November 1, 2018
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Hair loss is a common complaint for both male and female patients, who often first present to their family physician for evaluation. However, the vast array of underlying etiologies can present a diagnostic challenge for physicians. Reviewing the main principles of hair biology will help provide a better understanding of the basic science behind hair loss. One of the most important steps in patient evaluation is conducting a thorough history and physical exam. This article will discuss key questions to ask, as well as how to interpret exam findings. In general, hair loss is categorized into scarring alopecia, non-scarring alopecia, and structural hair disorders. This article will focus on the most common causes of scarring and non-scarring alopecia that will be encountered in a primary care setting, as well as first-line treatments for each.