Hair Loss

Hair Loss and Alopecia Treatment

Hair growth and shedding is normal throughout our entire lives. In fact, we all shed dozens of hairs each day. If you feel that you are losing an excessive amount of hair on a daily basis or have noticed visible thinning or balding on your scalp or other parts of your body, you may be alarmed. Fortunately, many causes of hair loss are treatable.

Normal hair growth occurs at a rate of approximately 1 cm per month. At any given time, hair follicles on the scalp are either actively growing hair (most are in this anagen cycle for 6+ years at a time), shrinking (1-3% in this catagen cycle for 2-3 weeks), or resting (>10% in this telogen cycle; lasts 1-4 months.)

What Causes Abnormal Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be caused by many factors, including decreased growth, increased shedding, conversion of thick hair to thin (vellus) hairs (as in male and female pattern baldness), congenital/acquired hair shaft abnormalities, inflammatory conditions, infections, and other medical issues. In some cases, the hair is not actually lost, but tapers or breaks off shortly after it exits the hair shaft.

Types of Hair Loss

Anagen Hair Loss: May have sudden onset and a variable duration; short hairs and empty hair follicles observed; caused by medication and toxins such as chemotherapy drugs, autoimmune diseases, and inherited conditions

Telogen Hair Loss: Loss of club hairs (with a bulb on the end); occurs 2-3 months following a traumatic event, such as severe illness, fever, child birth, hemorrhage, operation, psychological stress, and consumption of anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, and contraceptives; hair continues to grow, but with a shorter length

Pattern Hair Loss: Influenced by androgens and genetic programming; affects about half of the population by age 50

Hair Shaft Abnormalities (Congenital and Acquired): Caused by diseases such as ichthyosis, Marie-Unna hypotrichosis, pili bifurcati, pili annulati, pseudopili annulati, and monilethrix, as well as injuries due to shaft fractures, hair pulling, injury, radiation, traction (tight hair styles), hair dryer heat, bleach, and relaxing chemicals

Dermatological Diseases That Cause Poor Hair Quality

Several localized and general dermatological conditions and diseases may cause poor hair quality, including bald patches and patchy, thinning hair. Severe cases of psoriasis, atopic and seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis rubra pilaris, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, lupus, and erythroderma tend to affect the overall health of the hair and scalp. Syphilis, iron and thyroid hormone deficiency, and other illnesses are known to affect hair quality, as well. In addition, localized infections of tinea capitis and alopecia areata may also cause hair loss.

Scarring Alopecia and Hair Loss

Hair follicles can be so severely scarred that they cease to exist. Therefore, no hair can be produced from these damaged areas. In one particular condition, Pseudopelade of Brocq, hair follicles vanish without a sign of inflammation. In most cases, there are signs that an inflammatory condition or infection is present prior to the significant scarring of hair follicles that results in thinning and baldness:

  • Boils
  • Abscesses
  • Fungi (Kerion; Tinea Capitis)
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
  • Folliculitus Decalvans
  • Dissecting Cellulitis
  • Lichen Planopilaris
  • Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
  • Alopecia Mucinosa
  • Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
  • Localized Scleroderma

Allegheny Advanced Dermatology Center will perform an evaluation to determine the diagnosis and most appropriate treatment for your hair loss or thinning. We have years of experience in assisting local residents with hair loss and related concerns. Contact AADC to schedule an appointment today. Call: (814) 944-7109.