HAIR LOSS

Hair disorders leading to hair loss are many. They can affect men and women alike and are encountered in all age groups.

Causes
Causes can be divided into genetic, infectious, autoimmune, inflammatory and others.

Genetic causes:
Genetic hair disorders manifest soon after birth. They are usually due to defects in the hair structure. Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) which is the most common type of hair loss also has a genetic basis, but its onset is not until puberty when the body starts producing androgens (male hormones).

Infectious
More common in the pediatric age group than it is in adults, Tineacapitis is a fungal infection of the scalp that leads to patches of hair loss. It is highly transmissible among children who tend to play very close to each other.

Autoimmune
Alopecia areata and discoid lupus are two examples of immune dysregulation leading to patchy hair loss. In alopecia areata the hair loss is reversible and regrowth possible in the great majority of cases. Discoid lupus on the other hand is an example of a scarring alopecia, which means a condition that replaces the hair follicle with a scar. In the event it is not diagnosed and treated soon after its onset, it will lead to permanent hair loss.

Inflammatory
This is a group of disorders in which different types of white blood cells surround and attack the hair follicles also leading to scarring alopecia. The causes that lead to this have not been elucidated, but the end result is the same. If the inflammation surrounding the hair follicles is not treated promptly, the patients are left with permanent hair loss.

Others
Here we can include other causes of hair loss, usually transient, due to numerous factors such as: hair styling, pregnancy and delivery, rapid weight loss, major psychological shock, a major physical trauma, drugs (many medications can lead to hair loss), chronic illnesses etc..

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What You Can Do

Maintain a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins and micronutrients essential for hair growth is a must. Quit smoking which is known to accelerate hair loss. Avoid styling routines that are very damaging to the hair such as straightening and limit others that are less damaging such as dyeing. Maintain a healthy scalp by shampooing regularly and asking your dermatologist’s for advice when needed. Seek medical advice as soon as you notice hair loss because all conditions leading to hair loss respond best to the treatment if initiated early.

Vitamin supplements
In most cases of hair loss, the intake of vitamin by itself is not enough to prevent the progression of hair loss. Attempts of patients to self-medicate using these supplements should therefore be discouraged.

What We Can Do For You

We diagnose and treat all types of hair loss affecting the scalp, eyebrows and beard. The diagnosis most of the time is clinical but biopsies are sometimes necessary to confirm it. Treatment options include local treatments using sprays and lotions, systemic treatment using pills and sometimes injections, and surgical treatments or hair transplant.

Hair transplant
Hair transplant involves harvesting hair follicles from a dense donor area and transplanting them into areas of hair loss. Techniques include the traditional strip technique or the more popular FUE (follicular unit extraction). The latter is fully automated using state of the art equipment. The most important limitation for hair transplant is a poor donor area.

The Future

There is hope that cloning of hair follicles using stem cells might soon provide an unlimited supply of hair follicles for anyone contemplating this procedure. This would give even patients with poor donor areas the chance to benefit from hair transplantation which remains one of the most rewarding ways to treat hair loss.

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