What are the main forms of alopecia (hair loss)?

Posted on: 10 February 2014 by 50connect editorial

Hair loss and baldness, known as alopecia, can be very worrying if you do not understand the natural causes of hair thinning. Here we look at the main causes.

hair loss

The moment people start to notice that their thick luscious locks are starting to lose their lustre and vigour, panic invariably sets in. This is a natural initial reaction, though, and in our experience most of this is caused by a fear of the unknown. They don’t know why this is happening to them and this is one case where ignorance really does not equate bliss. When alopecia becomes noticeable the unsettling effects it can have on someone’s self-confidence are generally profound. As hair loss is often seen to be the barometer of the ageing process, thoughts can turn maudlin rapidly.

However, it is important to remember that this it is very likely that your hair will be thinning or disappearing for perfectly normal reasons. Indeed, it may actually grow back again. Knowing that there is no sinister reason behind this bodily change can prove to be enormously comforting because you then know how to tackle it. To find this out we would of course recommend that you contact your GP the moment you notice changes are afoot. Here is a list of the most common forms of alopecia:

Androgenic alopecia

More often known as male pattern baldness (although this can occur in women), this is the most common form of alopecia. If this is occurring then your hairline will be retreating whilst getting thinner on the top of your head. When this occurs on women then the hairline doesn’t really retreat, rather the hair gets significantly thinner on top of the scalp. For men this is a hereditary condition.

Alopecia areata

If you have ever seen anyone with a sudden bald spot on them, then they probably have this. It’s caused by the immune system damaging hair follicles and although it can be quick and dramatic the good news is that the follicles usually grow back and that hair loss is concentrated on a small area. It’s entirely painless.

Scarring alopecia

Technically known as cicatricial alopecia, this occurs when very specific disorders totally destroy follicles. Scar tissue takes there place and hair will never grow back. Sometimes this process can be physically painful.  

Anagen effluvium

If you are undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments then this may well be an issue. The drugs used for this can leave you with anything from patchy to total hair loss. The good news is that once treatment stops then hair will usually grow back.

Telogen effluvium

Across the scalp the hair will lose its thickness and in general become rather thin. This is quite common when someone has been in a particularly stressful situation or their body has undergone some sudden changes. This will usually last for half a year or so.

Alopecia UK is a fantastic organisation that provides information, advice and support for people with alopecia. If you want to speak to someone about it then do ring them.

This article was produced by the team at KeraFiber; established makers of hair thickening fibre.

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