Everyone loses hair! It is normal to lose about 50 to 100 hairs every day, but if you see bald patches or lots of thinning, you might be experiencing abnormal hair loss.
There are many causes of hair loss – child birth, stress, some diseases and medical treatments, but the most common cause of hair loss is hereditary.
Treatment for hair loss helps many people feel better. Hair loss, especially in women, can cause low self-esteem. Many women feel unattractive and embarrassed. Your dermatologist can offer solutions to help you feel and look your best.
Q: Are there different types of hair loss?
A: Yes, there are several different types, but most cases fall under the following three:
• Androgenic alopecia: Also called pattern baldness, this is a genetic condition that causes hair loss in both men and women, though men are more likely to have it. In men, this is characterized by the loss of hair above the temples and around the crown of the head, while women typically experience overall thinning of the hair.
• Alopecia areata: This occurs when your immune system attacks your hair follicles in certain areas, causing patchy hair loss. This can occur in both males and females of all ages, including children. Normally in this case, the hair grows back. Extensive alopecia areata is more challenging.
• Telogen effluvium: This is severe hair shedding for several months following stress of many kinds.
Q: How is hair loss treated?
A: It all depends on the type of alopecia. If you’re experiencing pattern baldness there are several treatment options:
• Minoxidil, an over-the-counter topical medication that may slow or reverse further hair loss.
• Spironolactone, an oral medication that may protect hair follicles from the effects of male sex hormones.
• Finasteride, an oral medication that interrupts the hormone responsible for hair loss.
While these three medications might be effective, none can always help you regain the hair you’ve lost. Hair transplants are also available if there are adequate donor hairs.
Q: How does a hair transplant work?
A: There are various methods used which involve taking hair from the healthy areas of your head, usually around the back, and transplanting it into the areas you need it most.
Most causes of hair loss can be stopped or treated. If you want to further investigate ways to manage, or even reverse, your hair loss, contact an experienced dermatologist.
Dr. Oswald Lightsey Mikell, certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is the owner of Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry.