The South Shore’s Most Progressive  & Established Dermatology Practice


Hair Loss

The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Alopecia may be localized or diffuse.

Patients who experience hair loss may notice hair shedding, poor hair quality, hair thinning or bald areas. There may be associated scalp disease or scarring. Balding begins by age 30 in about 25% of men and two-thirds begin losing their hair by age 60, according to the American Medical Association.

Also, about 50% of women over 50 describe the onset of some noticeable hair loss. In men, baldness patterns vary, from a receding hairline, to total loss of hair on the top of the head.

Women tend to have pronounced thinning of hair with retention of the frontal hairline. The scalp may become visible through the hair.

Hair Loss Causes
  • Certain Medications (e.g. anti-cancer drugs) can interrupt anagen (the active hair growth cycle) that normally lasts two to seven years.
  • Autoimmune Disease (Alopecia Areata) can also interrupt anagen and cause hair loss. This is known as anagen effluvium
  • Androgenic Alopecia causes about 95% of all male-pattern or female-pattern baldness. This condition is caused by androgens in genetically susceptible men and women. Although this is most common in males, this type of hair loss also affects females.
  • Poor Hair Quality can be a cause of decreased hair growth and may be the result of an iron deficiency or thyroid hormone deficiency.
  • Telogen is a hair shedding cycle that lasts a few months and is terminated by new anagen hair. It is normal to lose up to 100 or more telogen hairs a day. Excessive shedding results in “telogen effluvium”. This can be seen 4-6 months after a major physical response to a major physical (surgery, childbirth, trauma) or emotional (loss of a loved one, etc.) This type of hair loss spontaneously resolves.
Hair Loss Treatments
  • Rogaine® is a topical solution that works by stimulating the hair follicle and keeping it in the growth phase.
  • Propecia® is available by prescription only and is taken orally. It works by reducing the production of a hormone called Dihydro-Testosterone (DHT), which is known to cause hair loss. Propecia® is recommended only for men.
  • Replacement of Iron or Thyroid Hormone can be helpful in certain cases of hair loss.

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