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.
Do You Need A Hair Loss Doctor
Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD
If youve noticed your hairline starting to recede or your hair beginning to thin, one of the most important steps you can take in stopping any further hair loss is getting in touch with a hair loss doctor.
Hair loss can start as early as your teens, and some men experience the early signs of male pattern baldness in their 20s or 30s. The point is, with baldness, the earlier you take action and seek treatment, the more of your hair youll be able to keep.
Luckily, almost all male hair loss is treatable today. A hair loss doctor can work with you to find out whats causing your hair loss and put together a hair loss prevention protocol that helps you minimize further loss and keep as much of your hair as possible.
Not sure if you need a hair loss doctor? Below, weve listed the key benefits of talking to a hair loss doctor, as well as some signs you can look for to know when its time to take action and do something about your hair loss.
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
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What To Expect During An In
During an in-person hair loss visit with a doctor, they will likely start off by asking you questions about your hair loss.The doctor may ask:
- When did your hair loss start?
- How rapidly is hair being lost?
- Have you had any stressors or life changes recently?
- Have you had rapid weight changes?
- What medications and supplements are you taking?
- Is your hair breaking or growing slower?
- Do you have relatives with hair loss?
- Is the hair loss in a certain location or all over?
- Has anything made the hair loss better or worse?
After talking with you, your doctor may perform or order certain tests to get to the root of the problem.
Tests may include:
You’ve Been Super Stressed Or Ill
Stress or illness can cause hair lossit’s a process known as telogen effluvium, or the excessive shedding of hair induced by stress, Michelle Henry, MD, a dermatologist based in New York, previously told Health.
“Our bodies perceive mental stress the same way it perceives physical stress, and any dramatic stressor on the body can cause hair growth to become arrested,” Dr. Henry said. “And when hair growth is arrested, it sheds.” Specifically, when the body is stressed it released the hormone cortisol, which can then affect the hair follicle and result in shedding or hair loss. That shedding typically occurs at least three months following a stressful event, Angelo Landriscina, MD, a Washington, DC-based dermatologist, previously told Health.
Of course, preventing stress is the easiest way to help prevent stress-induced hair lossbut that’s not always an easy thing to do. If you experience hair loss of any kind, it’s wise to check in with your dermatologist. Should they determine that your hair loss is stress-related, your derm may recommend a treatment called minoxidil, a vasodilator that improves circulation around the hair bulb at the base of the hair follicle, to help grow hair back that you’ve lost. Also important: having patience and allowing time for hair growth.
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Should I See A Dermatologist For Hair Loss
Of course, you can ask for advice from your dermatologist online, but we would recommend seeing him/her personally. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a dermatologist is only trained to take care of any skin issues. Your dermatologist is able to recognize and treat any issues that are linked, not only to your skin but also to your nails and hair. That is why, during your visit at the dermatologist, you will be asked to take away most of your clothes, so that your doctor can inspect the whole skin, your scalp and hair, and your nails to look for any irregularities.
Of course, your dermatologist will also ask you about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Other tests such as a blood test or a hormone test might be required as well. For example, if your dermatologist discovers that it is really a serious hair loss case that you are dealing with, he/she would naturally want to investigate further and discover the reason behind it. You might be instructed to expand your visit to an endocrinologist or even another dermatologist due to the importance of a second opinion.
Do You Need A Specialist
For many, the decision to bring in a medical specialist is determined by ones health care plan. HMOs require patients to first see a primary care physician, who may then refer them to a specialist. On the other hand, PPO health plans require no referral, allowing patients to choose their own specialist.
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Effective Hair Loss Treatments
Hair loss caused by stress or hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause, may not require any treatment. Instead, the loss will likely stop on its own after the body adjusts.
Nutrient deficiencies also dont often require medical treatment beyond supplements, unless the deficiency is caused by an underlying health condition. And any medical conditions that lead to hair loss should be treated directly to address the full condition, not just its symptoms.
That said, there are a number of possible medications and treatments for hair loss caused by female-pattern baldness and other alopecias. You may need to use one or a combination of treatments for months or years to see the full results.
Treatment For Other Causes Of Hair Loss
If a disease, medicine, or stress is the cause of hair loss, then treating the disease, changing medicines, or managing stress may stop the hair loss. And your hair is likely to grow back. For example, if an underactive thyroid is causing the problem, taking thyroid medicine may help. And most hair lost during chemotherapy will grow back after the treatment ends.
If alopecia areata is the cause of hair loss, medicines such as corticosteroids can be used to treat it. But because hair often grows back within a year, you may decide not to have treatment. Understanding the come-and-go nature of hair loss with this condition can help you make the best treatment decision. Children and teens may need counseling to help them adjust to the hair loss.
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An Overview Of Hair Loss
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is experienced by both men and women. We all lose hair every day around 500 hairs a day, that is, but when you notice bald patches forming or a serious thinning of the hair, it is probably a hair loss case at the question.
The most common cause of hair loss is genetics when a hereditary hair loss happens. But hair loss also happens due to stress, pregnancy, menopause, thyroid issues, iron deficiency anemia, and much more. Unfortunately, not all cases of hair loss are fully treated. However, there are some treatment options that you can try, as not all hope is lost. The first step would be scheduling a visit to your dermatologists office.
A Stressful Life Event
Out of nowhere, you notice a lot of hair falling out. You see it on your pillow, on the floor, on your clothes, and stuck in the shower drain. Hair seems to come out so easily, youre afraid to brush it. The medical term for this is telogen effluvium.
During a telogen effluvium, it might feel like you are going to go bald. Rest assured you wont. Telogen effluvium is a response to stress. Excess hair shedding starts 2 to 3 months after a stressful physical or emotional event and peaks about 4 to 5 months later. Over time, your body readjusts and the hair gradually stops falling out. Within 6 to 9 months, things go back to normal.
Stressful life events like losing a loved one, going through surgery, or being diagnosed with a serious illness can all increase your risk for hair loss. But hair loss itself can be stressful, too, which can lead to a vicious cycle. Remember: Telogen effluvium is temporary you will not go bald from it, and your hair will come back. In most cases, no treatment is necessary.
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Why You Need A Dermatologist For Hair Loss Not A Trichologist
11 Mar 2020
If you are looking for the right person to treat your hair loss its important to know the facts so that you get the very best treatment available. Hair loss can be caused by a whole range of conditions, such as alopecia areata, many different autoimmune diseases, anaemia, thyroid disorders, traction, and baldness. While it can potentially be caused by one of these disorders, female hair loss can also occur as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome after pregnancy and during menopause.
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.
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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.
When To See A Dermatologist For Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common reason for a visit to the dermatology office. Losing hair is a normal part of our biology. It is absolutely normal to lose anywhere between 50-150 hairs every single day. However, if your hair is falling out in clumps, if you notice circular areas of hair thinning or you are simply concerned about your hair shedding it is time to make an appointment with us.
We lose hair for many reasons. One of the most common reasons someone is after a major stressor or life event. This type of hair loss, called Telogen Effluvium, generally occurs 90 or so days after the event. A common scenario might be after having a baby, major surgery with general anesthesia, loss of a loved one or even an event such as an illness or change in jobs. This type of hair loss is characterized by overall thinning all over the scalp, without clumps of hair loss. Although this condition generally resolves on its own within a year, there are some strategies to help and your provider can walk you through all of the options.
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How Does Excessive Washing Styling Or Coloring Affect Hair
Shampooing regularly actually helps keep your hair and scalp healthy and is unrelated to hair loss. On the other hand, coloring, perming or relaxing your hair regularly, can damage your hair, which can eventually lead to losses. Hair appliances that use high heat, like blow dryers and curling irons, can also lead to damaged hair and breakage, which can look like baldness. While you can change how you care for your hair, once a hair follicle is damaged, hair cannot grow from that follicle.