Types of Hair Loss
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There are many different types of hair loss that can be caused by numerous conditions.
In order to cure a hair loss problem, it’s necessary to make the correct diagnosis. This is why a careful and detailed consultation and scalp examination is necessary.
The main types of Alopecia are:
• Involutional Alopecia, a natural condition that occurs with age where the hair follicle gradually thins. More hair follicles go into the resting phase, and the remaining hairs become shorter, thinner and fewer in number.
• Androgenic Alopecia, or Male-Pattern Baldness, occurs in the typical balding pattern and is caused by the conversion of testosterone to DHT which attacks and shrinks the follicle.
• Diffuse Patterned Alopecia (DPA) and Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA): Diffuse Patterned Alopecia is an androgenic type of Alopecia characterised by diffuse thinning in the front, top, and vertex of the scalp in conjunction with a stable permanent zone. Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia is also androgenic, but lacks a stable permanent zone.
• Female-Pattern Baldness (FPB) or Female-Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is a common form of balding in females. FPB can occur in about 40% of menopausal women (Ludwig Classification).
• Telogen Effluvium (TE) and Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE) occurs as a result of dietary deficiencies, crash diets, high-grade fevers, anaemia, blood loss, hormonal imbalances and pregnancy, etc. It is a form of non-scarring Alopecia characterised by an acute and generalised loss of hair. In most cases, TE recovers spontaneously within six months, though if it persists for longer than that, it is known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE), which is more difficult to treat and may lead to permanent hair loss.
• Alopecia Areata often starts suddenly and causes patchy hair loss in children and young adults. This condition may result in complete baldness (Alopecia Totalis). But in about 90% of people with this condition, the hair returns within a few years. It is an auto-immune disease and is often stress-related.
• Alopecia Universalis causes all body hair to fall out, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
• Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out his or her own hair, usually causing permanent loss.
• Telogen Effluvium is temporary hair thinning over the scalp that occurs because of changes in the growth cycle of hair. A large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing hair shedding and subsequent thinning.
• Traction Alopecia is a result of hairstyles that tie or pull the hair so tightly that the hair roots are pulled from the scalp. It is common in Afro-Caribbean women and if the traction occurs for a long period of time the damage to the follicles is permanent.
• Scarring Alopecia is caused by any inflammatory process (burns, bacterial infections, ringworm, injury, auto-immune diseases) which may cause permanent damage to the hair follicle. It is also known as Cicatricial Alopecia. Pseudopelade Bronque, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus and Lichen Planopilaris are possible causes of Cicatricial Alopecia.
• Chemotherapy. Hair loss occurs as a result of cancer treatment which targets both cancerous and healthy cells. This type of hair loss resembles Anagen Effluvium-type Alopecia and in some cases, when the chemotherapy finishes, either all of some of the hair may grow back.
• Congenital Hypotrichosis. Describes conditions that affect individuals from birth where there was never any hair growth. The main causes are defects in embryonic development or genetic factors. Some forms of Hypotrichosis are considered to be Triangular Alopecia (for unknown reasons, the individual has a triangular bald patch above the temples from birth), Congenital Aplasia, Congenital Atrichia, and so on.