Hair loss, or alopecia, can affect a wide range of people regardless of age or sex. While hair loss is most common from the scalp, it can occur anywhere on the body. This condition can cause significant issues with self esteem or be a sign of underlying medical concerns that should be addressed. At Silver Falls Dermatology, our providers can help patients across Oregon and Washington delay hair loss and regrow healthy, full hair.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss may be caused by a variety of factors, as there are several types of alopecia. Some common causes of hair loss include:
- Heredity. This is the most common reason for hair loss and usually presents as androgenic alopecia, or male-pattern and female-pattern baldness, which occurs later in life.
- Hormonal imbalances or fluctuations, such as hormonal shifts during pregnancy or menopause or due to thyroid conditions
- Medical conditions, which can include ringworm or other scalp infections
- Radiation therapy
- Emotional distress
- Damaging hairstyles or treatments including frequent heat styling or chemical processes including dyeing or perming the hair
When to See a Doctor for Hair Loss
Many patients pursue treatment for hair loss when they feel distressed or self-conscious about the appearance of thinning hair or balding due to persistent hair loss. It is best to schedule an appointment if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss, which can be a sign of a serious underlying health condition; this is especially true for children and young adults. Finally, if you do wish to restore healthy hair growth, it is important to seek treatment early. Most treatments are most effective for small areas of balding or thinning, as some active hair follicles in the treatment area may be necessary to achieve the intended results.
Treatment Options for Hair Loss
There are several treatment options available for hair loss. Your provider may suggest either a prescription or over-the-counter solution. As needed, underlying health conditions may need to be addressed before or during your hair loss treatment. The two most common treatments are minoxidil and finasteride.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available over-the-counter in the form of a foam or liquid topical or shampoo. Minoxidil should be applied to the scalp once daily for women or twice daily for men.
Finasteride (Propecia) is another option for men. This is an oral medication which can slow hair loss or promote new, healthy hair growth.
Other medications are also available, including spironolactone and dutasteride. During your appointment, your provider can explain which treatment option is best for you in addition to at-home hair care to prevent further hair loss.