Female Hair Loss: Should You Have a Scalp Biopsy?
When it comes to women and hair loss, a doctor, not a hairstylist, may be a girl’s best friend. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million women in this country have hereditary hair loss, compared with 50 million men. But many more women experience thinning hair as a result of menopause or health problems. If you’ve started to notice more hairs around the shower drain and on the floor after styling than usual, you may be researching hair loss products. You’re not alone. The New York Times reported that Americans spent an estimated $176 million on hair loss products last year, and chances are some of that money was not well spent.
Rule Out the Causes of Hair Loss
When we're searching for answers it is a good idea to be able to rule out medical, genetic, or temporary possibilities. “There are about 30 different medical conditions, as well as several lifestyle factors that can trigger hair loss in women,” said Dr. Marina Pizarro. So before you rush out to buy a trendy new hair regrowth treatment, try talking to a doctor who specializes in hair loss such as a dermatologist. While a doctor can perform blood tests for thyroid and iron deficiencies, a dermatologist can do the blood work and can perform a scalp biopsy.
What is a Scalp Biopsy?
A scalp biopsy is a procedure that can test for a number of hair and scalp conditions including:
- Determining the condition of your scalp
- Hair follicular density
- Possible inflammatory conditions (such as lupus)
- Possible fungal infections
- Catagen/telogen hairs
- Possible abnormalities within the hair shaft
- Hair loss due to emotional or physical shock to the system
- And much more
A scalp biopsy lets your doctor determine whether you hair loss is temporary or a form of alopecia.
How is the Procedure Done?
When your doctor preforms a scalp biopsy, he or she will take a small section of your scalp, usually about 4mm in diameter, is removed and examined under a microscope. The procedure takes about five minutes and is primarily used to help determine the cause of hair loss. The biopsy does require local anesthetic, with most individuals recovering very quickly. You are usually even able to drive home shortly afterwards. Most doctors recommend waiting about 24 hours after the biopsy before washing your hair, keeping the scalp dry helps the biopsy site to heal.
Losing your hair is emotionally difficult, especially for women. Talking to a hair specialist can help you determine what the best course of treatment is. As with most medical conditions, early diagnosis can be key. To learn more about hair loss, regrowth treatment and product options or to consult with a Capillus specialist in your area click here or call Capillus for more information at (786) 888 6249 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 272-9599.