Preparing the Mind to Recognize the Many Forms of Hair Loss

In addition to being a hair transplant specialist and specialist in hair disorders, I do research in hair loss and devote time to teaching and lecturing medical students, interns, residents and physicians about hair loss. In fact, part of my time away from the office is spent teaching other doctors about hair loss and about hair transplant surgery. I’m lucky that my profession is not only my job but also a real joy.

I enjoy teaching others about the approximately 100 reasons for humans to have hair loss.

Androgentic alopecia, alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, lichen planopilaris, folliculitis decalvans, dissecting cellulitis, pseudopelade, morphea, ectodermal dysplasia. The list goes on and on.

Today, I gave a lecture about hair loss to medical students at the University of Toronto.  Hair loss is rarely covered in medical schools so it's a real privilege to have the chance to speak to a room full of bright students.  What I hope for after each lecture I give is that the learner goes home with an open mind to consider the many different kinds of hair loss that exist.


Folliculitis decalvans affecting crown If someday they see a young 34 year old man with a bald crown that itches them like crazy will they instinctively think this is another case of “male balding” or is that doctor now open to consider that this man may instead have an unusual scarring hair loss condition called “folliculitis decalvans” ?


Alopecia areata diffusa mimicking genetic hair lossor....When the young doctor finds themselves evaluating a 25 year old woman with hair loss in the centre of her scalp, low vitamin B12 blood levels and dozens of little dots in her nails will that doctor instinctively think this is an young woman with early “female balding” or will the doctor remember the lecture and consider that this could be an unusual form of alopecia areata (called “alopecia areata diffusa”)?

The French philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Henri Bergson once said that the human mind sees only what it’s prepared to understand. I consider it a great privilege to teach about hair loss and help others open their minds to the many different types of hair loss that they will likely encounter in their patients in the years to come.

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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