Hair loss is a complex condition that encompasses various types and causes. It is not simply a single disease but rather a broad spectrum of conditions that affect the hair follicles.
You can group conditions by inflammation and hair loss patterns, which may be widespread or patchy. Common types of hair loss include androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, traction alopecia, lichen planopilaris, and frontal fibrosing alopecia.
However, there are more conditions that may result in hair loss.
To accurately diagnose and understand the underlying causes of hair loss, a comprehensive approach is necessary. At our clinic, we employ a variety of methods to establish the correct diagnosis. This includes:
By utilizing these comprehensive diagnostic methods, we can accurately identify the underlying cause of hair loss in most cases. This approach allows us to develop tailored treatment plans that address the specific needs and concerns of our patients. Finding the right diagnosis is vital for choosing the best treatment and avoiding unnecessary actions.
During consultations, we discuss various factors related to hair loss, including:
Lastly, maintaining a proper hair care routine is essential for preventing hair loss. Regularly washing and conditioning your hair with gentle products can keep the scalp clean and healthy. Avoiding harsh chemicals and excessive heat can also help maintain the integrity of your hair. Additionally, using a wide-toothed comb or a brush with soft bristles can minimize hair breakage.
While not necessary for all types of hair loss, blood work can be crucial in diagnosing certain forms of hair loss. It is particularly beneficial when determining the underlying cause of telogen effluvium, as it can significantly impact the treatment plan. If you had blood tests before your appointment, please bring the results with you. We use blood tests to diagnose hair loss and may need more tests based on the examination. We have negotiated a lower price for blood tests at a lab nearby. This means that you can get the tests you need without having to spend a lot of money.
Clinical examination is vital when diagnosing hair loss, checking for inflammation, scaling, thinning, and areas of patches of hair loss. We closely examine the hair shafts for thinning, breakage, twisting, and other abnormalities that can provide diagnostic insights. Additionally, we analyze the relevant skin and nails, as other skin or nail conditions can sometimes be associated with hair loss. We also perform a “pull test” by gently pulling out a small segment of hair for microscopic examination. This information contributes to an accurate diagnosis and facilitates the development of an appropriate treatment plan.
We incorporate trichoscopy in our examination of hair loss. Trichoscopy is a non-invasive way to examine hair and scalp using a special device called a dermatoscope. This tool assists in identifying and addressing issues with hair and scalp. It does so by providing a detailed view of the hair follicles and scalp structures. We use a digital trichoscopy system with artificial intelligence (FotoFinder). It saves photos on a secure server for progress monitoring, following HIPAA guidelines.
In challenging cases, doctors may perform a scalp biopsy to diagnose certain types of hair loss. This procedure is particularly essential for hair loss among African American patients, as their presentation can be more challenging. Scalp biopsy is a relatively simple procedure. A dermatologist numbs the area with medicine. Then, they take a small piece of skin. Finally, they send it to a lab for testing. In some cases, the doctor will take two samples for different sections. Small cuts are stitched up. Biopsy results typically take up to two weeks to be ready. Dr. Kazlouskaya, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist, evaluates scalp biopsies to establish an accurate diagnosis. You can choose between a televisit or a personal appointment for the biopsy follow-up. The cost of the follow-up is already included in the initial visit.
Many clinics offer hair loss treatments without providing a detailed hair loss consultation. However, due to the myriad reasons for hair loss and the challenge of identifying those factors, a thorough consultation is necessary. Without consulting properly, doctors may make a wrong diagnosis, which can result in ineffective treatment. We strongly believe that a consultation is essential for the success of hair loss treatment.
Accurately diagnosing the specific condition being treated is crucial to ensure the treatment’s potential effectiveness. Each hair loss condition can vary significantly in terms of treatment. While many types of hair loss may persist throughout one’s life, there are treatments designed for specific conditions. The efficacy of treatment depends on factors such as patient compliance, correct diagnosis, patient contraindications, and other individual factors.
Coverage for hair loss treatment depends on various factors. FDA-approved medical treatments can treat certain types of hair loss. Finasteride and minoxidil are FDA-approved for male pattern baldness, with Propecia often covered by insurance. Baricitinib and Ritlecitinib are two medications FDA-approved for alopecia areata. Other medications may require prior authorization from insurance companies. Insurance companies typically do not cover regenerative hair loss treatments such as PRP injections, laser treatment and microneedling. We can assist with insurance inquiries and provide the necessary documentation for coverage considerations.
Board-certified dermatologists are the most qualified specialists to address hair loss. They have special training to treat skin, nail, and hair conditions. They can diagnose and create effective treatment plans. Check if trichologists have medical degrees to prescribe medicines and give accurate diagnoses. Others may claim to be trichologists, but it’s important to verify their qualifications.
There is no one-size-fits-all “best” treatment for hair loss, as each case is unique. Before starting any long-term treatment, it is important to have a confirmed diagnosis. Our comprehensive consultations ensure that we recommend the most suitable and effective treatments based on individual needs.
At our clinic, we prioritize spending sufficient time during the first consultation, ensuring we do not double-book and rush appointments. The first appointment is usually 45 minutes long, enough time to talk about hair loss and possible treatments. Dr. Kazlouskaya, a double-board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist, evaluates hair loss problems based on clinical and pathological findings. With our comprehensive approach to consultation, we strive to achieve the best results for our patients.