alopecia treatment minneapolis

When to See a Dermatologist for Hair Loss

Hair loss is a common reason for a visit to the dermatology office. Losing hair is a normal part of our biology. It is absolutely normal to lose anywhere between 50-150 hairs every single day. However, if your hair is falling out in clumps, if you notice circular areas of hair thinning or you are simply concerned about your hair shedding – it is time to make an appointment with us.

Hair loss can occur for many reasons. One of the most common reasons someone might experience hair loss is because of a major stressor or life event. This type of hair loss, called Telogen Effluvium, generally occurs 90 or so days after the ‘event’. A common scenario might be after having a baby, major surgery with general anesthesia, loss of a loved one or even an event such as an illness or change in jobs. This type of hair loss is characterized by overall thinning all over the scalp, without clumps of hair loss. Although this condition generally resolves on its’ own within a year, there are some strategies to help and your provider can walk you through all of the options.

Telogen effluvium is a condition in which diffuse hair loss occurs about three months after a major life event such as getting married, giving birth to a baby, undergoing major surgery, or illness. Even diet or emotional stress can trigger telogen effluvium. People typically notice an overall thinning of hair throughout the scalp. The good news is that it resolves usually in 6 months with spontaneous new hair growth. No intervention or treatment is needed.

Androgenetic hair loss is another type of hair loss, characterized for men by thinning of the hair on top of the scalp or towards the forehead and for women as widening of their central hair part or significant thinning on the top of the scalp. Hereditary factors play a large role in this type of hair loss and there are numerous treatment options – including oral pills, injections, and topical foams.

Auto-immune conditions can cause hair loss. Called Alopecia Areata, this occurs when a person’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles. Often times, this results in coin-shaped areas of total or near-total hair loss. Alopecia areata tends to respond well to in-office treatments like injections, as well as systemic or topical medications.

If you have been losing more hair than normal, or have concerns about your hair loss, call our offices today to make an appointment with one of our medical providers.

Brooke Moss, PA-C, MPH is a board-certified dermatology Physician Assistant. She is accepting new patients in our Edina location.

hair loss minneapolis

Common Types of Hair Loss

Everyone wants the thick, shiny, perfectly bouncy hair we see in magazines; however, hair loss can keep that from becoming a reality. Over 50% of women will struggle with hair loss (medically called alopecia) during their lifetime. Annually in the US, over $2 billion is spent on treatments for loss and thinning of hair. There are many types of hair loss, which occur for different reasons and may require different treatment options.

It is absolutely normal for a man or woman to shed anywhere between 100-200 hairs a day, and almost everyone experiences natural thinning and textural changes to the hair with aging. Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for hair loss, but most patients can achieve some improvement once the etiology (cause) of their hair loss is confirmed.

When we see a patient in our office whose chief complaint is hair loss, many questions need to be answered. How long has this been going on? Is the hair loss diffuse and occurring all over the scalp, or is it localized? Is the patient taking new medications, has there been a recent surgery or significant stressor? How old is the patient? What is the type of hairstyle, and are chemicals or other products frequently used on the hair?
Some common types of hair loss include:

  1. Telogen Effluvium: This type of hair loss occurs several months to one year after any significant stress. It may include a life event like the loss of a family member or divorce. It occurs frequently in post-partum women or may appear after a patient has undergone general anesthesia for a surgical procedure. It may emerge after “shocks” to the body such as drastic weight loss, or from some medications. This type of hair loss is temporary but can be extremely worrisome to the patient.
  2. Androgenetic Alopecia aka hereditary hair loss: It is the most common diagnosis of hair loss and is responsible for a significant amount of hair loss patients in our office. This type of hair thinning can present as soon as the early 20s and usually shows specific patterns. For women, it usually appears as a widening of the hairline part at the top of the scalp (known as the crown of the scalp). Men may notice thinning and hair loss on the back of the scalp of the frontal hairline.
  3. Alopecia Areata: This type of hair loss happens when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles. Most commonly it presents as clumps of hair that fall out and leaves behind completely smooth scalp. Sometimes the hair loss may include the entire scalp or even the entire body.
  4. Traction Alopecia: This is a more permanent form of hair loss which we see in patients who have worn hairstyles that pull on the hairs – such as tight braids or extensions. The hair loss generally occurs over time and often the hair loss is permanent. With treatment, some patients may regain a portion of the hair that was lost.

If you are experiencing hair loss or hair thinning, you are not alone, and there are treatments available. We can help! Please contact us to schedule an appointment.

 Brooke Moss, PA-C, MPH is a board-certified dermatology Physician Assistant. She is accepting new patients in our Edina and Downtown Minneapolis locations.