By John Olusegun 5:00 pm PST

Hair loss can be challenging for women as many worry about how it impacts their looks. However, hair loss has more consequences than its effects on beauty, and it can signify health problems that may need urgent attention. Dr. Valerie Callender, an American dermatologist, said that hair loss could indicate other medical conditions like diabetes, acne, and breast cancer. She advised women to see their dermatologists immediately after they notice signs of hair loss. Doing that may enable them to limit the hair loss progression and hold on to the hair they have. A consultation with the doctor lets them discover any underlying medicals they may have.

The American Academy of Dermatology expert further explains the different types of hair loss, especially those that affect women with darker skin tones. The information contains the usual medical conditions related to hair loss and treatment options. The most common condition that causes hair loss is central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), which causes hair loss in the center of the scalp. This condition is the most common type of hair loss seen in women with darker skin tones and affects nearly 15% of Black women.

Dermatologists have explained that early detection is vital to combat CCCA, as it can cause scarring by destroying hair follicles. Once the hair follicles are scarred, hair growth becomes difficult, and hair loss may become permanent– an extreme that most people do not want to happen to them. It can be avoided if you notice the signs early and seek medical attention immediately.

Only a qualified dermatologist can diagnose CCCA and recommend a treatment plan. Treatment options usually include antibiotics, topical steroids, medication, or corticosteroid injections. The objective is to relieve pain and stop itching; the medicines will also prevent the scarring from progressing. The underlying condition causing hair loss will determine the most suitable treatment plan for each patient. That is also after the doctor considers other related details like their medical history.

Callender explained that Black women with CCCA are often diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and breast cancer. However, female pattern hair loss is another common type of hair loss; the difference is that it affects millions of women of all skin tones. This hereditary condition thins hair on the top of the scalp. Female pattern hair loss increases the hormones in women, and many patients have acne. Apart from the hereditary factor, this condition can also progress with menopause and high blood pressure.

 A standard treatment for hair loss, especially female pattern hair loss, is minoxidil, an ingredient common in many products. These products are available in drug stores, but it is better to follow professional advice. A dermatologist can prescribe it in a higher dosage to reduce hair loss and stimulate growth. Other functions include strengthening the existing hair strands.

Hair transplants can be considered when regular treatment options are inadequate to combat hair loss. This option is effective for female pattern hair loss and traction alopecia patients. The scarring may make it less ideal for patients with CCCA, but it is possible to have some success with it.

Hair loss is not just something to brush aside, as it can indicate a health problem that may worsen as time passes. Hence, it is better to seek help from a professional before taking any medication or, worse, ignoring it.