About Hair loss conditions and treatments at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
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 most effectively.
A board-certified 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 androgenic alopecia 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 as well as The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, specialty centers of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta.
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.
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.
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 restore hair loss with 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). To provide women with more specialized and comprehensive treatment for hair loss, Dermatology Associates of Atlanta is home to The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, the only facility in Georgia dedicated exclusively to addressing women’s hair loss with the expertise it requires.
Children who face hair loss can encounter serious embarrassment, causing stress for both the child and 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, and topical treatments such as Rogaine®.
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), and topical Rogaine® (5% minoxidil). Rogaine® and Propecia ® are FDA-approved to slow the progression of hair loss and should also be used after hair restoration surgery to prevent future hair loss. 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. For some patients, the follicles are taken in the form of a very narrow strip during the follicular unit grafting (FUG) technique. In this method, we use specialized suturing techniques that allow hair to grow through the suture line, covering the scar. For other patients, we use follicular unit extraction (FUE) with the most advanced technology available to remove the hair follicles with as little other tissue as possible. 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.
Other patients may be better suited for non-surgical hair restoration treatments, including the following options:
- Red Light Laser Therapy: a device that exposes the patient’s scalp to focused, red-spectrum light, reducing inflammation and increasing the energy production around individual hair follicles.
- Platelet Rich Plasma: a treatment that uses the patient’s own blood cells to stimulate shrinking hair follicles, reversing the thinning process and facilitating fuller, thicker hair growth.
- Custom Blended Rx Medications: Griffin and Dr. Curtis are often able to specially formulate custom blends of topical prescription medications to meet specific patient needs.
- AQ Advanced Hair Complex: a topical serum for the scalp which uses GF-technology (growth factors) to restore health to the hair follicles and stimulate new hair growth
- Viviscal® Professional: an oral supplement containing nutrients like biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin C, apple extract, amino acids, and a unique complex called AminoMar® to nourish the hair follicles from within to encourage fuller growth.
What causes hair loss?
The most common cause of hair loss is due to genetics. However, there are many causes of hair loss including certain medications, disease, and trauma.
What non-surgical hair loss options are available?
There are currently two FDA-approved hair loss treatments available: Rogaine® (minoxidil) and Propecia® (finasteride). Other non-surgical treatments available include platelet rich plasma (PRP), Procrinix and other specialized topical medications, red light therapy (including LaserCap™ and iGrow®), Advanced Adipose-derived stem cell Protein Extract (AAPE), AQ Advanced Hair Complex, and Viviscal® Professional oral supplements.
Am I good candidate for hair restoration surgery?
If you are an individual who is suffering from hair loss then you may be a suitable for hair restoration surgery. After determining the cause of your hair loss, Dr. Griffin will be able to accurately recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your unique situation.
Why do you have a specialty center dedicated to treating hair loss in women?
Male and female hair loss can occur in very different ways. For instance, 95% of men who lose their hair are suffering from inherited male pattern baldness, while most women experience a genetic form of hair loss, other factors like underlying illness, hormonal changes, physical or emotional stress, or certain medications may also play a role. Therefore, diagnosing and treating hair loss should be approached differently in women than it is in men, and The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss answers this need.