While daily shedding of hair is normal, if you notice increased hair shedding, your hair becoming thinner or bald patches develop you should be evaluated for one of the many hair loss conditions.
What are the different hair loss conditions?
Androgenetic Alopecia – Thinning of the hair at the crown of the scalp primarily in men, but women can also be affected
Alopecia Areata – Characterized by distinct circular patches of hair loss, which can affect men and women of all ages
Telogen Effluvium – Intense and diffuse shedding of the hair
Tinea Capitis – A fungal infection of the scalp that appears as circular patch of hair loss with scaling on the scalp
Scarring Hair Loss – Different conditions can contribute to inflammation, scarring and sometimes permanent hair loss.
What are the causes of Hair Loss?
There are a number factors that could contribute to hair loss. If the condition persists or worsens, it is important to meet with a physician to find the underlying cause.
Potential factors include:
-Hormonal triggers (including potential underlying thyroid conditions)
-Stressful Events, hospitalizations, recent illness or delivery, medications
Blood tests may be necessary for diagnostic purposes.
What treatments are available for Hair Loss?
There are multiple topical, oral, and injectable treatments available once a diagnosis is made.
Non-Prescription Treatments: It may be recommended that you start a series of vitamins or supplements depending on the cause of hair loss. These include Iron, Biotin, and other possible over-the-counter oral supplements. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis from a physician before starting any supplements. Stress reduction may also be helpful.
Topical Treatments: There are a number of different topical treatments that can be used to help aid in hair growth. These include over-the-counter Minoxidil, prescription shampoos and topical steroids depending on the type of hair loss. If the condition is caused by a fungal infection, topical and/or oral antifungals may be prescribed as well. Your doctor will help come up with a plan that best fits your condition.
Oral Prescription Treatment: For both men and women, oral treatments may be recommended. These options include Spironolactone (for women only) and Finasteride. Your doctor will discuss all risks and benefits with you prior to prescribing these medications.
Intralesional Injections: For alopecia areata, intralesional injections directly into the areas with a steroid may improve the condition. It can take multiple treatments over many months separated by six weeks before results can be seen.
With so many causes and a multitude of treatment options it is important to make an appointment with your dermatologist to see what treatments are best for you.