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.

Recent Questions

What promotes hair growth after suffering from hair loss as a side effect of Roaccutane?

Hi, The hair loss as a side effect of Roaccutane therapy is actually uncommon and temporary. Once Roaccutane therapy is stopped, the hair usually regrows 4-6 months later. There is no proven therapy (oral or topical) to prevent or treat hair loss occurring during Roaccutane therapy.

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Answered By

Dr Chin Yee Choong

Aesthetic

Is this a maturing hairline or male pattern baldness?

Thanks for the question. In male-pattern hair loss, also know as androgentic alopecia, there is progressive thinning of the hair over the frontal hairline and vertex (top) of the scalp. In male-pattern hair loss, the hair becomes increasingly finer and fewer with time. In some individuals, the thinning mainly affects the frontal hairline. In others, it affects mainly the vertex without much frontal recession. In many cases though, there is a combination of both frontal and vertex involvement.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

Recent Sessions

Hair Loss & Hair Transplant

Dr Kelvin Chua has garnered more than 15 years of experience in the aesthetics field – with over hundreds of liposuction procedures and thousands of Botox and filler treatments under his belt. He has also established for himself a reputation for non-invasive facial contouring techniques as well as liposculpturing techniques in body contouring procedures. He also specialises in threadlifting, Thermage CPT, Fractional CO2 laser, Radiofrequency, hair loss management & treatment, as well as moles and lumps removal. With a strong passion in inspiring others through teaching, Kelvin is well regarded by peers in the industry.

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