Identifying cause of hair loss critical to inform best treatment course
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Before initiating any treatment for hair loss, dermatologists should conduct a full workup to identify all potential causes, including genetic and nongenetic factors, according to a presenter at South Beach Symposium.
“Treatments for hair loss represent the second largest segment of aesthetic procedures performed in the United States today,” Glynis R. Ablon, MD, FAAD, associate clinical professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and dermatologist/owner of the Ablon Skin Institute in Manhattan Beach, Calif., said during her presentation. “More than 70 million Americans suffer from hair loss, of which 20 million are women. We know that it takes ‘seeds’ — stem cells — and ‘soil’ — the microenvironment — to make hair grow, but before treating the patient, we first must determine where the problem with hair growth lies.”
Ablon recommended a full workup of possible causes of hair loss, including potential stressors.
“When treating a patient with hair loss, it is important to first identify what is going on in their lives. This should include not only their medical history or background, but what potential stressors they have going on in their lives,” Ablon said. “Identify what additional factors may be causing the hair loss because heightened levels of inflammation and oxidative stress can affect hair growth.”
Hormonal imbalance is another significant cause of hair loss among women, according to Ablon.
“Estrogen and progesterone decrease abruptly after menopause, and androgen secretion declines gradually with age,” she said. “Androgens contribute significantly to hair loss during and after menopause.”
Ablon discussed a clinical trial underway in which she and colleagues are evaluating the safety and efficacy of a novel nutraceutical supplement containing botanical rebalancing hormone sensitizers in promoting hair growth among 70 perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women with self-perceived thinning hair.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is anticipated to be completed in October, with interim 6-month results available in March.
“Hair loss is a significant issue, and a lot of patients want to know more about it,” Ablon said. “One thing I always make sure to discuss with my patients regarding hair loss is nutrition because we are what we eat, and if we are not taking care of our bodies, then our external bodies will definitely show it.” – by Jennifer Southall
Ablon GR. Hair loss treatments: How do we choose? Presented at: South Beach Symposium; Feb. 6-9, 2020; Miami Beach, Florida.
Disclosure: Ablon reports she has relationships with Eclipse, Nutrafol and Sunetics.