Help! Why is my hair falling out?

alpecia
alpecia

Example of androgenic alopecia. Source: aad.org

Alopecia, or hair loss is an incredibly common issue we see in our practice every day. The average person can normally lose 50-100 hairs daily. There are various reasons to lose hair and these can be broadly categorized based on their underlying cause. Here are some of the more common causes of hair loss:
1.) Telogen Effluvium. This is a reactive condition typically occurring 2-3 months following a major life stressor or event such as pregnancy, surgery, medications, death in the family, or major illness. Emotional stresses or drastic changes in diet can even trigger this condition. People generally notice diffuse thinning of the hair without noticeable bald spots. As this condition is self-limited, resolution with hair regrowth occurs over the next 6-12 months. No treatment is necessary.
2.) Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles leaving small, oval, bald patches. Sometimes this condition is seen in association with other autoimmune conditions including vitiligo, thyroid disease, or diabetes.
3.) Health-related hair loss. Sometimes anemia, hypothyroidism, certain medications, autoimmune conditions, or low vitamin D levels can precipitate hair loss. Evaluation by a dermatologist will determine if this laboratory work up is necessary for you.
4.) Male and Female pattern hair loss. This is the most common type of hair loss that is also known as hereditary or androgenic alopecia. Men will notice recession around the temples and top of the scalp while women will typically see widening and thinning of the central part with preservation of the frontal hair line. This form of hair loss is due to hormonal and genetic factors.
5.) Traumatic Hair styling: Sometimes constant tension on the hairs from traumatic hair styling can lead to hair loss, particularly in the areas of highest tension along the temples.
How is hair loss treated?
Treatment options depend on the type of hair loss. For male and female pattern hair loss, we often start with topical minoxidil and can add systemic therapies if needed. Newer, exciting options such as platelet rich plasma, microneedling, and red light are gaining support as new evidence comes out in the literature. Supplements containing biotin and antioxidants may also stimulate hair regrowth.

If you are concerned about hair loss, schedule an appointment at Ferrara Dermatology Clinic where our team can determine the most effective option for you.

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