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Hair Loss

What is it?

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  • Hereditary Thinning or Balding – Hereditary baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss. More common in men than women, hair loss can be inherited from either parent and can begin as early as one’s teens. Men with androgenetic alopecia typically have a receding hairline and hair loss on the front and top of the head. Women generally experience overall thinning of their hair. While there is no cure, medical treatments are available. 
  • Alopecia Areata – A common disease that results in the loss of hair; more than four million people in the United States are affected. Hair loss usually begins with one small, round, smooth patch and can result in complete loss of scalp and body hair. While heredity plays a role, the cause of alopecia areata is unknown. The hair follicles remain alive and the hair will usually grow back, no matter the extent or duration of the hair loss. Some treatments include cortisone injections, topical medications, light treatment or pills, so that the hair may re-grow faster. 
  • Telogen Effluvium – Metabolic or hormonal stress, or medications can sometimes cause excessive hair shedding on any part of the body, but usually on the scalp. Hair generally re-grows naturally within a few months. Causes of include: high fever, severe infection, major surgery, chronic illness, thyroid disease, inadequate protein in diet, low serum iron, medications, birth control pills, or cancer treatments. 
  • Tinea Capitis or Scalp Ringworm – This appears most commonly in children. This contagious condition is caused by a fungal infection on the scalp and results in red scaly patches which sometimes ooze, and consequential hair loss. Oral medication is usually prescribed for this condition. 
  • Cicatricial Alopecia – Inflammation, itching and/or pain around the hair follicle distinguish this rare disorder that causes patchy hair loss. Cicatricial alopecia usually results in scarring and permanent hair loss in the affected area; the cause is unknown. Treatments focus on stopping the inflammation, and thus the hair loss, from spreading.

Hair loss is a natural process for many of us, but can cause embarrassment and frustration. Our hair growth cycle consists of three phases: the Anagen or the growth phase, the Catagen or the transitional phase and the Telogen or the resting phase. The hair follicle re-enters the growth phase at the end of the Telogen phase, and this is where many hair loss problems might start to occur.

What are the causes of hair loss?

Hair loss can result from a variety of causes. Frequent exposure of the hair to chemicals and heat can weaken the hair cuticle and cause it to break, resulting in hair loss. Other factors might include family history of hair loss, previous medical history, lack of protein in the diet, iron deficiency, thyroid imbalance and sunlight.  If you notice your hair thinning or falling out in large amounts you should consult a dermatologist. We will evaluate your hair loss problem to determine the cause, and what medical treatment may be necessary. In some cases hair will naturally re-grow.

How can it be prevented?

Hair loss can be prevented by ensuring the good health of your hair. This includes a balanced diet with adequate protein intake and avoiding excessive styling, chemical products and treatments, and sun exposure.

What are the treatments?

There are a variety of treatments offered for different hair loss conditions. These include topical solutions, hair transplants, scalp reduction and flap surgery. Please contact our Center for more information on our hair loss treatments.
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Orange Coast Dermatology | Mission Viejo | Rancho Santa Margarita | CA