As expected, the experts of Bryn Mawr Dermatology have extensive knowledge in diagnosing and treating skin conditions, but did you know that they are specially trained to manage hair concerns as well? Hair loss comes in dozens of categories including the natural, albeit undesirable, part of the aging process. Some hair loss, however, is unrelated to genetics or how many birthdays you’ve had. There are conditions that are related to scalp health. There are conditions related to hormones and stress. There are hair loss conditions due to physical trauma to the scalp or the hair follicle itself. There are also instances of hair loss that are secondary to larger, more systemic health conditions that, without treatment, can lead to more significant symptoms affecting other organs.
If you are worried by your hair loss, we suggest that you make an appointment with one of our specialists to define what type it is and how we can best treat it. There should not be any shame associated with what you are experiencing or seeking treatment to remedy your symptoms. Hair loss affects women as well as men, and does not discriminate against age or race. The sooner you address your concerns, the sooner we can get you on a path to assessing and resolving them. We have a lot of options to increase hair loss retention, but it is much harder (and sometimes impossible) to re-stimulate hair growth once it has ceased.
The most dependable way to achieve a healthier scalp and hair is to visit a dermatologist with experience in promoting better hair growth. At Bryn Mawr Dermatology, our experienced specialists can help.
For Hair Loss treatments in Villanova or Collegeville, contact our dermatologists today at 610.525.7800!
Most of our body is covered in different types of hair, the main exceptions are the palms of our hands and soles of our feet. There are two main types of hair: vellus hair (colloquially known as peach fuzz) and terminal hair (which is thicker, darker, and longer). Terminal hair is the focus of this conversation because it is the type that normally grows on the scalp and face and is a cause for concern if unhealthy.
When you have healthy hair, it proceeds through four cycles of growth in a predictable and regulated way that dictates how much hair is growing, how much is stable and how much is falling out at any one time. The balance of how much hair is in each of these stages is essential for uniform growth on the scalp in addition to other areas of the body that grow hair. The four growth phases of healthy hair are:
During Anagen, the hair is actively growing within the follicle. This stage lasts anywhere from 100 days (for eyelashes) to seven years (for scalp hair) and consists of different growth rates depending on where it is located on the body. At any one time, about 85 percent of the hairs on your scalp are in the anagen phase. The next phase is Catagen, which lasts only 2-4 weeks, and consists of the hair root separating from the papilla which is the hairs’ source of nutrients and what causes the hair cells to proliferate. When the hair has completely separated from the papilla it transitions into the Telogen Phase where it is no longer growing but is not actively falling out. This lasts about three months for any given hair. Finally it is time for the shedding phase. Every day it is normal to lose about 70 to 100 hairs per day, which sounds like a lot, but with the average number of hairs on a healthy scalp being 100,000, the rate of loss is actually very small. Once a follicle is void of all hair cells, it starts the process all over again.
Determining the cause of your hair loss is an essential part of providing the most effective treatments. If you have experienced generalized thinning, bald patches or localized reduction of hair growth, a skilled professional will know how to ask the pertinent questions and perform the appropriate tests to find the cause. The doctors and PAs at Bryn Mawr Dermatology will start with a thorough medical history including any recent major life events, new clinical diagnoses, medication changes, hair styling/care habits and family history of the same. With that information, the provider will then examine the hair and scalp for the appearance of health and if she determines it appropriate, perform a tug test to see if the hair follicles provide the appropriate resistance. In addition, some laboratory testing may be required to fully assess the situation. This may come in the form of bloodwork or a biopsy. Once the results are compiled, the provider will identify the type of hair loss you are experiencing and provide you with options for treatment. Keep in mind that some hair loss is a normal part of the aging process and is impossible to reverse.
This is the most common form of hair loss, affecting over 80 million people in the United States. Both women and men experience this type of hair loss which is commonly known as male/female pattern hair loss. It’s classic appearance in men is a thinning of hair at the temples and the vertex of the scalp that expands with time and can sometimes lead to complete baldness. Women tend to lose hair more uniformly. Although genetics are the main cause of androgenic alopecia, lifestyle choices can also play a role. This type of hair loss is rarely reversible, but if diagnosed and treated early is controllable.
When the hair follicle or shaft is weakened by disease or manual manipulation it can result in the loss of patches of hair, generalized thinning, or many short, brittle hairs where they have been broken. Three causes of this type of hair loss are:
Topical hair loss treatments include corticosteroids that can decrease inflammation and return the hair follicle to a normal, healthy state, antifungals that can eradicate fungal infections like tinea capitis, and prescription creams that can help to stimulate the hair follicle to stay in the growth phase. You will find a compounded prescription at our in-house pharmacy that we designed with Minoxidil 7% (the active ingredient in Rogaine at prescription strength) and either Finasteride (to help balance male hormones) or Progesterone (to help balance hormones in females) that has been successful at fending off male and female pattern baldness and even regrowing hair in some instances.
If a hormonal or mineral imbalance is identified, oral medications may be recommended to help your body find an equilibrium that enables hair follicles to return to their normal hair growth cycle. This may come in the form of an over-the-counter multivitamin or iron supplement. It also may be a prescription oral medication like Finasteride (commonly known as Propecia) that can help fend off hair loss. These are well-studied and safe methods of treatment and our providers will be happy to review your options and any potential side effects of these options.
Injectable hair loss treatments include steroid injections to areas of decreased hair growth due to Alopecia Areata and other disease states that cause inflammation of the hair follicle and surrounding structures. We also offer Platelet Rich Plasma injections to the scalp (insert link when we design the page). This is a method of harnessing your own body’s healing power that resides in your white blood cells and plasma, and reintegrating it in large doses back into areas that have been damaged. It has been shown that a series of these injections into the scalp can help patients see thicker, denser hair.
Lastly, if there is a psychological factor associated with your hair loss we may recommend that you seek assistance outside our specialty. With many cumulative decades in practice, the doctors and PAs at Bryn Mawr Dermatology have developed an intricate network of referral sources that include those in physcology, psychiatry and counseling. We recognize that stress is a major factor in developing hair loss, and that cyclically hair loss creates stress. To break this cycle, we have found that a combination of therapies can be very helpful.
Bryn Mawr Dermatology offers non-surgical cosmetic dermatology to help patients put their best selves forward. To stall hair loss and promote the growth of dense, healthy hair, we provide Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) scalp injections in Villanova and Collegeville.
Platelet rich plasma hair restoration is a highly recommended procedure for both men and women. The growth factors produced by the PRP are vital for allowing your body to jumpstart the hair growth process – without chemicals or prescription drugs. The plasma used in the procedure is processed from blood draws taken in office.
Our staff then spins the blood sample in a centrifuge, which helps separate plasma from other matter.
This PRP solution is then injected into the scalp. The injections stimulate the development of new blood vessels which promotes hair growth by increasing follicle count and vitality. Treatment is well tolerated, especially with the application of a topical numbing cream, and is minimally invasive, so patients don’t take too much time out of their busy schedules to achieve their desired results. Our dermatologists typically recommend three treatment sessions, after which patients report a thicker, fuller head of hair. Annual maintenance is required to keep up with hormone changes.
Patients often seek out PRP injections to boost hair growth after being frustrated with topical products but being hesitant to pursue invasive surgery or oral medications that have potential negative side effects. PRP injections are a popular and effective middle ground for all of the following reasons and more:
Don’t struggle with the embarrassment of thinning hair for another day. With PRP for hair loss in Villanova and Collegeville, we can help you enjoy new confidence in your appearance.
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