WHAT IS DIFFUSE HAIR LOSS?
Hair loss that occurs all over the scalp and not in one specific area is called 'diffuse' hair loss. Diffuse hair loss in men is not common, but causes include
- diffuse unpatterned androgenetic alopecia (DUPA)
- telogen effluvium
- alopecia areata
- lichen planopilaris and other scarring alopecias.
The mostly likely cause of diffuse hair loss differs on the specific clinical situation. The most common of these in young men with a diffuse reduction in density through increased daily shedding of hair that then stops is telogen effluvium. The most likely cause in men with a slow but steady reduction in density in an almost imperceptible manner is diffuse androgenetic alopecia.
The treatments for each of these conditions is different. Many of these conditions do respond to treatment, including telogen effluvium and diffuse alopecia areata. Diffuse unpatterned androgenetic alopecia can most certainly respond to finasteride and minoxidil. Telogen effluvium in men requires searching for the triggering cause (low iron, thyroid problems, stress) and remedying this trigger. Treatment of alopecia areata involves steroid injections, topical steroids, minoxidil and other treatments as well.
Taking the time to get a proper diagnosis of diffuse hair loss is important. Too often the assumption in men with diffuse hair loss is that the cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia and too often this is wrong.
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