Hair Loss in Men and Women

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Alopecia may be characterised by localised/diffuse or scarring/ non-scarring. Patients may notice hair shedding, poor hair quality, hair thinning or bald areas. It is normal to lose up to 50-100 hairs a day.

A consultation at Pymble Dermatology is the first step to accurately diagnose hair loss. In many cases, a visual inspection of the scalp and associated hair loss will be sufficient to diagnose alopecia areata. Your treating specialist may also examine hair samples under a microscope to determine the exact cause of hair loss.

A scalp biopsy may be performed to rule out other conditions if the symptoms are not typical. The biopsy involves a tiny piece of skin removed for analysis under local anaesthetics.  Your doctor may perform blood tests to check for any underlying autoimmune conditions. Treatment involves topical medication, injections and oral tablets if necessary.

Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss

Genetic and hormonal influences result in gradual thinning of scalp hair with age. This presents as male or female pattern hair loss. It is apparent in about 50 % of individuals by the age of 50 years and can run in families.
Male pattern hair loss is related to hormones (androgens) and genetics. It leads to balding with receding hairline and/or hair loss on the top and front of the head.
What treatments are available for male pattern hair loss?

  • Finasteride tablets (type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor)
  • Hairpieces
  • Hair transplantation (referral to specialised centres)

Female pattern hair loss is a similar type of hair loss in women, female pattern hair loss results in thinning hair on the top of the scalp and is generally less severe than occurs in males.

What treatments are available for female pattern hair loss?

  • Minoxidil solution
  • Hairpieces
  • Oral medications (in selected cases)
  • Hair transplantation(referral to specialised centres)

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium is the name for temporary hair loss due to shedding of resting or telogen hair after some shock to the system. New hair continues to grow.

Chronic telogen effluvium presents with increased hair shedding and is often confused with FPHL. It is important to differentiatebetween these conditions as management for both conditions differ.

Physical stress results after postpartum, high fever and severe infections, nutritional deficiency and dramatic weight loss, major surgery, and underlying illnesses. Emotional stress can also trigger telogen effluvium as well certain oral medications. Our doctor will take a detailed history and perform blood tests if needed.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder which involves one or more round bald patches appear suddenly, most often on the scalp, although other parts of the body can also be affected. The degree of associated hair loss is variable, as is hair regrowth, and in some cases hair will regrow only to fall out again.

In rare cases, extensive hair loss is experienced, indicating other varieties of alopecia such as alopecia totalis that affects all hair on the scalp and alopecia universalis resulting in loss of hair over the entire body.

Scarring Alopecia

Scarring alopecia is the loss of hair which is accompanied with scarring with various causes. This is in contrast to non scarring hair loss. It can be caused by a diverse group of rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle, replace it with scar tissue, and cause permanent hair loss.