What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Alopecia can be caused by several factors/disease processes and is often the cause of a lot of stress and anxiety in our patients who suffer from this. Here at Pennsylvania Centre for Dermatology, we care about you and your needs. We will listen to your concerns and help diagnose the cause of your alopecia and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you.
In order to understand alopecia, you must first understand that hair growth occurs in a cycle. All of the individual strands of hair on your scalp are at a different stage of of the hair growth cycle at any given moment:
- Anagen (80-95%): the “growing” stage
- Catagen (<1%): the “transition” stage between Anagen and Telogen
- Telogen (10-15% percent): the “resting” stage
A normal scalp contains about 100,000 hairs and the average number of hairs that are shed per day ranges from 100-150. The hair growth cycle can be disrupted by several different factors, the result of which is alopecia/hair loss.
What is the cause of my alopecia?
The causes of hair loss (alopecia) can be divided in 2 categories:
- Non-Scarring Hair loss: examples include
- Telogen Effluvium
- Alopecia Areata
- Androgenic Alopecia (Male Pattern Baldness)
- Systemic Diseases such as iron deficiency, thyroid disease
- Tinea Capitis (Ringworm)
- Traction Alopecia
- & more
- Scarring Hair Loss: examples include:
- Discoid Lupus
- Lichen Planopilaris (LPP)
- Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
- Folliculitis Decalvans
- Dissecting Cellulitis
- & more
What can I expect at my office visit?
Before your visit, we ask that you fill out our “hair loss questionnaire” (see the link below). During your visit with Pennsylvania Centre For Dermatology we will first ask you a series of questions regarding your hair loss. We will then carefully exam and take photos of your scalp. After this, depending on the findings, we may elect to perform a biopsy of your scalp (called a “punch biopsy”) or order laboratory tests. To biopsy the scalp, a small amount of numbing medication is injected into the scalp, and then a small piece of scalp skin (size of a pencil eraser) is removed and sent to the laboratory to be examined. The wound is closed with a stitch that must be removed after two weeks. Finally, once we reach a definitive diagnosis for the cause of your hair loss, we will determine the appropriate treatment regimen for you. Examples of treatment include: Rogaine, Intralesional Steroid Injections, Oral medications, & more.