Losing excessive hair is distressing both for men and women. In the absence of any disease men generally start losing hair from their crown in their 40’s along with receding hairline but this can start at an earlier age especially if there is a family history. Hair loss in women in the absence of any disease presents as thinning of hair on the front top part of the scalp along with increased shedding and notice wider parting. This is called Androgenetic Alopecia and affects 70% of men and 30% of female. This is not a disease and is related to declining hormones and hair follicle ageing as long as there are no underlying hormonal abnormalities like excess androgens.
Another common cause of hair loss is telogen effluvium. This can be caused by stress, rapid weight loss, fad or starvation diets, thyroid dysfunction and low iron. Generally, we lose approximately 100 hair per day which is normal but in this condition, we lose more hair due to the underlying triggers.
Traction Alopecia is a condition which affects afro Caribbean scalp mostly and is related to traction or tight hairstyles like braiding or ponytails and chemical or heat treatments.
Alopecia Areata is an immune-mediated condition which causes patchy and shiny bald areas on the scalp and other hair-bearing sites (mostly eyebrows, beard area). It affects 2% of the population and is one of the most common conditions seen in dermatology clinics.
There are conditions like frontal fibrosing alopecia, lichen planopilaris, folliculitis decalvans and lupus which can cause scarring alopecia. Early recognition and treatments help prevent disease progression.
There are medical treatments available for most of the conditions mentioned above. Multi-vitamins rich in zinc, selenium and biotin help with pattern hair loss. Another effective treatment for pattern hair loss is Minoxidil foam. Telogen effluvium generally improves spontaneously if the underlying triggers are removed or treated. Treatment of traction alopecia involves loosening the hairstyle and avoid traction. Alopecia Areata can be treated with steroid cream or steroid injections. There are specialised treatments available to stop the progression of various forms of scarring alopecia.