Because so many things can cause hair loss, a dermatologist acts like a detective. Like a murder mystery, the slightest clue can solve the case.
Did the hair loss happen suddenly or gradually? They will ask what medicines you take, what allergies you have, and whether you’ve been dieting. Women may be asked about their periods, pregnancies, and menopause.
The dermatologist will also carefully look at your hair and scalp. During an exam, the dermatologist may pull out a hair to get evidence. Sometimes the evidence lies in your scalp. A small piece of scalp may be removed for a scalp biopsy, which can be quickly and safely performed during an office visit to solve the case. Sometimes, a blood test is necessary.
Because so many things can cause hair loss, it can take time to find the cause and you may need to make a few appointments.
Once the cause of the hair loss is identified, your dermatologist can tell you what to expect. Sometimes hair loss does not need treatment. The hair will start to re-grow on its own. In some cases, changing what you do will stop the hair loss, allowing your hair to start re-growing. Sometimes treatment can restore hair.
Just as there are many causes, there are many treatments for hair loss. Dermatologists recommend treating hair loss early. Early means before you lose a lot of hair. Hair loss is harder to treat when a person has a lot of hair loss.
There are several ways to treat hair loss. Among the most popular are:
- Prescription pills and injectable medications to slow hair loss
- Over-the-counter topical drugs to stimulate hair growth on the top of the scalp
- Laser devices, like light-emitting brushes and combs, which may stimulate hair growth
- Hair transplantation, moving good hair growth to areas that need growth
- Scalp reduction, removing bald scalp and bringing hair-bearing scalp closer together