Hair Loss & Scalp Disorders
Hair loss: How much is too much?
Hair is not permanent. Follicles cycle through actively growing and resting phases, shedding existing hairs and growing new ones. On average, we lose about 100 hairs a day, as evidenced by the accumulation on your pillowcase and in your hairbrush. Surely, you aren’t going to count every hair you lose, every day. There are a few clear signs of potential problems:
- Hair coming out in clumps rather than individual strands.
- A noticeable increase in the hairs shed during the night, or when washing or combing your hair.
- Your hair seems finer than it used to be.
- Balding or thinning spots, or a receding hairline.
Should you be concerned?
In most cases, hair loss is not medically dangerous. It is typically caused by factors such as scalp conditions, hair styling products, stress, or genetics. However, it can be emotionally and psychologically devastating. Our confidence is strongly affected by our appearance. Even more important for many individuals are the symbolic and social connotations related to hair loss.
Many people erroneously believe that hair loss only happens to men, so women often feel abnormal and ashamed when facing this problem. For men, it can be just as difficult to face. Although male hair loss is widely accepted as “normal” it is associated with old age, causing many men to feel “over the hill” when it begins. The age related association is especially challenging for young people who experience hair loss, which is more common than many people realize.
Treatment may be optional if you are not bothered by the condition. However, if you decide not to treat your hair loss, the cause should be diagnosed by a dermatologist, because in some instances it is actually a symptom of a medical condition.
Types of hair loss
Hair loss, known as alopecia in medical terms, comes in many forms, from thinning to complete baldness. There are many types of hair loss. A few of the most common include:
- Alopecia Areata – This autoimmune disorder causes your body to attack its own hair follicles.
- Androgenetic Alopecia – This is often called Male Pattern Baldness, though it can occur in men or women. It is caused by genetics and hormonal factors.
- Telogen Effluvium – This is brought on by a stressful condition, and usually begins several months after the trigger.
- Chemical Hair Damage – This is often associated with hair styling products. Chemical exposure causes hair to dry and become brittle, breaking off.
- Traction Alopecia – This is another hairstyling-related problem. It occurs when the hair is pulled too tight, damaging the follicles.
Treatment at Dr. W Dermatology
“Expert Care to Save Your Hair”
The best solution for hair loss varies greatly depending on the cause. We will begin with a comprehensive evaluation, including a discussion of your medical history, family history, and any habits that may be factors. Once an accurate diagnosis has been ascertained, he will devise a personalized treatment plan, tailored to your situation.
- Some types of hair loss are temporary, and expected to resolve in a period of time.
- In some cases, the condition can be improved by taking measures such as alternate hair styling techniques, addressing other health conditions.
- Topical and\or oral medication may be prescribed for certain types of hair loss.
- Light therapy may be used to stimulate hair growth.
- In some cases, the follicles may be permanently damaged and unable to grow new hairs. A transplant may be necessary.
For more information about hair loss, see Dr. Weaver’s Black Hair Loss Guide: How to Stop Thinning Hair and Avoid Permanent Baldness, a book authored by Dr. Seymour Weaver.