Trichoscopy is a term you may hear if you go to a hair loss specialist, or maybe even a dermatologist. It is really a method that a specialist can use to examine your skin and hair on your scalp to help to diagnose various conditions or diseases.
Various instruments are used to get a good magnified view of the skin and hair. The doctor may use a digital video dermoscopy system or a dermoscope that is handheld. The specialist is able to carefully examine structures of the scalp such as the hair shaft, openings to the hair follicles, the epidermis of the skin surrounding the hair follicle, and also the blood vessels.
Knowing the type of hair loss a patient has is important in helping decide on an effective treatment strategy, so diagnostic procedures such as trichoscopy are therefore important.
It turns out that short hairs are often very important in helping a specialist distinguish between different types of alopecia. Short hairs are defined as those hairs that have a length of below 5 mm. The individual hair shafts can be abnormal and classified according to what the abnormality is.
Shafts may be fractured, be narrower than they should be, be twisted or short, have bands or even have node-like structures present. Androgenetic alopecia is often suspected in men when there is a distinctive pattern of beginning at the front of the scalp and then the sides. However, the type and characteristics of individual hairs are also a way to diagnose the condition using trichoscopy.
Features of Hair Indicating Various Conditions
Men who have androgenetic alopecia often have many vellus hairs present that is hypopigmented indicating that miniaturization is a problem. The miniaturization of hairs due to the androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone is after all, widely thought to be the cause of androgenetic alopecia.
People who have the condition alopecia areata also often have many vellus hairs present on the scalp. Trichoscopy also indicate the presence of hairs that are shaped like exclamation marks, black dots, yellow dots and coudability hairs. The coudability hairs look normal but narrow at the proximal end of the hair. These findings can all indicate that the person has alopecia areata.
Tinea capitis is a fungus that attacks hair follicles and is a disorder that can occur in some people. This condition is evident by scaling on the scalp, the presence of black dots, and also hair features seen with trichoscopy. Hair that is indicative of tinea capitis is often corkscrew or comma-shaped.
Some of the types of alopecia lead to permanent hair loss; for instance, androgenetic alopecia and often, alopecia areata and even traction alopecia can cause significant hair loss. There are treatment options you can find out about by consulting specialists at clinics; for instance, the Vera Clinic.
There are various prescription foams and creams that may help with hair growth and there are also hair transplant surgery options for replacing missing hair. First, you need a diagnosis of why you are losing hair before you choose a treatment option, which is where trichoscopy can be helpful.
Also read about 10 Side Effects Of Hair Transplantation You Should Be Aware Of
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