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Alopecia

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

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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.