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Hair fall is the most common problem, which people bring to a dermatologist. While hair loss is natural after a certain age, but premature hair fall and from prominent areas like crown, hairline and temple region along with other factors, adds up to several kinds of alopecia. It is important to identify hair loss, get it diagnosed for the root cause and determine the right course of treatment to control hair fall, as a healthy scalp with well-nourished hair is a very important part of your personality, which strengthens your self-confidence.
Hair fall diagnosis by a dermatologist
There are a few steps, which a dermato-trichologist would pursue to determine a holistic treatment procedure –
- Blood tests – These are done to check any underlying health condition or infectious outgrowth in your blood
- Hair pull test – It is done by an expert dermatologist, to understand the stage of hair loss. Around a dozen hair are held together and gently pulled to check the hair loss stage.
- Microscopy – This is done using a specialized instrument to check disorders of the hair shaft by examining the trimmed hair base.
- Scalp biopsy – It is a small procedure under local anaesthesia, where few hair follicle and some scalp-skin is scrapped, and put for further microscopic investigation.
Hair fall control treatments by dermatologists
There are many treatments for hair fall and at the initial consultation with your dermatologist, a course of treatment would be explained for your condition. The root cause would be determined and a holistic treatment would be given to cure aesthetic and physiological conditions, simultaneously –
- PRP for hair re-growth and restoration – Platelet rich plasma is an advanced, non-surgical, safe and therapeutic treatment for hair loss and hair thinning. It is a natural process of hair regrowth where the patient’s own blood platelets are centrifuged and activated, then injected into the scalp which stimulates new hair growth naturally. The growth factors released from PRP helps in rejuvenating the hair follicles and bringing hair restoration.
- Medicines – Drugs like minoxidil and finasteride are approved by FDA, to be used for treating certain kinds of hair loss and hair thinning. Dermatologists can combine them with PRP or any other procedure to enrich the treatment process. The right dose and prescription would be based on the diagnosis.
- Laser devices for hair growth – FDA classified laser emitting devices can help in stimulating hair growth. There is no factual data available but some studies suggest that these laser devices may help in hair growth to some extent.
- Hair transplantation – This is a surgical and invasive procedure. It uses follicle unit strip surgery or follicular strip transplantation to remove a portion from scalp and sew the scalp. Then this portion is divided into tiny grafts with a single or a few hair, and these are delicately placed in the deformed scalp which needs hair.
- Scalp reduction – In this surgical procedure where the bald areas of scalp are removed and the surrounding areas with good hair growth are sutured together.
- Scalp flaps – It is an invasive procedure where hair bearing segment from the scalp is surgically removed and put at the bald spots.
- Scalp expansion – In this procedure certain devices are inserted within the scalp for around a month, which enables stretching of the hair bearing parts that would stimulate newer hair growth.
Also Read: How To Treat Hair Loss In Temple Region?
Medicines which control hair-fall
Medications have been used as an adjunct to dermatologic treatments for controlling hair loss. Certain medicines have evidence that supports its usage in hair fall treatment and thus they are FDA approved. These drugs may not be effective in hair regrowth but they work relatively well in preventing further hair loss. Some of these medicines include –
- Minoxidil – It is an FDA approved, over the counter medicine used to treat pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata. It contains some amount of antihypertensive agent and its popular brand name is rogaine. It comes in foam or solution form, which is rubbed into the scalp daily.
- Finasteride – This drug is FDA approved to control hair fall in men only. It is most effective in preventing the receding hairline and hair loss from crown region. It works by decreasing the DHT hormone in the body that is responsible for slowing down the hair growth.
- Corticosteroids – These drugs are used in the form of injections directly administered into the scalp to treat alopecia areata. It is then followed by oral corticosteroid medicines after a month for effectivenss. Intralesional corticosteroid injections along with topical corticosteroids are prescribed by dermatologists.
- Immunosuppressant’s – Like diphenylcyclopropenone, squaric acid dibutylester (SADBE) tablets are prescribed in extreme cases of hairfall. These would help in temporary treatment for certain kinds of hair loss.
- Anthralin – It is a tar like synthetic substance which is used for psoriasis. It may be prescribed by the dermatologist along with a combination of treatment.
- Hormonal modulators – Oral contraceptives or birth control pills can also be used to treat female pattern baldness.
Best Tips to control hair fall
- Do not use harsh chemical based products as they may damage the hair shaft and hair follicles both, causing hair thinning and hair loss. Use gentle and soft shampoo & conditioners, recommended by your dermatologist
- Take a balanced and healthy diet to control hair loss. Consume a diet rich in all necessary nutrients like vitamins, minerals, etc.
- Do not brush your hair when wet as it may cause your hair to fall easily
- Protect your hair and scalp from extreme heat, weather, pollution and other extraneous factors as they trigger hair deformities and hair loss
- Be sure of hair and scalp hygiene, especially during workouts when you sweat. As sweat damage to your hair can cause hair loss too
- Do not pull or stretch your hair with immense pressure or tie them too tightly, as it causes traction alopecia or hair fall due to the friction
- Follow a healthy lifestyle comprising optimal workout to ensure proper blood circulation in the body
- Do not use hot hair styling tools as they can cause brittleness and hair fall.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Can shortening the hair control hair loss?
No, cutting or shaving the hair completely does not control hair loss. As hair loss is the condition, where hair is falling off from the follicles deep within the dermal layer, but cutting the hair will only remove the dead shaft part, which does not affect hair growth.
- Can we control hair fall while breastfeeding?
Postpartum hair loss is not related to breastfeeding. It is usually a temporary condition due to hormonal changes. And it gets cured on its own, in most cases.
- Does every kind of hair fall lead to baldness?
No, not every kind of hair loss is permanent and untreatable. It depends on several factors like the root cause of hair fall, genetic impact, medications, etc. But with advanced treatments like PRP and others, it is possible to re-grow the hair in most cases.
- Will we regrow the hair fall during pregnancy?
Hair fall during pregnancy or even after pregnancy (Telogen effluvium) is a temporary condition. Moreover, in most cases it grows back. For some it may not be adequate so dermatologist diagnosis is needed to identify the cause of hair loss.