Did you know that most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day? That may seem like a lot of lost hair, but considering that most people have over 100,000 hairs on their head, the loss is barely noticeable. This type of hair loss is normal in all people, as hair grows and sheds in cycles throughout the year. However, some conditions can lead to permanent hair loss, affecting men and women of any age. Hair loss can have devastating effects on a person’s confidence and self-esteem. Luckily, many non-surgical treatments are available to help reverse some types of hair loss and even restore healthy hair growth in many cases. To help you better understand the different types of hair loss, and the remedies available, we are highlighting hair loss as our dermatology condition of the month.
What Causes Hair Loss:
The cause of hair loss depends on the type of loss you are experiencing, which is why a proper diagnosis is pertinent for effective treatment. The most common type of hair loss, Androgenic Alopecia, is a genetic condition that affects both men and women. For men, this process can start after puberty, leading to partial or complete baldness. For women, although it can happen at a younger age, this tends to occur after menopause. When women lose their hair after menopause, it is usually due to a drop in female hormones, which helps to regulate the presence of testosterone. Other forms of hair loss can occur due to autoimmune diseases, medical treatments, stress, hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiency, thyroid conditions, and certain types of hairstyles.
How is Hair Loss Categorized:
Hair loss falls into two distinct categories: Cicatricial (scarring) and Non-Cicatricial (non-scarring). Cicatricial hair loss is further broken down into two types. Primary Scarring Alopecia is where the follicle itself is the primary target. This type of scarring alopecia is caused by inflammatory conditions, especially auto-immune. Secondary Scarring Alopecia, where the follicle is an “innocent bystander,” is the result of damage or injury to the dermis/scalp. In both primary and secondary scarring alopecia, a normal follicle is replaced by connective (or scar) tissue rendering it permanently unable to produce a hair. Conditions such as Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), Lichen Planopilaris (LPP), Discoid Lupus (DLE), and Dissecting Cellulitis of the scalp, are some of the most common types of Primary Cicatricial Alopecia.
As with Primary Scarring Alopecia, Secondary Scarring Alopecia also results from inflammation. However, this type of inflammation is often caused by general damage to the skin/scalp. Burns, infections, cutaneous (skin) cancers, and radiation dermatitis from cancer-treating radiation treatments are some common causes of Secondary Scarring Alopecia.
The second category of hair loss, Non-Cicatricial or non-scarring hair loss can affect both men and women as well. Androgenetic Alopecia, Alopecia Areata, and Telogen Effluvium are all forms of non-scarring Alopecia. Regardless of whether you are dealing with scarring or non-scarring Alopecia, with a proper diagnosis, in most cases we can stop the progression. And with non-scarring Alopecia, in many cases we can recommend multiple non-surgical options to help you regrow what you have lost. Remember to treat early because it’s far easier to help you keep your hair than to grow new hair once it’s been lost!
Types of Hair Loss:
- Androgenetic Alopecia: Commonly referred to as male and female patterned baldness or genetic hair loss. Over time, your hair follicles begin to shrink and eventually stop producing hair due to excess exposure to DHT.
- Alopecia Areata: The result of an autoimmune disease, your body begins attacking healthy hair follicles on your head and/or body, hindering, or completely stopping the follicle’s ability to produce hair. In some cases, it may be a small area and occur only one time. In other cases, Alopecia Areata can lead to Alopecia Totalis.
- Alopecia Totalis: Complete hair loss of the scalp, and sometimes may include facial hair.
- Alopecia Universalis: An advanced form of Alopecia Areata which causes complete hair loss of the scalp and hair-bearing areas of the body.
- Telogen Effluvium: Physical and rarely emotional stress lead to abnormal stress hormone levels and can cause rapid shedding of hair within a short time period. This can be extremely distressing but is usually self limiting.
- Anagen Effluvium: Rapid hair loss most commonly associated with medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
Symptoms of Hair Loss:
Hair loss can appear either suddenly or gradually and can have many different associated symptoms. It is most commonly associated with a receding hairline, gradual, generalized thinning of the hair, circular or patchy bald spots with/ without itching or pain. Often, hair loss is most obvious with brushing, washing, and blow-drying hair. Depending on the type of hair loss, some people may also experience painful bumps that can be filled with pus, redness of the scalp, or shiny, scarred, hairless plaques.
What are the Treatments for Hair Loss:
The type of treatment you receive for hair loss depends on the type of hair loss you are experiencing. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta offers prescription topical and oral medications including Finasteride, Minoxidil, and more. Progressive, non-surgical treatments are also available. Some of these treatments include injections, microneedling with natural growth factors, red light therapy, supplements and much more. We also offer Scalp Micropigmentation that utilizes a unique tattoo process to mimic the appearance of hair follicles and stubble.
Getting Expert Care at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta has been treating hair loss since we were founded. We are also proud and honored to operate Georgia’s first hair loss facility dedicated specifically to women. Since 2015, The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss has been serving women suffering from various forms of alopecia. Hair loss differs in women, and at times requires specialized diagnostics and treatment.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to our hair loss professionals to schedule an appointment. After a thorough examination and a simple scalp biopsy (if needed), we can identify your type of hair loss and prescribe a course of treatment to address the condition. You don’t have to settle for thinning or receding hair. Our experts understand the importance of having a full head of healthy hair, and we take pride in being part of our patient’s hair journey. If you are ready to contact us for your hair loss diagnosis, schedule your consultation with Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. For more information, practice updates, and dermatology tips, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.