When it comes to hair loss, or alopecia, sometimes it’s important to seek medical advice. Different types of doctors have different levels of expertise. In this blog we review which doctor for hair loss is the best option when you want to get answers and solutions regarding your hair falling out.
There are several types of doctors who can help diagnose and treat hair loss. Here are some of the specialists who may be able to help:
- Dermatologist: A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the skin, hair, and nails. They are often the first doctor people go to for hair loss, as they have the most expertise. Board-certified dermatologists have the most comprehensive training for the medical and surgical management of hair loss. Dermatologists use history, physical examination, laboratory studies and biopsy results to figure out if, and why, someone is loosing hair. Many other specialists refer their patients with alopecia to board-certified dermatologists for the most accurate diagnosis and comprehensive care.
- Endocrinologist: An endocrinologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances can cause hair loss. An endocrinologist can help diagnose and treat conditions such as thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that may be contributing to hair loss. Not all causes of hair loss, however, are related to endocrine issues. The absence of an endocrine issue does not mean that hair loss is not of concern. Endocrinologists often refer to board-certified dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis and for treatment.
- Family medicine or primary care physician: A family medicine or primary care physician, such an an internal medicine doctor, pediatrician or gynecologist, may also be able to help diagnose and treat hair loss. This may especially be true if the underlying cause is related to a general health condition. These specialists, however, often refer their hair loss patients to board-certified dermatologists for more specificity and treatment.
- Hair restoration surgeon: A hair restoration surgeon is usually a plastic surgeon, dermatologist or general surgeon who focuses on procedural solutions to hair loss such as hair transplant. The may also perform procedures such as PRP. It is often best to go to them once the cause of the hair loss is diagnosed. Hair transplant can be a good choice for androgenetic alopecia–also known as male or female pattern hair loss– or traction alopecia. It is not appropriate for active scarring alopecias, such as lichenplanopilaris, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) or lichenplanopilaris (LLP) if the condition is active. The amount of donor area is also important in determining if a hair transplant is feasible. Hair restoration surgeons often refer patients to dermatologists to confirm the diagnosis before a procedure is performed.
Read: Hair loss expert, Dr. Dina Strachan featured in The Scratch in The New York Times
So, what is a trichologist?
A trichologist is a professional with training in hair but no specific licensing. They are not necessarily cosmetologists nor are they doctors. The can help with certain issues regarding hair loss, scalp care and hair breakage but they have a much more limited scope of practice than physicians. Trichologists cannot diagnose medical conditions, nor can they prescribe medications or perform surgery. Occasionally, a doctor with special training in hair loss will describe themselves as a trichologist in which case they have a physician’s scope of practice. If you are looking for a diagnosis it’s best to see a board-certified dermatologist.
In conclusion – Which doctor for hair loss
In many cases, a board-certified dermatologist is a good place to start for hair loss, as they can have the most expertise with respect to hair loss. From there, they may refer you to another specialist if necessary. Got hair loss? Schedule a consultation with us here!