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Hair Loss Profile Image

Hair Loss

Hair loss is also known as alopecia or baldness. The severity of hair loss can vary from a small area to the entire body. 

Overview

Symptoms of hair loss include hair loss in patches usually in circular patterns, dandruff, skin lesions, and scarring.

People have between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on their head. The number of strands normally lost in a day varies but on average is 100.

In order to maintain a normal volume, hair must be replaced at the same rate at which it is lost. The first signs of hair thinning that people will often notice are more hairs than usual left in the hairbrush after brushing or in the basin after shampooing.

In male-pattern hair loss, loss and thinning begin at the temples and the crown and hair either thins out or falls out. Female-pattern hair loss occurs at the frontal and parietal. 

Diagnosis

There are 2 types of identification tests for female pattern baldness: the Ludwig Scale and the Savin Scale. Both track the progress of diffused thinning, which typically begins on the crown of the head behind the hairline, and becomes gradually more pronounced.

For male pattern baldness, the Hamilton–Norwood scale tracks the progress of a receding hairline and/or a thinning crown, through to a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair around the head and on to total baldness.

  • The pull test helps to evaluate diffuse scalp hair loss. Gentle traction is exerted on a group of hairs (about 40–60) on three different areas of the scalp. The number of extracted hairs is counted and examined under a microscope. Normally, fewer than three hairs per area should come out with each pull. If more than ten hairs are obtained, the pull test is considered positive.
  • The pluck test is conducted by pulling hair out "by the roots". The root of the plucked hair is examined under a microscope to determine the phase of growth, and is used to diagnose a defect of telogen, anagen, or systemic disease. Telogen hairs have tiny bulbs without sheaths at their roots. Telogen effluvium shows an increased percentage of hairs upon examination. Anagen hairs have sheaths attached to their roots. Anagen effluvium shows a decrease in telogen-phase hairs and an increased number of broken hairs.
  • Scalp biopsy is used when the diagnosis is unsure; a biopsy allows for differing between scarring and nonscarring forms. Hair samples are taken from areas of inflammation, usually around the border of the bald patch.
  • Daily hair counts are normally done when the pull test is negative. It is done by counting the number of hairs lost. The hair from the first morning combing or during washing should be counted. The hair is collected in a clear plastic bag for 14 days. The strands are recorded. If the hair count is >100/day, it is considered abnormal except after shampooing, where hair counts will be up to 250 and be normal.
  • Trichoscopy is a noninvasive method of examining hair and scalp. The test may be performed with the use of a handheld dermoscope or a video dermoscope. It allows differential diagnosis of hair loss in most cases.

In almost all cases of thinning, and especially in cases of severe hair loss, it is recommended to seek advice from a doctor or dermatologist. Many types of thinning have an underlying genetic or health-related cause, which a qualified professional will be able to diagnose.

Read this post for more information on treating hair loss in Singapore.

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Hi, there are many possible causes of hair loss. Male pattern hair loss can certainly start at age 23. Often there is a family history of hair loss and there is gradual thinning of the hair, mainly over the front and top of the scalp, while the hairs on the sides are spared. Ther...
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Hi Rupa, The most common cause of hair loss in women is Female Pattern Hair Loss. There is a clear pattern for the hair loss as defined in the Ludwig Scale as attached. Other common causes of hair loss in women are : Alopecia Areata ( coin-shaped hair loss ) Vita...
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Dear Marie, As you have correctly done, stopping the hair pulling is the first step in controlling the permanent follicle damage that can be caused by mechanical traction trauma. Do continue to be mindful to avoid pulling out more hair! If there are areas of scalp that have ...
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Dear Redhotchilli, I would like to answer your query in parts: a) Gradual hair loss, for example, over a number of years, should be differentiated between rapid-sudden hair loss. If you have noticed progressive thinning of your hair, leaving your parting line and temple scalp more visible...
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Dear kandycanecarinn, Lengthy reply alert: 1. Biotin as a hair growth supplement: I would like to clarify a few points regarding biotin - firstly, biotin IS vital in the normal development of normal hair and nails (believed to be due to biotin's role in controlling ke...
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Dear CT, Cohort studies done on patients taking isotretinoin (accutane) have shown may develop hair abnormalities. This is attributed to Vitamin A toxicitiy, of which, accutane is a potent derivative of. The types of hair disorders that are associated with isotretinoin u...
25 Oct 2018
Dear Diane, Good question. I receive this question a lot from my patients too. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is not allowed for Aesthetic treatments in Singapore Unfortunately, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is not allowed for Aesthetic treatments in Singapore. Hence, PRP is ...
6 Nov 2018
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