Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from the head or body. Baldness can refer to general hair loss or male pattern hair loss. Alopecia affects hair growth and can lead to permanent hair loss. Hair loss can be difficult to come to terms with, especially when it comes to your self-esteem. When you lose your hair, you are losing your self-esteem as well. This can affect your confidence and sometimes lead to depression. Let’s understand hair loss in a gist.
- Hair loss is a common condition and affects most people at some time in their lives.
- Hair loss from breakage of the hair shaft is different than hair loss from decreased hair growth.
- Androgenetic hair loss is seen in both men and women but is worse in men.
- Thyroid disease, anemia, protein deficiency, and low vitamin levels may cause hair loss.
- Alopecia areata is a relatively common cause of patchy or localized hair loss
- Prevention of hair loss includes good hair hygiene, regular shampooing, and good nutrition.
- Medical health screening for hair loss may include blood tests such as complete blood count (CBC), iron level, vitamin B, and thyroid function tests (TFT).
Some signs and symptoms are such as:
- Gradual thinning on top of the head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter’ M’. Women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
- Circular or patchy bald spots. Some people experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some cases, your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
- Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
- Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back.
- Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by the broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.
When to see a Dermatologist?
See a dermatologist, when you are distressed by hair loss and want to pursue treatment. Also, talk to us if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your hair. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
What you can do?
- List key personal information.
- Make a list of all medications.
- List questions to ask your doctor.
For hair loss, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
Before making a diagnosis, your doctor will likely ask you to perform tests, such as the following:
- Blood test. This may help uncover medical conditions related to hair loss, such as thyroid disease.
- Pull test. Your doctor gently pulls several dozen hairs to see how many come out. This helps determine the stage of the shedding process.
- Scalp biopsy. Your doctor scrapes samples from the skin or from a few hairs plucked from the scalp to examine the hair roots. This can help determine whether an infection is causing hair loss.
- Light microscopy. Your doctor uses a special instrument to examine hairs at their bases. Microscopy helps uncover possible disorders of the hair shaft.
Effective treatments for some types of hair loss are available. But some hair loss is permanent. Treatments for hair loss include medications, surgery, laser therapy, and wigs or hairpieces. The goals of treatment are to promote hair growth, slow hair loss or hide hair loss. Contact Skin City for further clarifications.