Can A Dermatologist Help With Hair Loss
Can a dermatologist help with hair loss? Its a common question we get from potential patients and followers on social media. Patients consider dermatologists for issues concerning the skin like acne, dermatitis, and skin cancers. However, your dermatologist can tackle all the problems concerning hair and nails.
When it comes to issues of the hair, none are more common and concerning as hair loss. Over 55 million Americans suffer from some degree of hair loss.
Many ignore the issue or are unaware of the excessive shedding. Others let it run its course and shave it all off or decide to cover it up with hairstyles, wigs, or hats. But for some, the issue could be distressing, emotionally devastating, and can even affect their daily lives. At this point, treating your hair loss goes beyond buying shampoo or an over-the-counter treatment. Youll need to visit your dermatologist to find out the root cause so that you can take a holistic approach to grow back those whiskers, pronto.
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.
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?
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What Is The Prognosis/outlook For Women With Hair Loss
Your diagnosis determines the prognosis:
- Anagen and telogen shedding may stop with time.
- Treat any diseases associated with hair loss.
- Disguise or cover your hair loss using a wig or hat.
- Early treatment of alopecia may reduce the speed of thinning and may promote regrowth.
While hair loss is not itself dangerous, women with hair loss tend to be very upset by the changes to their appearance. These negative feelings can affect self-esteem and social lives. Recent studies suggest that FPHL can be associated with conditions that include metabolic syndrome, endocrine disorders and diabetes.
Medical History Affects Hair Loss
A patients medical history can affect the success of hair loss treatments and therefore must be thoroughly analyzed. Certain medical conditions that restrict blood flow can compromise hair transplants or keep hair from regrowing successfully due to the newly transplanted hair follicles need for a healthy blood supply. Cigarette smoking is another factor that constricts blood flow and slows the wound healing process.
On the other hand, if a patient is taking blood thinners, taking herbal medication, or has had a cardiac stent in the last 12 months and is required to take anticoagulants, a hair transplant would be more difficult due to excessive bleeding.
Its equally important for your hair loss surgeon to review your medical history in order to determine if there is an underlying factor causing the alopecia. Both abnormal thyroid functioning and anemia have been found to contribute to hair loss.
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Hair Loss: Diagnosis And Treatment
Dermatologist examining a patient with hair loss
To find out what’s causing your hair loss, a dermatologist may use a tool called a dermascope to get a closer look.
Effective treatment for hair loss begins with finding the cause. To get an accurate diagnosis, it helps to see a board-certified dermatologist. These doctors have in-depth knowledge about the many causes of hair loss and experience treating the diverse causes.
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.
No matter who you are, if youre facing thinning hair, you have numerous options for online dermatologists and hair loss treatments. For men, lets compare Hims, Keeps, Roman, and Happy Head.
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Pull Test And Tug Test
This simple test measures the severity of hair loss. During a pull test, a dermatologist grasps small sections of hair, about 40 strands, from different parts of the scalp and gently tugs. If six or more strands fall out, you have whats known as active hair loss.
This may mean you have one of the following types of hair loss: telogen effluvium, in which hair falls out all over the scalp due to an interruption in the bodys cycle of hair production anagen effluvium, or rapid hair loss resulting from medical treatment loose anagen syndrome, which most commonly develops in young children and occurs when hair that is not firmly rooted in the follicle early androgenetic alopecia, better known as male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss or advanced alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the bodys immune system attacks healthy tissues, including the hair follicles.
During a tug test, the doctor grasps a section of hair and holds it with two hands, one near the root and one near the tip, then tugs to see if any of the strands break in the middle. This test gives the dermatologist information about the brittleness or fragility of your hair strands.
A doctor may use the tug test when he or she suspects a hair shaft abnormality, which causes hair strands to thin, weaken, and possibly break.
The Benefits Of Seeing A Hair Loss Doctor
With hair loss drugs like finasteride and minoxidil available over the counter, there are still plenty of reasons to see a hair loss doctor if youve noticed the initial signs of male pattern baldness.
Hair loss can occur due to many reasons. As if you work long hours in a stressful environment then you are dealing with a lots of stress which increase the risk of hair loss could be telogen effluvium caused by shock or frustration.
Some other reasons like a diet thats lacking in vitamins and minerals can lead to weak, thinning hair. Some men also experience hair loss as a result of skin conditions, certain medicines and lack of sleep.
Hair loss doctors specialize in identifying the root cause of hair loss and can quickly and easily tell you why your hair loss is occurring and what you can do about it.
They can also inform you about the effects you can expect from hair loss medications and other treatments, as well as the potential side effects.
If your hair loss isnt genetic, a hair loss doctor can help you to find out the root cause by conducting different tests.
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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.
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 Are Some Tips For Dealing With Hair Loss In Women
There are some things you can do on your own. You might check with your stylist or try some of these:
- Coloring your hair adds volume to the strands, making your hair seem fuller.
- Massaging your head, like when you are washing your hair, can stimulate blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles.
- Getting your hair cut shorter, and having layers added, can make your hair seem fuller.
- Using the right kind of shampoo can also help. Look for a shampoo that adds volume without using sulfate detergents.
- Using the right kind of product at the right time can also help. There are products that add volume that you add while your hair is still wet. However, using too much product can add weight.
What Type Of Training Does A Dermatologist Have
It takes roughly 12 years of education to become a licensed dermatologist.
Before they can begin practicing, a dermatologist must complete:
- Four years of college to earn a bachelors degree
- Four years of medical school to become a medical doctor
- A year-long internship
- Three years of residency, where they work alongside experienced doctors and complete 12,000 to 16,000 hours of patient treatment
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Reasons To See A Trichologist
Trichologists treat a wide range of hair and scalp conditions:
Male and Female Hair Loss
Pattern baldness is a common form of hair loss, or alopecia, in men and women. For men, hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, starting above both temples, eventually receding to form a characteristic âMâ shape. Women are more likely to experience overall hair thinning without a receding hairline.
In addition to the emotional aspects of hair loss, pattern baldness in men has been associated with several serious medical conditions, including coronary heart disease, enlargement of the prostate, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Hair loss in women is associated with an elevated risk of polycystic ovary syndrome , a hormonal imbalance that can cause irregular menstruation, acne, and weight gain.
Hair shedding, or telogen effluvium, occurs when large sections of hair fall detach from the scalp. This can be caused by several conditions, including stress, surgery, high fevers, blood loss, hormonal change, and childbirth. Hair shedding is a common side effect of some chemotherapy drugs.
If youâre experiencing hair shedding, a trichologist might be a good place to start. They should be able to direct you to a physician who can help you with underlying conditions.
Scarring alopecia is caused by inflammatory disorders, chemicals like hair relaxers, and several fungal conditions.
Excessive Hair Growth in Women
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Hair Loss
Because so many things can cause hair loss, a dermatologist acts like a detective and begins by asking questions. The dermatologist will want to know whether your hair loss happened suddenly or gradually. Knowing this helps to determine the cause.
A dermatologist also will ask what medicines you take, what allergies you have, and whether you have been dieting. It is important to give the dermatologist accurate information. Like a murder mystery, the slightest clue can solve the case. Women may be asked about their menstrual cycles, pregnancies, and menopause.
The dermatologist also will carefully look at your scalp and hair. During an exam, the dermatologist may pull on your hair. Sometimes a dermatologist needs to pull out a hair to get the necessary evidence. And sometimes a dermatologist needs to look at the hair on the rest of your body to see whether there is too little or too much hair in other areas.
Sometimes the evidence lies in your scalp. The dermatologist may remove a small piece of the scalp. This is called a scalp biopsy. A dermatologist can quickly and safely perform a scalp biopsy during an office visit. A scalp biopsy can be essential to solving the case. Sometimes, a blood test is necessary.
Because so many things can cause hair loss, it can take time to find the cause.
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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.