Understanding The Different Kinds of Alopecia
Alopecia can affect people at any age in both men and women, although it’s known to be more common among males.
An excessive loss of hair can be caused by many factors, and each has its own treatment plans that are advised. Learn about the 4 main types of alopecia: androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, sudden hair loss and traction alopecia as well as how to effectively tackle them.
- What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?
- What Is Alopecia Areata?
- Sudden Hair Loss
- Traction Alopecia
- How Does Elithair Help with Alopecia?
What is Androgenetic Alopecia?
This genetic cause of alopecia is also known as female or male pattern baldness. One of the most common causes of alopecia, hereditary alopecia, is slowly progressive, and the pattern of hair loss can be easily observed.
In this type of hair loss, the hair will thin along the top of the scalp, while alopecia hair loss in men is indicated by a receding hairline along with bald spots.
As it is inherited, it is important to be aware of any family history of male pattern balding to prepare for any treatments that may be needed in the future.
The male pattern baldness stages begin to develop after puberty and can continue long into adulthood, with up to 50% of men and women experiencing progressive hair loss at some point in their lives.
Androgenic alopecia cure:
- Medications: these include products like minoxidil, finasteride and dutasteride, which need to be used systematically to see results to combat male patterned baldness
- Laser Therapy: helps to promote hair growth at specific wavelengths in order to counter male-pattern baldness
- Hair Transplantation: it is the only permanent baldness cure for androgenetic alopecia.
- DHT Blocker: DHT blockers can help for those who are sensitive to the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It prevents the miniaturisation of hair follicles, which leads to hair loss.
What Is Alopecia Areata?
This type of hair loss is an autoimmune disease which causes unpredictable hair fall. White blood cells in the body attack hair follicles, causing them to decrease and halt hair production.
Symptoms of alopecia areata loss include patchy hair loss, which can happen very suddenly. The hair follicles can become inflamed, causing an itching or burning sensation, but this usually resolves on its own.
Studies have shown that alopecia causes can include genetics for those who have alopecia areata, with one in every five people who had the condition also having a family member who suffered from it.
Its prevalence can also be connected to other autoimmune disorders within the family, including thyroiditis, vitiligo, and lichen planopilaris.
Treating alopecia areata:
- Corticosteroids: anti-inflammatory medication which can suppress the white blood cells from attacking the hair follicles and provides an effective alopecia areata treatment
- Topical Alopecia Treatments: helps to regrow hair, but is unable to stop the creation of a new bald spot
- Hair Transplant: depending on the severity of the hair loss alopecia, a hair transplantation can provide effective and durable results as a treatment for alopecia areata
This is a more rare form of hair loss, where all the scalp hair is lost. The advanced variant most often presents between the ages of 15 and 30 often affecting those with other autoimmune conditions like diabetes or a hyperactive thyroid.
If this hair loss persists for over 2 years, it is less likely that their hair will grow back.
Treatment for this hair loss:
- Those that work for alopecia areata are not as effective here
- Pulse Steroid Therapy: has shown positive results as it causes an allergic reaction to promote hair growth.
Here, a complete loss of hair all over the body is experienced. This includes eyebrows, eyelashes, facial and body hair. The immune system disorder can begin as alopecia areata and develop further from there.
If the inflammation of the hair follicles persists for too long, it can result in scarring, which completely prevents any future hair growth.
Treatments for this hair loss:
- Those that work for alopecia areata are not as effective here, must be detected earlier for effective treatment
- Ultraviolet Light Therapy: can aid in hair growth by aiding blood circulation and activating hair follicles
Another type of autoimmune related alopecia hair loss is alopecia barbae. This specific form of hair loss impacts the beard.
You can lose hair in small round patches which can merge together to form larger patches of hair loss or lose all the hair on your face. A patchy beard which is not caused by alopecia barbae is a suitable candidate for a beard transplant.
Treatments for people with alopecia barbae:
- Immunotherapy with contact treatments can help to put off the immune system from attacking the hair follicles and to instead impact hair growth.
- A PRP treatment can help with promoting hair growth. It has been shown to provide promising results in the treatment of alopecia barbae.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA)
Another type of hair loss which is thought to be an autoimmune disease is frontal fibrosing alopecia. It usually begins as a receding hairline along the front and sides of the temples.
Symptoms can develop before observable hair loss such as an itchy or painful scalp, rash, raised bumps and a loss of hair on other parts of the body.
Treatments for people with frontal fibrosing alopecia:
- Finasteride: can help to prevent hair loss before it becomes too severe
- Corticosteroids: injections that help to reduce redness and aid in regrowth in the affected area
Sudden Hair Loss Explained
The first type of sudden hair loss is known as telogen effluvium. What causes hair loss here can include stress, a traumatic incident, nutrient deficiencies or following birth.
With this hair loss where there would often be a bulk of anagen or growth hairs on the scalp, the follicles are pushed into the telogen (resting) phase causing hair fall.
Hair begins to fall out frequently 2-4 months after the inciting event that caused the loss. The hair often grows back on its own, but some telogen effluvium treatments can be used to aid in hair growth:
- Topical Solutions: can help to bridge the gap between hair loss and regrowth
- Nutrient deficiencies: can be detected by seeking medical advice with a blood test
- Reducing stress: can help with producing hair if it is the cause.
The second type of sudden hair loss is known as anagen effluvium. This is most often seen in cancer patients who are receiving demanding treatments and lose their hair as one of the side effects of the medication.
The hair loss here happens much quicker and can cause a complete loss of hair.
The fallen hair can be separated from telogen effluvium, as the follicles here have a different root end that does not have a bulb of keratin attached to it.
- Topical Solutions: can help with hair regrowth
- Scalp Cooling: used during chemotherapy, it can help to reduce or prevent dramatic hair loss.
What Is Traction Alopecia?
Traction alopecia causes include tension in the hair, as seen with people who wear tight hairstyles and therefore is often a cause of hair loss in women.
As the hair is pulled or extended through repeated wearing of tight buns, dreadlocks, or hair extensions, it becomes loosened and more prone to falling out.
Traction alopecia treatment:
- Changing Hairstyle: can help to reverse this type of hair loss.
- Supplements including biotin: can help with hair health and growth
- Hair Transplant Surgery: may be necessary in severe cases to replace the lost hairs.
Another type of hair loss resulting from tight hairstyles is cicatricial hair loss. With this type of focal alopecia, the scarring results from inflammation prevents future hair growth in the affected areas.
There can be a warm feeling as a result of this along with itching. It can typically appear in people who have a history of wearing tight hairstyles.
- Oral or Topical Medications: can help, but it needs to be caught early on for them to be effective. Particularly before any long term damage is done with scarring alopecia.
- Hair Transplant: can help to cover bald patches as a result of cicatricial hair loss, but again needs to be caught early.
How Does Elithair Help with Alopecia?
At Elithair our specialists are on hand to provide a free consultation in order to see what the best treatment is for your specific hair loss.
By using the advanced Elit Skala Scale, we can determine the level of hair loss and suggest the optimal hair transplantation procedure.
At our clinic, you’ll experience the most cutting-edge techniques carried out by leading experts to achieve a result that you can enjoy for years to come.