Getting to the Root of the Problem

Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology offers hair restoration options
hair loss
Courtesy of Dr. Cather McKay, M.D., FAAD, Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology

When dealing with hair loss, getting to the root of the matter is the first step. Hair loss can result from multiple factors that doctors at Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology can help you address. 

Each dermatologist begins by conducting a thorough evaluation including a detailed history and physical exam. Patients should be prepared to provide a timeline of their hair loss, their medical and family history, prior treatments, hair care practices and more. 

An examination includes trichoscopy, which is an evaluation of the scalp, hair follicles and hair with a magnifying tool called a dermatoscope. A scalp biopsy or blood tests may be recommended.

Dr. Cather McKay, a board-certified dermatologist with Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology in Fort Walton Beach, advises scheduling an examination as soon as you begin to notice hair loss because a timely diagnosis is essential in treatment. 

The most common cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern thinning. It occurs in adulthood and affects all races.

Shedding of hair is often linked to physical or emotional stressors. Hair loss caused by stress is called telogen effluvium, a reversible condition. It may be triggered by illness, pregnancy or after surgery. Cases have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Medical conditions including thyroid disfunction, polycystic ovarian syndrome and iron deficiency also can lead to hair thinning. 

Hair loss can also be caused by inflammation. Some inflammatory hair loss leads to scarring of the follicles and permanent hair loss. Thus, proper diagnosis and early treatment are crucial.

Treatment can begin immediately following a diagnosis. Treatment is tailored to each individual patient and may include prescriptions, over-the-counter options, and/or procedures.  

Red light therapy may be recommended to stimulate growth. For those with inflammatory or scarring hair loss, corticosteroid injections may be considered. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a non-surgical option that involves drawing blood which is spun in a centrifuge to separate the PRP, which is then injected into the scalp. PRP contains growth factors which can assist in certain types of hair loss. 

Dr. McKay discusses treatment plans in depth with each patient and believes that setting appropriate expectations from the start is vital because each treatment journey is unique.

“Hair is a very personal and important aspect of our self-image and self-esteem,” McKay said. “The importance of our hair may not be obvious until we start to lose it. My intent is to listen to patients’ concerns so that they can be addressed thoroughly.” 

To learn more about Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology’s hair restoration services, visit

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