WHAT IS HAIR LOSS/ALOPECIA?
Everyone loses hair. In fact, it is normal to lose about 50-100 hairs per day. However, if you feel that your hair is coming out in handfuls or you are noticing bald patches, you could be experiencing hair loss or alopecia. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ALOPECIA?
- Androgenetic or male-pattern/ female-pattern baldness – The most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition called hereditary hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. About 80 million men and women in the United States have this type of hair loss. In women, the hair generally thins more diffusely on the scalp but the hairline is maintained. This is in contrast to male pattern baldness where often times the hair line recedes or a bald spot develops on the crown of the head.
- Alopecia Areata– is characterized by a sudden loss of hair in one area resulting in well defined bald patches. This condition is most common on the scalp, but can occur anywhere on the body including the beard and sometimes even the eyebrows or eyelashes. This form of hair loss is common in children and adults.
- Telogen Effluvium – A sudden physical or emotional stress may cause an abnormal amount of hair throughout your scalp to shed (called Telogen effluvium). It is often common to experience clumps of hair falling when you shampoo, comb, or run your hands through your hair. The hair loss often occurs weeks to months after the stressful event. The hair shedding generally normalizes over 6 – 8 months. Cause of this type of hair loss are:
- High fever or severe infection
- Major surgery, major illness, sudden blood loss
- Severe emotional stress
- Crash diets, especially those that do not contain enough protein
- A number of medications, including retinoids, birth control pills, beta-blockers, certain antidepressants, NSAIDs (including ibuprofen) and calcium channel blockers
- Medical conditions such as thyroid disease
- Scarring alopecia – can be caused by many conditions including autoimmune and inflammatory conditions such as lupus, trauma to the scalp (including that from burns, tight hair styles or harsh chemical treatments to the scalp), continual hair pulling or bacterial and fungal skin infections.
HOW IS ALOPECIA DIAGNOSED?
In addition to a thorough medical history and physical examination, our doctors may determine that blood work or possibly even a biopsy of the scalp is necessary to help identify the type of hair loss that is present.
HOW IS ALOPECIA TREATED?
Not all alopecia is treated the same. The treatment plan developed by our doctors will depend on the type of alopecia diagnosed and individual characteristics and preferences. The main goal of therapy is to identify all reversible forms of hair loss and address any underlying condition or prevent further trauma that may be causing the alopecia. Additionally, some treatments include topical minoxidil, topical and intralesional (injected) corticosteroids, or hair transplantation.