Donate to Hair Loss Research, Patient Care and Education

Hair loss and other hair disorders may occur at any age, as the result of numerous factors. Every hair on an individual’s head grows half an inch every two to six years, with roughly 10 percent of the hair in a resting stage for a period lasting two to six months. Scalp hair grows about one-half inch per month. Roughly 90 percent of the hair on the scalp grows continually.

There are three kinds of baldness:

  • Male-pattern hair loss
  • Female-pattern baldness
  • Alopecia

When there is no identifiable cure for an individual’s hair loss, surgeons in Northwestern Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery can offer significant help in the form of surgical alternatives. Other specialists are able to offer non-surgical alternatives to people coping with hair loss. When you donate to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to ensure that patients affected by hair loss will continue to receive the very finest, most personalized care at Northwestern Medicine.

Hair loss may range from thinning that begins in the center of the scalp to complete baldness in otherwise healthy people. The type of baldness that a person experiences may be an indicator of the underlying cause of the baldness. Northwestern Medicine’s specialists look for:

  • Receding hairline
  • Thinning in front, center or back of the scalp
  • Scattered patches of hair loss
  • Missing lashes or eyebrows
  • Reduction of body hair
  • Scaly, red skin on the scalp

Hair loss also can occur in women who have recently given birth, or in individuals under significant amounts of stress. The most common reason for hair loss is a condition called hereditary baldness. Additionally, some diseases and medical treatments can result in hair loss. By making a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will lend your support to front-line research into hair disorders at Northwestern Medicine.

There are many reasons for hair loss, each causing symptoms and resulting in a distinct pattern. Causes could include:

  • Aging
  • Heredity (family history of baldness)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Severe illness
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Diseases, such as ringworm
  • Medications, including anabolic steroids and birth control pills
  • Chemotherapy
  • Burns and trauma
  • Eating disorders or other nutritional deficiencies
  • Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder)
  • Tight hairstyles
  • Shock
  • Anxiety

Diagnosing hair disorders starts with a series of questions, careful examination of the head, physical examination and a full medical history, including family history, diet, hairstyles and medications. Tests also may include hair analyses, scalp biopsies, and blood tests.  

Specialists at Northwestern Medicine provide innovative treatment for hair loss by performing both surgical and non-surgical hair replacement procedures. Some treatment options include:

  • Hair transplant surgery: Physician removes patches of skin containing hair and applies it to balding or thinning areas.
  • Flap surgery: In this operation, a portion of balding skin is removed and replaced using a flap of hair-bearing skin.
  • Scalp reduction: Sections of the bald scalp are eliminated and the hair-bearing parts of the scalp have been pulled together to fill in the region.

Non-surgical alternatives:

  • Finasteride (a pill for treating hair loss that blocks the enzyme responsible for hair loss.)
  • Over-the-counter topical solutions like minoxidil (Rogaine®).
  • Sunscreen and head covering (vital for individuals with thinning hair or hair loss to protect the scalp from sunburn and skin cancer.)
  • Switching from medications that cause hair loss
  • Eating a diet full of iron and protein
  • Shifting hairstyles to one that does not pull hair closely
  • Stress-reduction techniques
  • Laser phototherapy devices

Hair Loss Disorders Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

With your generous donation, you will provide much-needed support to Northwestern Medicine’s specialists in the area of hair disorders as they strive to identify each patient’s type of hair disorder; to prescribe an effective treatment plan; and to deliver high-quality care, in the near term and over the longer term, to each patient.

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