Not all hair loss conditions are genetic in nature, so it is important to make sure your hair loss problem is properly diagnosed in order to determine how to treat it.
A dermatologist who specializes in problems with the skin, hair, and nails can best determine your hair loss cause and will determine if you need hair restoration surgery or prescribe the best hair loss treatment for your needs.
If you are diagnosed with alopecia androgentic or genetic pattern hair loss, your next step would be to make an appointment with Dr. Ashley Curtis or Dr. Edmond Griffin, founder of The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, a division of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta, who has devoted his career as a board-certified dermatologist and hair loss specialist to the improvement of hair restoration and hair transplant surgery since 1976. Hair loss conditions can be frustrating for anyone who encounters such issues, including men, women, and even children. Therefore, the providers of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta strive to ensure that every patient leaves the practice fully informed about their hair loss prevention and hair loss treatment options.
Determining the cause of hair loss, also known as alopecia, can be difficult; as there are countless variables to the condition. However, with help from a good doctor, you can determine the cause(s) of your hair loss. Dermatologists who specialize in hair loss disorders are usually a good source to determine the root of the problem.
Sudden, temporary hair loss may occur due to flu, pneumonia, stress, systemic disorders of pituitary gland, low thyroid activity, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, tuberculosis, or cancer. Sudden hair loss is frightening, but in most cases, hair returns once the illness is gone or managed.
Scarring, accidents, burns, scars, and cosmetic surgery (if scars are placed in hairline) can also cause hair loss. Hot oil treatments, hair care chemicals, and low protein diets can make hair fragile and eventually lead to hair loss. This type of hair loss can be permanent, so hair restoration surgery may be the best solution.
Alopecia areata is another common cause of hair loss. It is a disease that causes the body to form antibodies against its own follicles. Alopecia areata causes sudden hair loss in smooth, circular patterns on the scalp, beard, or eyebrows, and can be the result of stress, genetics, or immune system deficiencies.
Traction alopecia is caused by certain hairstyles in which hair is pulled too tightly. Traction alopecia can cause scarring of the scalp and can eventually lead to permanent hair loss. This type of hair loss can generally be taken care of very effectively with hair restoration surgery.
While there are numerous causes for hair loss disorders, the most common cause is patterned baldness. There are many myths about patterned baldness, but genes for baldness are equally passed from both parents to all children. However, the genes for baldness may not express themselves due to unpredictable variables. Genetic patterned baldness is hereditary, progressive, and permanent. Usually, the earlier baldness starts, the worse it will progress.
Men’s hair loss is usually associated with male pattern baldness. While hair loss is more expected in men, it can be just as embarrassing and traumatic when men begin losing their hair as for women. Men can adjust to their baldness, but that is not the only option. There are medicines to help prevent further hair loss. Men who are unhappy with their balding scalp can also resort to hair transplant surgery.
Women use hair as an accessory, and most women would say they would not feel as confident without hair. Females rarely progress to total balding when they encounter hair loss, but even the slightest hair loss can be detrimental to a woman’s confidence. Women’s hair loss can be attributed to numerous factors such as: androgenetic alopecia (inherited patterned baldness), stress, changes in hormones, menopause, birth control pills, illness, anemia, rapid weight loss, and even certain medications. Pregnancy slows down the body’s normal hair shedding process, so some women may experience post-partum hair loss. Finding the underlying cause for hair loss is the key for preventing further loss and finding a solution (medical, surgical, and cosmetic options).
Children who face hair loss can encounter serious embarrassment, causing stress for parents. Similar to men and women’s hair loss, the causes of children’s hair loss are sometimes difficult to identify. Common myths involving children’s hair loss causes include vitamin deficiency, poor circulation in scalp, head bands, hats, and cold weather. The actual causes for hair loss are much greater than these. Trauma from an accident, birth defects, scarring because of surgery to remedy birth defects, and alopecia areata are some possible causes for hair loss in children. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the body forms antibodies against its own hair follicles. This disease begins with the rapid appearance of bald spots on the scalp and/or body. Non-surgical treatment plans should always be taken for children who struggle with hair loss. Children’s hair loss treatments include cortisone injections, UVA light therapy combined with a topical photosensitizing medicine, Rogaine®, and antharalin.
The onset of hair loss is difficult to prevent because no one knows when and if they will experience hair loss. However, once you’ve realized that your hair is thinning, there are hair loss medications that are proven to help prevent further hair loss including Propecia® (finesteride), Avodart®, and topical Rogaine® (5% minoxidil). Rogaine® is the only topical drug proven effective for treating hair loss, but is more efficient in slowing down hair loss than re-growing hair. Oral medications, such as Propecia® and Avodart®, work better for re-growing hair. Oral medications show better results when used in conjunction with topical medications. A visit with Dr. Griffin will provide you with a prevention/treatment plan to meet your specific hair loss needs. Dr. Griffin can also prescribe other compounds containing Retin-A for your hair loss prevention requirements.
*Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant one day should not take Propecia® because it can cause birth defects.
Hair transplant surgery is a great solution to baldness: counteracting the progress of hair loss as it occurs. Hair transplant surgery is performed by natural follicular unit grafting. A single follicular unit consists of a bundle of 1-3 individual follicles and possibly 1-2 fine vellous hairs (which is fine hair that is usually invisible to the naked eye). These follicular units contain nerves, blood vessels, and layers of collagen. During hair transplant surgery, donor hair follicles are taken from an area of the scalp containing healthy hair. Once follicles are taken, they are dissected and placed in tiny incisions in balding and thinning areas. Donor hair follicles are usually taken from the back or side of the head because hair from these areas is naturally resistant to hormone stimulated hair loss and will remain intact throughout a patient’s lifetime.
The content on Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s website is intended to educate patients about skin conditions and treatments, but is not to be taken as medical advice. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta is not responsible for any omissions of information or any damages arising from the display of said content. Dermatologic treatment must be determined on a per patient basis by a board certified physician. It is recommended that you obtain assistance from a licensed professional for any treatment questions.