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Alopecia

Alopecia (hair loss)

The dermatologists at Melbourne City Dermatology are highly specialised in the investigation and management of hair loss (alopecia). Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. It can be noticed as shedding of hair, baldness, receding hairlines or hair thinning.

Alopecia can occur gradually over many years, or quite suddenly. Sudden hair loss can be distressing for many patients and may be caused by an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata.

Two of the most common forms of hair loss that dermatologists treat are “male pattern baldness”, and “female pattern hair loss”. These are sometimes considered a normal part of the ageing process, however when the hair starts to thin at an early age, or is very extensive many patients prefer to seek treatment. Women who suffer from “female pattern hair loss” may have other features of hormone imbalance, and this can be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Telogen effluvium is a different form of alopecia which tends to occur suddenly, and a lot of hair is lost in a short space of time. There are many possible triggers for this type of hair loss, including  hormonal factors, medical  disorders, nutritional deficiencies, sudden changes in diet and lifestyle, and medications. It can be a complex problem to solve and often more than one factor may be involved.

Dermatologists can often diagnose the cause of your problem through understanding your history and examining your scalp. Occasionally a scalp biopsy may be required and can give extra information when the diagnosis is more complex. Blood tests are often requested to rule out some triggers for hair loss that could be easily addressed such as iron deficiency.

If you notice excess hair thinning or shedding, we recommend that you ask your GP for advice and a referral to a specialist doctor at Melbourne City Dermatology  for a thorough assessment and management plan.

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A brush on scalp affected by alopecia.