Hair Disorders

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Duke’s dermatologists diagnose and treat hair disorders such as hair loss (alopecia), excessive hairiness (hirsutism), and abnormal hair growth (hypertrichosis). We understand that abnormal hair growth can be distressing and affect your self-confidence. We work closely with you to diagnose the cause of your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your medical needs, improves your condition, and helps you regain a positive self-image.

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About Hair Disorders

Many factors can contribute to hair disorders. Alopecia, or hair loss, may be caused by medical conditions such as lupus, thyroid disorder, protein or iron deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances. Hirsutism -- abnormal hair growth in women (such as a beard or chest hair) -- may be caused by ovarian, adrenal, thyroid, or pituitary conditions. Identifying the cause and treating the condition are our goals.

We work with people who have the most complicated cases of hair loss and hair overgrowth, as well as people who experience chemotherapy-related hair loss. Our experienced dermatologists are also dedicated researchers who continually test new therapies for hair disorders through our clinical trials.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Treatments for Hair Disorders

Our dermatologists strive to treat your condition in its early stages to achieve the best results. If your hair disorder is caused by an underlying medical condition, your doctor will collaborate with your primary care doctor or other Duke specialists to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Over-the-counter medication applied directly to the scalp promotes hair regrowth in women and men.


Applied to the skin or given as injections, corticosteroids suppress the body’s immune system. This treatment is used when hair loss is caused by systemic inflammation.


Oral medication treats hair loss in men by suppressing the body’s production of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to stimulate hair growth.

Oral or Topical Medications

Some medications can slow the body’s production of hair. Those that lower the level of hormones in the body, such as oral contraceptives, may reduce the rate of hair growth.

Laser Hair Removal

This treatment allows for permanent hair removal using light energy, which destroys hair follicles. The procedure minimizes damage to the surrounding skin and must be repeated several times.

Tests for Hair Disorders


Your doctor may diagnose your hair disorder by looking at your scalp and asking questions about your symptoms and medical history.

Blood Tests

Blood tests help determine if your hair disorder is caused by an underlying medical problem. The results may pinpoint the cause of your condition and help your dermatologist develop the most appropriate treatment strategy.

Microscopic Hair Examination

A few hairs are taken from the affected area and viewed under a microscope.

Scalp Biopsy

A small piece of skin is removed from the scalp and viewed under a microscope.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Why Choose Duke

Our skilled dermatologists are experienced and trained to treat patients with the full range of hair disorders. 

A Team of Specialists
Depending on the cause and type of your hair disorder, your dermatologist may collaborate with your primary care doctor or work with specialists across Duke Health. Our goal is to ensure you receive the most effective treatment for your hair disorder as well as any underlying medical problem that may be the cause.

This page was medically reviewed on 06/29/2022 by