You’re in the bathroom and you notice something that shakes your world. It can either be significant amounts of hair on the floor or a lot of hair clogging up your shower drain. Or it could be a bald patch or an even more exposed scalp that you never saw previously. Whatever the case may be, it’s never nice to have that first real experience of noticing your hair loss. But rather than dwelling on it, it’s best to take action right away.
The first course of action is seeing an expert about your hair loss. But who should you go see first? Do you go to your regular family doctor? Or a hair loss specialist? What about a dermatologist? This blog will go into detail about this topic so you know exactly what steps you should take to remedy the situation.
Going to a family doctor first
For most individuals, their first stop is their family doctor and by all accounts, that is a great option. They may not specifically specialize in hair loss or dermatology, but they can perform a checkup on you to help determine if there have been any recent changes in your body that may be contributing to your hair loss.
Remember, there are multiple reasons one can experience hair loss, and it’s not always permanent as most fear initially. And if you’re experiencing rapid hair loss all of a sudden, it’s likely to be something medical, which is where a family doctor is ideal.
“Your family doctor is usually the first person. Because some family doctors are very well versed and they really do understand hair loss and what it pertains to,” says hair loss specialist and Superhairpiece store manager Tara. “But they're not specialists, so their answer might just be like, ‘oh, go get some Rogaine.’
“If there was an instance where you're losing hair very quickly, most men, they'll slowly start to lose their hair, right? Versus when you're losing your hair very quickly, that's an indication you should see a doctor right away, because what happens then is usually there's something medical going on.
“So if in the last year, you've lost a lot of hair, it could be stress-induced, it could be a lot of things, but it's best to go see your doctor. You could have a vitamin deficiency, there could be something else wrong with your thyroid. So it could be an indication of something medically wrong. So that's why people should essentially see their doctor first, then maybe see a dermatologist, then your hair loss specialist, maybe for what your options are. Because the hair loss specialist is not going to be able to diagnose and they're not going to either.”
With that said, a family doctor is also a good option if your hair loss is not rapid and you’re just starting to notice more shedding than usual or the first sign of balding. After all, the earlier you get to the root of the problem, the better chances you have of saving your hair.
“If you're first noticing it and you're worried, it doesn't hurt to talk to a medical professional,” Tara explains. “It's always better to talk to a medical professional because they could really look at stuff. If you're a young guy, a lot of the time, like men, it's such a slow process because it's not a matter of their seeing a lot of hair shed. Like we always shed, we're going to shed up to 100 hairs in a day normally. So that's a normal reaction. And so you brush your hair, you should see hair.
“When the hair is not replaced with a strong hair follicle, again, that's where people notice the thinning. It's not necessarily the shedding that makes them bald, it's the hair not being replaced. So if they start to see spaces or bald spots or that density is obviously thinning out yet, definitely go see the doctor.”
If you’re not satisfied with your family doctor’s diagnosis or recommendation, you can always ask for a referral to see a dermatologist.
When to go to a dermatologist
In most cases, you will be recommended to a dermatologist for any hair issues you’re experiencing. While dermatologists are mostly associated with skin, it’s a common misconception that they only deal with skin issues. Dermatologists are medical doctors who specialize in skin, hair, and nails. They can conduct a full examination and perform the necessary tests to give you the most accurate diagnosis for your specific hair loss issues. It’s also always recommended to go to a dermatologist after your family doctor if you want to dive deeper into your hair loss issues as well as get a second opinion.
Getting an appointment may be tricky with the wait times, especially in Canada where you require a referral from your family doctor to visit one in the first place, but once you do, you will receive a diagnosis at the very least.
But when should you go to a dermatologist first over your family doctor? Hairs To You podcast guest and a kinesiologist with surgical and non-surgical hair experience Nicole Budani believes most times, women should always see a dermatologist first. When it comes to males, only teenagers experiencing early hair loss should go to a dermatologist.
“I always support seeing a dermatologist,” Budani said. “For many reasons, especially women. Women - if you have hair loss, see a dermatologist. Are they going to give you your answers? Maybe not. But at least, you have a diagnosis. Men are a little bit on the edge of like, you really have to…hard to say. If you have genetics for hair loss, then probably don't bother. If you're young, like a young, young man, I'm talking anywhere between the ages of like 13 to like 20, you should probably see a dermatologist as well. It's very early on for hair loss to happen. It does happen and it can be really aggressive genetics, but it's always a better idea to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, it does take a lot of time. And the problem is, in the grand scheme of things, to a dermatologist clinic, hair loss is not a life threatening thing.
“So, they're not really going to be super eager to see you quite right away. So you have to be really patient with it. Now with that being said, you could totally go to a hair specialist or clinic that deals with hair loss in the meantime. They are going to provide you with different types of information. The family doctor or the dermatologist is going to give you a diagnosis. They may suggest some medications that you can take like Rogaine, like we talked about, or finasteride or a DHT blocker or in a woman, a lot of the times you have, something like spironolactone, which is like a testosterone blocker with those things. There's a lot of side effects. So you do have to be really cautious about what you're taking and you should really do your research before you decide to do that. But yes, I do think you should see a dermatologist. It is something that's happening to your body and yes, in most cases, it's totally a natural occurrence. But it never hurts to err on the side of caution.”
Don’t go to a hair loss specialist first
Ultimately, the choice is up to you in the end. But whoever you end up going to, it’s best to see either a family doctor or dermatologist first. If you’re experiencing hair loss, especially in the first or early stages, don’t see a hair loss specialist such as a hair replacement technician or a hair transplant surgeon.
Despite the name, those options are only for regaining your hair — not underlining the root cause of your hair loss or preventing further hair loss, thinning or shedding.
“We’re hair loss specialists but we’re not doctors,” says Superhairpieces stylist Christina. “It could be hereditary or something in their diet that they’re missing. I wouldn’t come to a hair stylist or a hair loss specialist [first] because we’re not doctors.”
However, if you’re experiencing a more advanced level of hair loss and have determined it’s due to genetics, pattern baldness or that it’s simply not coming back, don’t lose hope. You can still regain a full head of hair by using 100% human hairpieces.
Book an online consultation with us and if you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, visit our Mississauga location to have your toupees, hair systems, wigs or hair toppers attached and styled by our specialists!
Interested in learning more about getting started with hair systems? Browse through our website at www.superhairpieces.com (US & International) or superhairpieces.ca (CAN)
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