Have you ever wondered what type of doctor you should consult in order to get professional advice regarding hair loss?
There are various reasons which could cause hair loss, varying from genetics to nutritional deficiencies. However, the hair loss that most of us experience is mainly due to a skin condition. Therefore, if you want to get professional advice regarding hair loss, then you must consult a trained dermatologist.
Further into this article, I will emphasize how a dermatologist could help you, and what other specialized doctors you could consult regarding hair loss.
It’s not like running to your family doctor to get a prescription for the common cold or fever you have. Hair loss could be due to an underlying issue in our body which must be addressed by a specialized doctor.
Why a dermatologist?
Dermatology is the field medicine which deals with the skin related problems, which also includes hair and nails. Most of the reasons that will lead to hair loss is due to an issue in our skin or scalp, or an action of us which negatively affects our skin or scalp.
The hair loss can be due to genetics, scalp issue or even a nutritional deficiency. If you want to consult a doctor to address hair loss, then you don’t make guesses about what might be the reason for your hair loss.
Dermatologists have the necessary skills and experience to detect what might be causing hair loss in you.
Consult a trained and accredited dermatologist. He will judge the reason for hair loss, through a series of examinations and advise you on the best possible steps you can take to overcome the situation.
How to find a professional dermatologist
There are various kinds of people in spas, saloons who claim to be dermatologists and give medical advice to people, but they are not dermatologists.
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has revealed that there were roughly about 39 million visits to non federally employed, office based dermatologists in the USA in the year of 2010.
Every doctor has to have the license to practice medicine after completing medical school and having the necessary training experience. This is just the basic qualification to begin the practice.
However in almost all the countries, to become a dermatologist, a doctor has to go through a special on the job training and should be accredited by a certified board in that country or a board which is recognized in that particular country by completing the relevant exams.
Accreditation by a certified board suggests that the relevant doctor has both skills and expertise to attend to medical issues related to dermatology. I personally believe that you should seek the advice of an accredited dermatologist, if you really want to the medical help of a doctor.
United States of America and Canada
Following are some of the organizations which provides, accreditation in USA and Canada to dermatologists, certifying that they have higher knowledge and expertise to deal with skin related issues
1. The American Board of Dermatology (ABDerm) in Massachusetts which certifies physicians in dermatology.
2. The American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology (AOA), an organization that certifies qualified doctors of osteopathic medicine who specialize in treatments and surgeries on skin disorders.
The credentials of your doctor could be verified from this link if he/she is registered under ABDerm or AOA
3. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is a non-profit organization established by a special act to oversee and regulate medical professionals in Canada.
4. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is one of the largest organizations of dermatologists in the world.
The credentials of the doctors who are certified by the AAD could be viewed from this link.
Some dermatologists use the credentials FAAD at the end of their name to indicate that they are certified by the American Academy of Dermatology. The abbreviation FAAD stands for Fellow of The American Academy of Dermatology.
The certification from these organizations implies that the credential holder is qualified, experienced and has the necessary expertise to attend to medical implications related to dermatology.
In the United Kingdom, dermatologists are considered as the most suited to deal with skin and hair related issues. As per the records there can be people who pretend to be a dermatologist in the United Kingdom.
However, a doctor who has successfully obtained the skills and expertise to practice dermatology will be registered in the specialist register of the General Medical Council. You can search whether your doctor is a registered dermatologist, if you are residing in the UK.
In UK accreditation will be offered by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).
New Zealand has only a handful of dermatologists accredited to serve the community. This is since, to become a dermatologist, a doctor has to pass a series of exams and years and years of training.
So if you see someone who tells you that he is an accredited dermatologist, then you should make sure that he is really accredited. If you are in New Zealand, you can check up your doctor from here.
In Australia, the doctors must be trained by the Austalasian College of Dermatologists (ACD), which is the only organization accredited by Australian Medical Council in training the doctors to be dermatologists.
If you are in Australia, then you can check up your nearest doctor from here.
There is a possibility that a dermatologist could not be listed in the certified list of dermatologists in the links provided, especially due to the updating issues. In that case you could call the relevant certifying authority and confirm.
What should you take to your dermatologist
The hair loss that you are undergoing can be due to various reasons. A dermatologist will recommend the required testing to detect the exact underlying condition for your hair loss.
However having the reports of blood tests could help your dermatologist to get a rough idea on the issue that you are facing. DO NOT take new blood tests, because I cannot exactly say what tests that you would need.
But if you have recently done following blood tests, then taking such reports to the dermatologist could ease the detection of the issue.
- Complete/Full Blood Count
- Fasting Blood Sugar
- Liver Profile
- Lipid Profile
- Thyroid Function Test
Further take note whether the hair loss has been running in your family.
What other doctors could you consult for hair loss
The dermatologist is the main specialized doctor that you must consult for hair loss issues. If the dermatologist recognizes a specific issue which is causing hair loss, and you feel that he is not skillful enough to deal with such issues, then you can consult the following specialty doctors.
Endocrinologists are the doctors who specialize in the issues related to the endocrine system of the human body. What is the endocrine system? It is the collection of glands that secretes hormones which regulate sexual function, metabolism, growth and development of the body etc.
If your dermatologist detects that your hair loss is due to an issue with the hormones in your body, then you can consult an endocrinologist.
As I said earlier, there can be various reasons which are causing hair loss. The hair loss due to nutritional deficiency is one such reason.
If your body is not deficient of nutrients which are important for hair, then supplementing or increasing the nutritional intake would not make a difference to your hair.
But, if your dermatologist detects that you are deficient of certain nutrients and recommend that you must increase your nutritional intake, then you could do it by yourself as per the instructions given by your dermatologist.
However, if you still want the expert opinion on nutrition intake, then you could consult a nutritionist.
A psychologist? Really? Did you get that question once you see the word psychologist?
Yeah, there are some rare cases where a person who is suffering from stress and mental pain could be pulling his/her hair from the scalp, sometimes even without their knowledge. This condition is commonly known as Trichotillomania  .
If you know someone suffering from this condition, please send them to a trained psychologist. This could be due to a serious underlying condition of stress and mental pain.
Did you know that stress can also cause hair loss. If you want to learn more click here.
I’m including trichologists in the list, since many have raised the question that “why can’t they consult a trichologist for hair loss issues?”.
So who are trichologists? Even I’m confused. Some say that they are doctors and others say that they aren’t. However their area of knowledge specifically focuses on hair and scalp related issues, which is only a part of the dermatologist’s vast area of expertise.
Therefore all dermatologists are trichologists but not all trichologists are not dermatologists.
However, in most countries trichologists are not allowed to prescribe medicine for skin and scalp related diseases. This is why I would recommend dermatologists who have enhanced expertise, if you need medical advice on hair loss.
So I hope that you would make good decisions for your healthy and well being.