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Am I losing hair?

Subjective vs Objective Views on Hair Loss

If a person's hair is different than before, by one is "probably" losing air. However, there are several ways to better evaluate this and previous photos help alot.

1. Subjective view

The "subjective view" refers to the patient's view of his or her hair. Believe it or not, not all patients who think they are losing hair are really losing hair. Of course,  99.999 % of patients who think they are losing hair are really losing hair. However, there are several conditions, mostly psychological in nature, whereby patients think they are losing hair but a really not. 

So, a patient who presents to my office with a worry that they are losing hair is generally assumed to have hair loss - but it is not a guarantee that they do. 

2. Objective view (Clinical view)

The "objective view" refers to the clinicians view of what is happening up on the scalp. It is somewhat scientific and based on measurements. The most helpful way to determine if a patient is really losing hair or not is to compare previous photos and for the clinician to perform measurements. We know the typical hair densities of human beings - and so if hair density drops off in certain areas of the scalp that person is probably losing hair. Also, most of the time hair fibers are the thickness on the scalp. If the clinician sees many thick hairs and many thin hairs - it's probably an indication the person has a hair loss condition going on.

In summary, a good starting point for anyone who thinks they are losing hair is a comparison of previous photos. The next step is an objective clinical examination by a hair specialist.


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299



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