Hair has been called our “crowning glory,” with society placing a great deal of social and cultural importance on hair and hairstyles. Unfortunately, many conditions, diseases and improper hair care result in excessive hair loss. People who notice their hair shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing, or whose hair becomes thinner or falls out, should consult a dermatologist. With correct diagnosis, many people with hair loss can be helped.
Dermatologists, physicians who specialize in treating diseases of the hair and skin, will evaluate a patient’s hair problem by asking questions about diet, medications (including vitamins) and health food taken in the last six months, family history of hair loss, recent illness and hair care habits. Hormonal effects may be evaluated in women by asking about menstrual cycles, pregnancies and menopause. After examining the scalp and hair, the dermatologist may check a few hairs under the microscope. Sometimes blood tests or a scalp biopsy may be required for an accurate diagnosis. It’s important to find the cause and whether or not the problem will respond to medical treatment.
If you have questions related to hair loss, see your dermatologist. Excess hair loss can have many different causes. Hair will regrow spontaneously in some forms of hair loss while a dermatologist can treat other forms successfully. For the several forms of hair loss for which there is no cure presently, there is research in progress that holds promise for the future.