Hair Loss in Men and Women (Alopecia)

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideHair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

What vitamins are good for hair loss? Are there home remedies for hair loss?

A good daily multivitamin containing zinc, vitamin B, folate, iron, and calcium is a reasonable choice, although there is no good evidence that vitamins have any meaningful benefit in alopecia. Newer studies suggest that vitamin D may be somewhat helpful and worth considering. Specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies like iron or vitamin B12 may be diagnosed by blood tests and treated.

Multiple vitamins, including biotin, have been promoted for hair growth, but solid scientific studies for many of these claims are lacking. While taking biotin and other supplements marketed for hair, skin, and nails probably won't worsen anything, it may also not necessarily help the situation. Therefore, advertised hair-regrowth supplements should be approached with mild caution.

Can itchy scalp cause hair loss?

Itchy scalp may cause mild, reversible hair loss. Causes may include seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff). Treatments may include medicated shampoos like ketoconazole (Nizoral), OTC dandruff shampoos, and topical steroid creams and lotions to help decrease itching.

What is the prognosis for hair loss?

The prognosis for androgenic non-scarring hair loss is guarded due to the fact that there is no cure for the problem. Medications must be taken indefinitely. Other types of hair loss have a good chance of spontaneously resolving.

How do people prevent hair loss?

Hair-loss prevention depends on the underlying cause. Good hair hygiene with regular shampooing is a basic step but is probably of little benefit. Good nutrition, especially adequate levels of iron and vitamin B, is helpful. Treatment of underlying medical conditions like thyroid disease, anemia, and hormonal imbalances may useful in prevention.

REFERENCES:

Ahanogbe, Isabella, and Alde Carlo P. Gavino. “Evaluation and Management of the Hair Loss Patient in the Primary Care Setting.” Prim Care Clin Office Pract 42 (2015): 569-589.

Bolognia, Jean, Jorizzo, Joseph, and Rapini, Ronald. Dermatology. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2008.

Han, A., and P. Mirmirani. "Clinical approach to the patient with alopecia." Semin Cutan Med Surg. 25 (2006): 11-23.

Mubki, T., L. Rudnicka, M. Olszewska, and J. Shapiro. "Evaluation and diagnosis of the hair loss patient: part I. History and clinical examination." J Am Acad Dermatol 71.3 Sept. 2014: 415.

Mubki, T., L. Rudnicka, M. Olszewska, and J. Shapiro. "Evaluation and diagnosis of the hair loss patient: part II. Trichoscopic and laboratory evaluations." J Am Acad Dermatol 71.3 Sept. 2014: 431.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/13/2016

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