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Hair Loss

Hair Loss: Nothing to Scratch Your Head About Most of us place a great deal of importance on our hair. For this reason, when we lose hair it can cause significant emotional stress. If your hair starts to shed in large amounts or becomes noticeably thinner, you should consult a dermatologist Most causes of hair loss can be diagnosed, and with proper diagnosis, treatment can be given. Many men and women use chemical treatments which can cause damage to the hair and eventually weaken the hair shafts to the point that they break easily. Straightening your hair too frequently can certainly do this. One of the more common causes of hair loss is due to hereditary factors.

The “bald” gene can be inherited from either side of the family and can even skip generations. Men tend to lose hair in a more typical pattern with bitemporal recession and bald spots on the top. Women tend to develop a more diffuse pattern of hair loss although they can also develop temporal recession similar to male pattern hair loss. Today we have numerous ways to treat hereditary hair loss and if this is your diagnosis then the earlier treatment is instituted, the better the long-term results. Treatments include finasteride (Propecia), dutasteride (Avodart) , minoxidil (Rogaine) and , spironolactone. For some surgical hair transplant is an option. Alopecia Areeata (AA) is a common cause of hair loss in children and adults. This generally presents as localized nickle and quarter size smooth bald areas. Fortunately most cases are treatable with localized injections of dilute cortisone. Sometimes AA can be wide spread and very rarely can progress to total baldness.

Although we dont know the exact cause of AA, if treatment is begun in the early stages, regrowth is usually possible even in severe cases. Sometimes physical stresses like high fever, surgery, child birth and some medications can cause hair loss. For this reason, it is important to list all drugs and illness that have occurred within 6 months of the onset of hair loss. Extreme weight loss can also precipitate hair loss. This may be due to lack of protein so a healthy diet is important to your recovery. Birth control pills can also cause hair loss as can stopping birth control pills. This type of hair loss generally lasts 3-6 months. A recently recognized cause of hair loss is low iron, even without anemia. In addition, Vitamin D deficiency may also cause loss or contribute to the problem in someone otherwise predisposed. African American women are particularly prone to develop hair loss. Genetic factors clearly contribute but more important is hair styling and treatments that may date back to childhood. After years of tight braids, chemical straighteners and physical straighteners (hot comb) a chronic inflammatory process develops which can lead to significant hair loss. Some call it traction alopecia, hot comb alopecia, fibrosing alopecia or follicular degeneration. Although it can develop gradually, rapid progression is possible. Because the hair loss begins from inflammation, if treated in the early stages, regrowth can occur. Once the inflammation continues, the follicles can be destroyed and can never be “reawakened”. Usually an area of hair thinning will have both inflammation and scarring so some regrowth is possible. The sooner treatment is begun and the inflammation is reversed, the more hair can be saved. Careful attention to hair styling and products are important. We recently added a product called Retress to our hair loss treatment.

This was developed by a dermatologist and studies have shown a high percent of patients experience significant substantial improvement. For more information you can research hair loss from the AAD.org

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