The Five S's of Diagnosing Hair Loss

The Five S's of Diagnosing Hair Loss

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When it comes to diagnosing hair loss, nearly “everything” is potentially important. That you travelled to far off lands on vacation 3 summers ago can rarely have relevance. But usually it does not. That you rennovated your kitchen last year can rarely have relevance. Usually, however, it does not.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate that there are five pieces of information that are absolutely critical to obtain from a patient’s story , or what physicians call the “history.” These nicely fit into what I term the five “S’s” and include obtaining detailed information on the Speed of hair loss (fast or slow), associated symptoms (like itching, burning or tenderness), degree of shedding (normal, increased or excessive), a catalogue of supplements or drugs used by the patient in the last 3-4 years (including over the counter and prescription based). The final “S” refers to the sites of hair loss (is it front vs middle?, top vs back? one area vs diffuse? scalp only or eyebrows and lashes too?). The 5 “S’s” of hair loss is a remarkably powerful tool that I use each and every day with each and every patient.

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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