Frequently Asked Question
Some occupations expose people to toxic chemicals -graphic artist working with dyes or pigments, auto mechanics/auto body repair who work with paints or solvents, hair stylist, office workers who are exposed to toner from copiers, etc.
Or have a high stress level- lawyers, sales, police, students.
Congestive heart failure, Irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease are all cardiac issues that may require permission from their cardiologist before treatment, especially if they are going to use a higher strength minoxidil. Minoxidil was originally used to lower blood pressure, and as a side effect was found to help hair growth. It is a linear dose drug so the higher the strength, the better it works.
► Anemia and Thyroid disease (hypothyroid and hyperthyroid) may cause hair loss.
► Diabetes – diabetics usually take longer to heal and if not controlled, may also cause poor circulation.
► Depression and liver disease effect general health and medications given to treat these conditions may cause hair loss.
► Stress is a big factor in hair loss, especially for women and may cause Telogen effluvium. This condition even with treatment may take up to 16 weeks to reverse.
Men who have enlarged prostate or are being checked (PSA) for enlarged prostate, need to let their doctor know they are taking an “anti-androgen (saw palmetto) (XTC’s Supplements) or “Propecia™/Finasteride) as they may cause the PSA to have lower value than it really is.
The doctor may suggest he discontinue taking the supplement for a week or two, prior to having this test performed; for a more accurate reading of their level.
Some of this information you will notice when you examine the scalp. Dandruff may be a sign of an allergic reaction or an excessively dry scalp.
Redness, bumps, raised areas or itching may be a sign of an infection (bacterial or fungal) as well as insect bites or more serious problems such as melanoma. Any raised rash, scaly areas (raised white scaly areas may be psoriasis) or open cuts/wounds should be referred to their physician or a dermatologist.
Patchy areas on scalp, eyebrow, facial hair (men), may be alopecia areata. This is usually a sudden hair loss that may progress to Totalis (all the scalp hair) or universalis (all body hair. It is thought to be an auto immune disease and usually happens to someone under increased stress. It may only be an allergic reaction but the cause is not really understood. Hair loss may be a symptom of a disease such as lupus and I usually recommend that people with alopecia areata see their doctor to rule out a serious auto immune disease.
Another cause of patchy loss would be scaring alopecia. This is usually seen as a red area that may have some drainage. When it heals, it is very smooth with no hair. A diagnosis of scaring alopecia is usually done by biopsy of the area by a dermatologist. There are no follicles in the scarred areas and regrowth is not possible. The hairs around these areas may be strengthened with treatment and may make these areas easier to hide with other hair.
There may also be chemical (perms, strong chemicals) or physical scaring (heat, accident) where regrowth may not be possible.
Occasionally a person with Trichotillomania will come for treatment. These people pull out their hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and may benefit from counseling to find out the cause of this
Some hair loss is normal. Normally approximately 10% of the hair is in the growth stage and a person may lose 50 to 100 hairs daily and still be considered normal. It is when people see hair all over their pillow, sink and clothes that there is real concern and they seek treatment. People like animals, do occasionally shed and is not cause for alarm as long as they are replacing those hairs which would be visible with the capilloscope.
Shampoos without sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) or DEA are safer and healthier. SLS may cause irritation and DEA when it sits on the shelf in a cosmetic product may react with other ingredients to form a potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamide (NDEA). These ingredients are added to shampoo because they emulsify the product and provide a rich lather that people think necessary to have “clean” hair. Hair may be damaged with excessive heat. Use hot tools on lower temperature.