There are few things as concerning as the sudden loss of hair. Not only is there societal pressure to have hair, there is the concern that something internal is causing the hair loss. When you come for your appointment, we ask that you consent to a full skin exam which can help us identify other clues to your hair loss (for example, certain skin lesions are associated with thyroid disease and point to hair loss due to the thyroid).
There are several causes of hair loss. Your provider will evaluate whether or not the process is scarring or nonscarring, infectious or noninfectious, acute or chronic, and diffuse or focal. These factors will determine if a scalp biopsy is necessary and how aggressively you will be treated.
Common diagnoses are: telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, psoriasis, tinea capitus, and central centrifugal scarring alopecia. Each of these may require specific bloodwork or testing for confirmation. Treatment is very variable—some treatments are as simple as vitamins, some treatments involve injection or topical application of steroids, and other treatments may involve low doses of chemotherapy-type drugs.