What causes hair loss?

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss of any kind. Although alopecia may not be dangerous to a person, it can have severe psychological impact. Alopecia can occur from many causes and may be localized or diffuse. It is identified by the presence of abrupt hair shedding, poor hair quality, hair thinning, or bald patches. There may be associated scalp disease or scarring. A skilled dermatologist can often identify the cause of alopecia simply by looking at the skin.

The most common causes of hair loss seen by dermatologists are alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and androgenetic alopecia (patterned hair loss); usually these diagnoses are straight-forward and no biopsy is required; other times a skin biopsy must be obtained to determine the cause of alopecia. In addition, lab tests are often performed concurrently to rule out reversible metabolic causes of hair loss and/or additional medical conditions.

What are the treatments for hair loss?

Depending on the cause (medication, infection, inflammation, hormone disturbance, cancer), alopecia can be treated with a wide variety of medicines. Unfortunately, not all forms of hair loss are easy to treat.

If you have alopecia of any kind that is causing emotional or physical discomfort, please make an appointment to see our dermatologist to have it properly diagnosed and treated.

Individual results may vary.

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