Hair Thinning

Hair thinning is a relatively common issue that can be caused by a wide variety of conditions or concerns. For this reason, it can be frustrating to resolve at home without help from a medical professional. Dermatologists like Dr. Liz Damstetter are trained to recognize common causes behind hair thinning and help patients stabilize their condition and, ultimately, restore healthy hair growth. Seeking a diagnosis and treatment is also important because hair thinning can be a sign of a more serious medical issue. If you notice signs such as your part widening, your hairline receding, dramatic increases in hair shedding, or bald spots beginning to form, do not hesitate to seek care from a qualified dermatologist. Patients dealing with thinning hair in Glenview Illinois and the surrounding area can schedule an appointment at Reserve Dermatology.

What Causes Hair Thinning?

Hair thinning has many potential causes. These include:

  • Genetic factors
  • Aging
  • Alopecia areata
  • Cancer treatment
  • Childbirth
  • Illness
  • Damage from styling, dyeing, or chemical treatments
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Infection
  • Side effects from medication
  • Psoriasis
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Medical conditions such as thyroid disease

The cause of your hair loss will typically determine whether you lose hair gradually or abruptly, whether treatment is required to regrow healthy hair, and whether hair loss will be permanent. In some cases, Dr. Damstetter may work in coordination with other medical professionals to diagnose the cause of your hair thinning.

Your Expert

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Hair Thinning Signs

Patients may notice hair thinning in different patterns. For example, you may notice that the hairline is receding, the part is widening, your ponytail is becoming thinner, or a bald spot is developing. Other patients may notice an increase in the number of shedding hairs when they brush or wash their hair. Hair thinning may occur suddenly or slowly and gradually over an extended period of time. It can also affect the scalp, facial hair, or body hair.

In addition to hair loss, some conditions may cause other symptoms. These include burning, stinging, itching, redness, or swelling of the scalp. Conditions like psoriasis or infection can result in scaly patches or sores.

Reviews

“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

Treatment Options for Hair Thinning

The correct treatment plan for your hair thinning will vary depending on the cause. Some common options include:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine)
  • Finasteride (Propecia)
  • Spironolactone
  • Antibiotics
  • Vitamins or supplements such as biotin, iron, or zinc
  • Microneedling
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Laser treatments

For some patients, hair thinning may resolve on its own or with proper hair care. For example, those who experience hair thinning after giving birth or losing weight will typically regain their hair over time. Similarly, patients who experience hair thinning as a symptom of an illness or psoriasis will likely see full and healthy hair after treating the root cause. If your hair loss is due to damage from certain hairstyles or chemical processes, Dr. Damstetter can also suggest an at-home hair care routine that will be healthier and gentler for your hair, allowing full hair to grow back over time.

Do hair skin and nail vitamins really work?

Specific types of vitamins may be formulated to help reduce temporary or hormonal types of hair loss. Biotin has never been shown to regrow hair unless someone has a dietary deficiency.

What helps female thinning hair?

A board-certified dermatologist can make recommendations for medications for female pattern hair loss. Vitamins formulated for female pattern hair loss may be modestly helpful. Gentle shampoos and conditions are recommended.

What deficiencies cause hairloss?

The most common deficiency in modern society to cause hair loss is iron deficiency anemia. About 2-3 months after a major dip in iron (menstrual losses, accident, surgery, or poor dietary absorption) hair may start to dramatically shed. Other deficiencies leading to hair loss include biotin, other B vitamins, vitamin C (scurvy), folic acid and vitamin D. Fortunately, modern societies almost always have these vitamins in a normal diet.

How long does it take biotin to work on hair?

Biotin does not regrow hair unless someone has a true biotin deficiency. The FDA has warned against taking high levels of biotin. The recommended dose for daily use is up to 2,000 micrograms (2 milligrams) daily.

How can I improve my nail health?

Moisturize after every hand washing, avoid frequent manicures and repetitive trauma to nails, and maintain a well-balanced diet for optimal nail health. Low levels of biotin may help strength nail plate formation.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about hair thinning and how to treat it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology. Call our Glenview, Illinois office or contact us online.

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Does a dermatologist treat alopecia?

Board-certified dermatologists are the experts in diagnosis and medical management of hair loss disorders. Dermatologists can order tests and perform scalp biopsies as needed to determine the source of hair loss, and they are an excellent resource for evidence-based therapeutic options to halt hair loss and stimulate regrowth. Certain types of hair loss can co-occur with other dermatologic conditions, so it is recommended you consult with a board-certified dermatologist if you are experiencing unexplained hair loss.

Can female pattern hair loss be stopped?

Female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is quite common and can be very distressing. A board-certified dermatologist will assess your scalp and hair to make a diagnosis and recommend evidence-based treatment options, including oral medications, topical scalp preparations, vitamins and others. Once diagnosed, treatment is aimed at halting hair loss and promoting hair regrowth. It is important to stay consistent with treatment as regrowth takes many months to years, and female pattern hair loss may progress if treatment is discontinued.

Does prednisone help with alopecia?

Depending on the type of alopecia and the cause, prednisone may be a therapeutic option for hair regrowth. This is best used for inflammatory types of alopecia, such as alopecia areata, or scarring alopecias such as lichen planopilaris. Non-inflammatory types of hair loss, such as female or male pattern alopecia, will not improve with prednisone and may actually worsen. It is important to seek consultation with a board-certified dermatologist to correctly diagnose your hair loss disorder.

Will biotin help alopecia?

The average person takes in more than enough biotin through a traditional Western diet to ensure proper hair growth. Taking extra biotin is unlikely to aid in hair restoration. If you are biotin-deficient from a congenital disorder, medication side effect or poor nutrition, then biotin supplementation may help correct hair fragility or loss.