Hair Loss Causes and Patient Solutions
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
Hair loss is one of the most common patient concerns that can affect both men and women alike and while there are many types of hair loss and thinning, male and female pattern hair loss is one of the most common forms that we see at Kline Dermatology. While there are several factors that can cause hair loss or increasingly fine and thin hair, patients that lose hair around their temples and on the vertex or top of the scalp typically have hereditary and hormonal factors contributing to their condition.
What we so often find with patients is a lack of knowledge as to what can contribute to hair loss and understandably so, as many seemingly innocuous habits can actually exacerbate and cause certain forms. As an example, hair loss can be due to traction or pulling on the hair so wearing the hair loosely as often as possible allows the follicle to remain rooted in the scalp. Avoiding chemical straighteners and hot oils as well as perming can prevent significant damage to the scalp, which can also lead to sometimes permanent hair loss over time, especially with repeated exposure. In addition, certain medications, stresses and/or systemic conditions and illnesses can also cause a form of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This often starts a few months after the initial trigger is introduced and patients typically notice diffuse hair loss. If a direct trigger cannot easily be identified, a series of lab work can be done to make sure it’s not a new onset medical condition that may be contributing. Finally, alopecia areata, which often appears as circular or oval areas of hair loss on the scalp, beard area or loss of hair on the eyelashes or eyebrows, is a common form of hair loss. Usually, intra-lesional or topical steroids can help stimulate hair regrowth but a variety of treatments are available if this does not help.
Hair Loss Treatment Options
While any form of hair loss or thinning can be difficult and even debilitating, the encouraging news is that there are a plethora of treatments that can be useful and effective for many patients. My preferred treatment plan is a multimodality approach to optimize results. If the cases are mild to moderate, injections or microneedling with platelet rich plasma (which contains the body’s own growth factors) can be used to stimulate hair regrowth for patients with female or male pattern hair loss or alopecia areata. I like to combine this with a daily at-home treatment consisting of a prescription-strength topical minoxidil. Some patients benefit from the addition of oral medications, which counter the hormones that contribute to hair loss. In more severe cases, a hair transplant along with other treatment modalities may be most beneficial. Most of all, a commitment to home care is incredibly important in between any in-office treatments and maintained as part of a strict daily regimen. You wouldn’t go to the dentist for a cleaning and not brush your teeth at home!
While this is a fairly comprehensive list of the more common causes of hair loss and the treatments available to address the concern, there are certainly other types of hair loss and treatments that we don’t have time to mention here but can always address when we are able to meet and diagnose a patient.
What is most important for us as physicians is to make sure that any patient’s regimen is tailored to them and their personal needs and that any treatments they undergo are practical for their lifestyle. If you are a patient looking for answers on hair loss, be sure to visit with a verified and well-qualified dermatologist who will address the cause of your hair loss and work with you to make sure your treatment is individualized for optimal benefits.