It is normal to lose about 50-100 hairs every day. If you are losing signifcantly more hair than this, or if you see bald patches or lots of thinning, you may be experiencing a form of alopecia.
Forms of alopecia
- Heredity hair loss – also called androgenetic alopecia or male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness
- Most common form of hair loss
- Usually develops with a widening part in women, and with a receding hair line or “bald spot” in men
- Telogen effluvium – Self-limited form of hair loss that usually develops 3-6 months after an illness, birth or other major stress to the body
- Alopecia areata
- Autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the hair follicle
- Patches of hair loss can develop on the scalp, eyelashes, or anywhere on the body
- Occasionally all hair is lost in an otherwise healthy individual
- Scarring alopecia – rare disorders that cause destruction of the hair follicle
- Medications and medical conditions – certain medications and medical conditions including hypothyroidism and anemia can cause hair loss
- Traction alopecia (from pulling on hair) or other hair styling practices can also lead to hair loss
In addition to an exam of the scalp, blood work and/or a biopsy of the scalp may be performed to help make a diagnosis.
As there are many forms of alopecia, there are many different treatments as well. Depending on the cause of hair loss, one or more of the following may be recommended:
- Minoxidil – a topical medicine that is applied directly to the scalp to stop hair loss and stimulate growth.
- Biotin – a natural vitamin that may strengthen hair and nails. Recommended dosage is 2500-5000 micrograms (mcg) daily.
- Corticosteroids – if the cause of hair loss is inflammation, steroids can be injected or applied to the scalp.
- Finasteride – a prescription pill that is FDA-approved to treat male-pattern baldness by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) also may stimulate hair growth in patients with alopecia.