keeps, and Roman.
Hims is a telemedicine company that offers treatments for a variety of health conditions, including hair loss for men.
Over-the-counter products, such as minoxidil foams and solutions, are available for anyone to purchase.
If youre interested in prescription-strength products, such as oral finasteride, Hims can connect you with a healthcare professional from your own home.
The cost of Hims varies considerably. A 3-month supply of some of their most popular hair loss products is priced at $195.
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What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Hair Loss
With an accurate diagnosis, many people who have hair loss can see hair regrowth. If you need treatment for regrowth, the earlier you start, the more likely you are to see regrowth.
Its important to understand that:
Not every type of hair loss can be treated, but a dermatologist may be able to prevent further hair loss.
It can take months before you see results from treatment.
No one treatment works for everyone, even two people with the same type of hair loss.
Sometimes, hair loss is stubborn and requires trying different treatments before finding one that works.
Self-care also plays an essential role in preventing and treating hair loss. To find out what dermatologists recommend, go to Hair loss: Self-care.
Images1,2: Getty Images
3: Property of the American Academy of Dermatology, A to Z Video Series
4: Image used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 39:578-89.
ReferencesAdil A, Godwin M. The effectiveness of treatments for androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 77:136-141.
American Academy of Dermatology:
Research demonstrates potential of platelet-rich plasma therapy for hair loss News release issued March 1, 2019. Last accessed May 22, 2019.
New generation of laser and light therapies could provide future treatment options for skin, hair and nail conditions, News release issued March 16, 2012. Last accessed May 22, 2019.
What Is Female Pattern Baldness
Female pattern baldness also called androgenetic alopecia, is hair loss that specifically affects women. Its similar to male pattern baldness, except that women can lose their hair in a different pattern than men.
If youre experiencing female pattern baldness, youre not alone. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology , this condition affects roughly 33 percent of all women who are at higher risk for the condition.
Hair loss in women is a normal process, especially as you age, with most women experiencing hair loss after menopause. More than half of women ages 65 and older will experience some degree of hair loss.
In female pattern baldness, the hairs growth phase slows down. It also takes longer for new hair to begin growing. Hair follicles shrink, leading the hair that does grow to be thinner and finer. This can result in hair that easily breaks.
Female pattern baldness is hereditary. Its also more common after menopause, so hormones are likely responsible. If you notice that youre losing hair, its important to talk with your doctor or a dermatologist. They will be able to determine if youre experiencing female pattern baldness or a different type of hair loss caused by other factors.
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How Do Hair Loss Medications Work
Hair loss medications work by reducing hair loss or stimulating new hair growth. Topical and oral products work in different ways.
- Minoxidil. This medication works, in part, by shortening the resting phase of the hair growth cycle and moving hairs into the active growth phase. However, the exact mechanism by which minoxidil works isnt fully understood yet.
- Finasteride. This medication works by blocking the action of an enzyme that converts the hormone testosterone to another hormone, dihydrotestosterone, that causes hair loss in men.
- Spironolactone. This medication works by slowing down male hormones called androgens, which includes testosterone. It slows down hair loss due to androgenic alopecia and helps hair regrowth in women.
- Dutasteride. This medication works much like finasteride. It inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.
What Treatments Are Available
Once your dermatologist diagnoses your hair loss, they will determine whether treatment could be effective. Treatments can either help hair regrow more quickly or slow future hair loss. Keep in mind that age-related or genetic hair loss may not be reversible.
Patients who have a medical condition causing hair loss, like a thyroid issue or infection, will need to treat that condition before addressing the hair loss. In some cases, your dermatologist will refer you to a specialist for treatment. If you have a medical condition like alopecia areata, the dermatologist may prescribe medications or recommend an over-the-counter treatment.
In-office procedures can also be effective for some patients. These treatments can include corticosteroid injections, laser therapy, and platelet-rich plasma therapy. You may require repeated treatments before seeing improvement in hair growth.
Its also important to mention that your dermatologist may recommend lifestyle changes to prevent future hair loss. This may include changing your diet, as well as avoiding certain hairstyles and hair pieces.
Hair loss can be complicated, but the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment. Located in Long Beach, CA and a number of other convenient locations, our medical dermatology professionals are committed to helping you look and feel your best. Contact us today to get started.
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When To See A Doctor
Talk to your doctor if you find your hair loss distressing. You should also talk to your doctor if you notice a sudden and significant hair loss, as this may be a sign of an underlying condition. Remedies your doctor may recommend include:
- Prescription medication like the liquid treatment minoxidil â commercially known as Rogaine â or pills like Aldactone , Avodart , Carospir , and Propecia
- Laser treatment, newly approved by the FDA
Trust Your Dermatologist With Your Hair Loss Concerns
So can a dermatologist help with hair loss? The answer is a resounding yes. With a range of medical and in-office procedures available, your dermatologist will be able to improve your hair. The first step is to visit your dermatologist to comprehensively review your hair and any skin concerns.
At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we pride ourselves in truly understanding the struggles of your hair.
Our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Rodney, has extensive knowledge of the reasons behind hair loss. From there, her deep understanding will translate to an effective, long-term method to bringing your hair loss under control.
To start your hair-growth journey, schedule a consultation with Eternal Dermatology. Were conveniently located in Fulton, MD, and serve patients in Columbia, Silver Springs, Howard County, Baltimore, Washington DC and surrounding areas.
There are a few ways you can connect with us:
- Book an appointment directly on our website.
- You can also request a consultation by clicking the link at the bottom of our homepage.
- Call or email us via our Contact Page.
With your dermatologists help, hair loss does not need to be an inevitable part of life.
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Other Treatments For Hair Loss
Some at-home strategies and lifestyle changes may help minimize hair loss.
Certain vitamins and supplements may be helpful. Vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, and vitamin D are all beneficial for hair health. Iron and zinc may also curb hair loss.
A high protein diet may be recommended. Hair is made up of protein, so getting enough protein in your diet is important for hair growth.
Other professional treatments include laser devices and microneedling. Steroid injections, hair transplants, and platelet-rich plasma procedures may be options to consider, although these are more common treatments for inflammatory hair loss.
Ultimate Solution: Visit Your Doctor
If youre not sure whats causing the hair loss, it may be a good idea to visit your doctor. The underlying cause may be nutrition-related, or it could have something to do with your hormone levels. Talk to your physician to find out if there is a hormone-based cause behind your hair loss, and take steps to deal with the problem before you really start losing hair!
A certain amount of hair loss is to be expected. Every time your brush your hair or take a shower, you expect to see a few errant hairs falling out. As long as theyre not too many, you can live with it.
But what do you do if the shower drain is getting clogged or your brush is too full of hair? Perhaps youve noticed your hair is looking thinner, duller, or dryer, and you seem to be pulling out handfuls at a time. How can you treat the hair loss before it gets out of control?
Well, we need to make one thing very clear: not all hair loss can be treated!
Essentially, there are three basic kinds of hair loss:
Weve come up with a lot of solutions on how to treat hair loss quickly, but theyre all for the other causes of hair loss. They all focus on improving the health of your hair, scalp, circulatory system, and body overall, ensuring that your body has everything it needs to create new, healthy hair on its own.
With no further ado, here are our tips to help you know how to treat hair loss quickly the natural way:
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How Do Dermatologists Find Out Whats Causing Hair Loss
To pinpoint the cause of your hair loss, a dermatologist begins by gathering information. Your dermatologist will:
Ask questions. Its important to know how long youve had hair loss and whether it came on quickly.
Look closely at your scalp, nails, any other area with hair loss. This exam provides vital clues about whats happening.
Test the health of your hair. Gently pulling on your hair tells your dermatologist a lot about how your hair is growing and whether its prone to breaking.
If your dermatologist suspects that the cause of your hair loss could be a disease, vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, or infection, you may need a blood test or scalp biopsy. These tests can be done in your dermatologists office.
Once your dermatologist has this information, its often possible to tell you whats causing your hair loss.
Sometimes, your dermatologist needs more information. This might be the case if someone has more than one cause. For example, a woman may have had a baby a few months ago, and this may be causing obvious hair shedding. She may also have early hereditary loss, which isnt so obvious.
No one hair loss treatment works for everyone
Once your dermatologist finds the cause, your dermatologist will tell you whether treatment is recommended. Sometimes, your hair will regrow on its own, making treatment unnecessary.
Do Your Best To Opt For Gentle Hair Care
Try your best to stay away from tightly bound styles, like braids, buns, or ponytails, and resist twisting or rubbing your hair.
Gently wash or brush hair, switching to a wide-toothed comb if necessary to prevent too much pulling at the roots.
Hot rollers, curling or straightening irons, hot oil treatments, bleaching, and other chemical processes are other things to avoid.
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What Hair Loss Doctors Should I See
Endocrinologist focus on the endocrine organs which are responsible for hormone secretion. The endocrine organs consist of the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, testes, and pancreas. An endocrinologist is able to first diagnosis the problem and then also provide treatment to restore hormone balance. Endocrinologist mainly treats:
- Over and underproduction of hormones
- Cancer of the endocrine glands
When it comes to hair loss, these are great doctors to see if you believe you have an underlying issue as to why you are losing hair. In general, we would suggest seeing them just to rule out there is not an underlying issue.
Dermatologist focus on the skin and appendages . They study the structure, function, and diseases. They can perform medical examinations as well as surgery. This would include laser surgery, skin cancer surgery, photodynamic therapy and cosmetic procedures such as botox, soft tissue fillers, sclerotherapy, and liposuction. Within this field of study, there is dermatopathologist who look at the skin, usually a biopsy of skin, under a microscope. Immunodermatologist focus on the diagnosis and management of skin disease driven by an altered immune system.
A dermatologist is great to see regarding hair loss if we know there is no underlying issue with our endocrine system.
Thinning Hair And Hair Loss: Could It Be Female Pattern Hair Loss
For most women, FPHL begins in midlife, when a woman is in her 40s, 50s, or 60s. It can begin earlier for some women.
FPHL is a progressive condition. This means women tend to continue losing hair. But women do not lose all of their hair, as do some men. Instead, your part often gets wider. Hair near your temples may recede. Without treatment, some women eventually develop widespread thinning.
Treatment can prevent hair loss from worsening and help women regrow their hair. Treatment delivers the best results when started at the first sign of hair loss.
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