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Hair Loss (cont.)

Hair Loss Diagnosis

Physicians, generally dermatologists, diagnose hair loss by performing a physical examination and looking at the underlying skin and the pattern and distribution of hair loss.

  • Charts with pictures of hair loss help to classify the amount and type of hair loss. These include the Hamilton and Ludwig classification charts.
    • Extra tests may be necessary if the diagnosis is uncertain, especially if you have symptoms besides hair loss.
    • A hair pull test can be performed to examine multiple hair shafts microscopically for thickness, length, structure, and growth phase and to determine if abnormal number of hairs are falling out.
  • Different thickness and length occurs in the most common type of hair loss, androgenic alopecia.
  • Skin problems leading to hair loss may be diagnosed by taking a sample of skin and hair from the affected area. A doctor looking at this under a microscope might find a specific cause.
  • If hair loss is severe or other signs of illness are present, many tests might be used, including X-rays and blood tests.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2014

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