Hair disorders are extremely common problems ranging from hair loss to hair fragility to hair overgrowth. Hair loss, or alopecia, may involve genetic abnormalities that lead to hair loss in childhood (example: papular atrichia) or in adulthood (example: male pattern baldness) or non-genetic acquired abnormalities from drugs (example: chemotherapy-induced alopecia), hair care practices (example: hot comb alopecia) or infections (example: fungal-related alopecia or "tinea capitis"). Effective treatment of these conditions requires a correct diagnosis and for this, one should ideally see a dermatologist with expertise in hair problems. A diagnosis will lead to very specific treatment options that then can be discussed with the dermatologist as to cost, potential to reverse versus containing the hair loss or hair overgrowth, and time to response.
The following are a series of summations on common hair disorders prepared by experts of the North American Hair Research Society followed by questions our clinician members are frequently asked by patients. This information is meant to extend one's knowledge on the hair disorder or dispel myths or misunderstandings regarding common therapies used in treatment. The comments are in no way meant to substitute for a physician evaluation and diagnosis but instead are meant to augment information already received. The North American Hair Research Society is not responsible for any actions taken by individuals as a result of the following information. No treatment should be initiated or discontinued based on the information imparted here but the reader is specifically referred back to his/her dermatologist/primary physician for further discussion.