Types of Hair Loss – Which One’s Affecting You?

Hair Loss DiagramIt’s extremely important to figure out the underlying cause of your hair loss before you try to treat it. For example, the treatment procedure for hair loss caused by an infection or some other illness is completely different from a hereditary condition. Some treatments like Procerin, work well for men, but not for women.

There are many cases where the condition is temporary, or just a part of the natural aging process.

Understanding why you’re losing your hair is the first step towards treatment.

Although hair loss by itself poses no real danger to us, some of us choose to treat it due to perceived social stigma, or for cosmetic purposes. Whatever your reason may be, the first step is still to determine the cause. Here are some of the most common types:

Involutional Alopecia

Involutional Alopecia is a condition that naturally occurs as we age. The hair gradually becomes thinner, shorter, and fewer in number as more and more hair follicles go into their resting phase.

The follicles on the surface of the skin produce hair cells known as keratin, and as we get older, keratin production declines. This is what leads to baldness. It usually doesn’t happen until the age of 40, but for some it can happen a lot sooner.

As the hair growth phase becomes shorter, the rate of fall-out becomes greater, and this inevitably leads to gradual thinning of the hair.

This is a completely normal process that happens as we age and medical science has yet to come up with a solid treatment method for this kind of gradual balding.

Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic Alopecia is a common genetic condition which causes hair loss in both men and women. When it occurs in men, it’s known as male pattern baldness, and it can start affecting men as early as their teen years. It’s usually identified by a receding hairline and often with gradual thinning around the frontal scalp and crown.

When women experience this condition, it’s called female pattern baldness. Unlike male pattern baldness, noticeable thinning usually doesn’t occur until early to late 40’s. The thinning also happens over the entire scalp region with most of the focus around the crown.

The treatment options can vary greatly depending on the case. It can range from simple topical medications and pills to hair transplant procedures. A thorough evaluation should always be conducted by a professional before undergoing any type of treatment, especially if the person is very young.

Patients under the age of 35 are usually recommended topical forms of treatment like Finasteride, Minoxidil (Rogaine), and laser combs such as the HairMax LaserComb.

Alopecia Areata

This type of hair loss usually occurs suddenly and can cause patchy hair in younger individuals. It ‘s an autoimmune disease where the person’s immune system turns against itself and attacks the hair follicles. This causes the person’s hair to begin falling out in large clumps.

The extent of Alopcia Areata varies quite a bit. In some cases, only a few spots are affected. However, there are cases where it is much more severe leading to Alopecia Totalis (complete baldness). The good news is that for most people with this condition, the hair seems to all come back within a few years.

There isn’t really a cure for this, but there are treatments which can help the hair grow back. Alopecia Areata is usually treated using drugs that are intended for other conditions including:

Alopecia areata cannot be cured; however, it can be treated and hair can grow back. In many cases, Alopecia Areata is treated with drugs that are used for other conditions. Treatment options for alopecia areata include corticosteroids, minoxidil, topical sensitizers, and medications designed to treat psoriasis.

Although it hasn’t been proven scientifically that Alopecia Areata is caused by stress, many people who experience this condition usually do so right after going through some kind of stressful situation like a death in the family, the loss of a job, a car accident, intense emotional distress, etc. Reducing stress in this case would help speed up your recovery.

Alopecia Universalis

People with Alopecia Universalis usually experience hair loss throughout the body. It can pretty much affect anywhere on your body where hair grows.

Many treatments including immunomodulatory agents (like Imiquimod) have been explored, but there is still no standard treatment for this condition.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, cortisone pills can be used to treat Alopecia Universalis but it’s seldom used because of the side effects associated with long term use and patience who see success with this treatment are required to continue using it in order to keep their hair.

This type of hair loss can be both short-lived or permanent. There is always the possibility of regrowing lost hair even if it’s 100% gone for more than a year. Having said that, it’s not really possible to determine when the regrowth will happen.

Trichotillomania

This is a psychological disorder where a person pulls out his/her own hair. It is most commonly observed among younger children.

This condition has been connected with obsessive compulsive disorder and is often categorized along with other “bad habits” like fingernail biting. The most common treatment methods for Trichotillomania include psychotherapy and antidepressant medications.