If you have struggled to get your acne under control, it can be discouraging to learn that certain acne medications can cause other complications. Acne drugs can cause temporary or permanent hair loss, which can be just as frustrating, if not more so, as the acne itself. At the New England Center for Hair Restoration in Boston, MA, we offer surgical hair loss treatment for patients dealing with permanent hair loss from acne drugs.
Types of Drug-induced Hair Loss
There are two primary types of hair loss that can occur as a result of acne drugs and other medications. The severity of hair loss depends on a variety of factors, including medication dosages and an individual’s sensitivity to the drugs.
This is the most common form of hair loss related to certain medications. It can be more difficult to link this type of hair loss to a particular medication because it can take two to four months for hair loss to start after taking the drug. With this type of hair loss, the follicles go into telogen, or their resting state, too early and fall out. Normally, we shed between 100 and 150 hairs each day. People with Telogen effluvium lose 30 to 70 percent more than that.
This type of hair loss takes place during the anagen, or active growth period, of the hair cycle. It prevents the normal division and production of new hairs, resulting in hair loss. Anagen effluvium usually takes place within a couple days or weeks of taking a medication. It is most common with chemotherapy drugs, and affects hair on the head, face, and other parts of the body.
Hair Loss and Acne Drugs
Popular acne medications contain vitamin A, which is a necessary nutrient for healthy hair. Unfortunately, if these acne drugs are taken in conjunction with multi-vitamins or other supplements containing vitamin A, it can lead to toxicity. Vitamin A toxicity can lead to hair loss, in addition to skin discoloration and other complications.
Certain acne medications have also been found to cause permanent hair loss. This is because the medication damages the hair follicles. Unfortunately, when permanent hair loss occurs, the only solution is surgical hair loss treatment.
Treatment for Drug-induced Hair Loss
It is important to talk with your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking. This can help them determine if your hair loss is related to any of those medications. They can conduct a full evaluation to determine if your hair loss is temporary or permanent and offer different solutions based on those findings.
If your hair loss is deemed permanent, our doctors may recommend one of two surgical hair loss treatments: follicular unit extraction (FUE) or follicular unit transplant (FUT). They can review both of these procedures with you and determine which option can restore your hair.