Hair today, gone tomorrow

Not all types of hair loss are the same. There are types of hair loss that occur from a swift change to the body, such as pregnancy or illness, causing a diffuse shedding of hair all over the scalp. There are types of hair loss that are hereditary and cause a patterned type of thinning or baldness on the crown of the head. There are types that cause round patches of hair to fall out, from infections or stress. Some are caused by auto-immune disorders like Lupus, others happen more commonly in aging females. Some happen from tight hair styles or medications. Therefore, treatment is unique to the individual type of hair loss.  

There are many supplements on the market for hair loss. The most common and widely used supplement is Biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin found naturally in eggs, meat, spinach and nuts. It helps your body break down fats, carbs and proteins into energy the body needs. It can help harden nails, but unfortunately there isn’t much evidence supporting claims that it grows hair. Also, it can affect thyroid blood tests. So, take Biotin if you want to, but don’t take multiple Biotin containing supplements at the same time. Also keep the daily intake of Biotin to the recommended level of 30 micrograms per day.

When a patient presents with hair loss at the dermatology clinic, we review the patient’s medical history, family history, and medication list. We evaluate the type of hair loss by various testing methods and determine the diagnosis for the hair loss. This will guide the treatment.

Treatment options for hair loss depends on the type of hair loss. For example, a scarring frontal alopecia may do well with oral medications and injections. A hereditary type may do great with medications, PRP with laser or needling, and hair transplants. So the moral to the story is, if you have hair loss, see your trusted dermatology provider to find out the cause and obtain tailored treatment recommendations.  And be careful with supplements. There is little data suggesting they are more effective than placebo.

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