Alopecia (hair loss)

Alopecia (hair loss)

What causes hair loss?

The most common cause of hair loss is a condition called androgenetic alopecia or “male/female-pattern baldness”. Androgenic alopecia presents differently in men and women. Men often develop bald areas on the front and top of the scalp, while women experience hair thinning on the top of the scalp without complete hair loss.

Another common type of hair loss is called alopecia areata. This hair loss is caused when the body’s immune system targets parts of the skin where hair grows. People with alopecia areata might have small round spots or larger areas of missing hair.

Hair loss can have many other underlying causes including medical conditions and mediations.

How is hair loss treated?

Treatments for hair loss are dependent on the type of hair loss a patient has.

There is a wide variety of treatments for hair loss, including topical solutions, injectable medicines (shots), and oral medicines (pills). Sometimes surgery is used to treat people with areas of hair that cannot grow back.

Androgenetic alopecia –

  • Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine): Used for both males and females and is available over the counter. It comes in a liquid or foam that you apply topically to the scalp.
  • Finasteride(brand name: Propecia): Used for males and post-menopausal females. It is a prescription pill that works to inhibit the production of a hormone that causes hair loss.
  • Spironolactone(brand name: Aldactone): Used for females. It is a prescription pill that works to reduce production of hormones that cause hair loss.

Alopecia areata –

  • Steroids: Steroids can be injected or applied topically to the scalp (for example, as a liquid, gel, foam, lotion, or cream). The steroids slow or stop the immune response that causes alopecia areata.
  • Topical Immunotherapy: A dermatologist can apply a medicine that causes a mild allergic reaction on the areas of hair loss. Generally, many treatments are needed to see if topical immunotherapy is effective.

If you are noticing hair loss, our dermatologists can help determine the best treatment plan for you.