Depending on what’s causing it, there are various ways that hair loss can present. Hair loss signs might include any of the following:

  • Patchy bald spots or “alopecia areata
  • Thinning on top of the scalp
  • Sudden significant hair loss
  • Full-body loss of hair
  • Patches of scaling with broken hair in ringworm infection (a fungal infection)

Causes Of Hair Loss

Losing about 50 to 100 hair strands a day is considered normal. We do not usually notice this hair loss because the same number of hair is growing at the same time. Noticeable hair loss occurs when the hair that has fallen out isn’t replaced with new hair. The following factors can cause excessive hair loss.

  • Hormones

    Elevated levels of androgen (male hormones normally produced by both men and women) can cause thinning of hair, brittleness, and faster falling out of hair.

  • Genes

    The likelihood of developing male or female pattern baldness may be influenced by genes from both male and female parents.

  • Ringworm infection

    Ringworm infection is a type of fungal infection that can lead to brittle hair, redness, swelling, and at times, oozing of areas on the scalp.

  • Medications

    Some drugs used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure can cause hair loss as a side effect.

  • Mental and physical stress

    Temporary hair loss can be brought on by severe mental or emotional stress, sickness, and the delivery of a baby.

  • Burns and injuries to the scalp

    These can cause temporary hair loss unless a scar is produced when the wounds heal.

  • Radiation therapy

    Radiation on the head can cause hair loss and once hair regrows, it may not grow back the same as it was before.

  • Diet

    Malnutrition and a low-protein diet or severely calorie-restricted diet can cause hair loss.

  • Autoimmune diseases

    Autoimmune diseases can affect the hair follicles and cause alopecia areata. In alopecia areata, the hair grows back initially very fine and usually of a lighter color before normal regrowth.

  • Medical conditions

    Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disease, diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, and eating disorders can cause hair loss. Oftentimes, hair loss stops when the disease is under control.

  • Cosmetic hair procedures

    Frequent shampooing, perms, bleaching, and dyeing hair can make hair weak and brittle. Tight braiding or ponytails and using rollers or hot curlers can also damage hair.

Experiencing persistent hair loss?

You may have alopecia. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for a detailed evaluation and a personalised treatment plan.

Identifying The Cause of Hair Loss

Hair loss can be due to various causes. To identify the exact cause of your hair loss, your dermatologist will:

  • Ask questions like how long you’ve had hair loss and whether it came on suddenly
  • Examine your scalp, any other area with hair loss, skin, and nails closely
  • Test the health of your hair by gently pulling on your hair
  • Request for blood tests or scalp biopsy if a disease, vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, or infection is suspected

Hair Loss Treatment

There are available medications that may slow hair loss and treatments that may improve the health of the remaining hair. However, there is no treatment that is 100% effective and can bring back a full head of hair. If your hair loss is bothersome and causes distress, you can still try the following:

  • Finasteride

    Oral finasteride is a first-line treatment for male pattern baldness. It is contraindicated in women because it can cause birth defects in a fetus.

  • Minoxidil

    Minoxidil is a topical treatment and can be used for both male and female pattern baldness.

  • Spironolactone

    This drug can block androgen, the male hormone in the skin that can cause hair loss. This can also be used for both male and female pattern baldness.

  • Hair transplantation

    The process involves relocating plugs of skin from parts of the scalp with active hair follicles to bald areas.

  • Laser therapy

    This therapy can be used for hereditary hair loss, alopecia areata, and hair loss due to chemotherapy. It can also stimulate healing and hair growth after a hair transplant.

  • Steroids

    Oral, topical, and injectable steroids can be used to help your hair regrow.

  • Wigs and concealers

    For those who don’t want to take medications or undergo surgery or therapy, other options for managing hair loss would be to wear wigs or concealers available in powder or spray.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre 38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-36
Singapore 329563
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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What should I know about hair loss treatment?
    • Not all types of hair loss can be treated but a dermatologist may help you prevent further hair loss.
    • It can take several months before you see results from the treatment.
    • No one treatment works for everyone even for people with the same type of hair loss
    • Sometimes, you must try different treatments or a combination of them before finding what works for you.
    Can hair supplements treat hair loss?

    Sometimes taking supplements can do more harm than good especially if you are getting too much of certain nutrients. Research shows that high levels of selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E can promote further hair loss.