When you hear the word alopeica, you automatically imagine an entirely bald person. While that is one type of hair loss, alopecia in reality is a lot more diverse than what the media commonly discusses. The spectrum and degree of hair loss in alopecia varies from one type to another, from one underlying cause to another, and so do the treatments.
The different types of alopecia and their causes
1– Androgenic Alopecia
Androgneic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss. The cause behind the notorious male pattern baldness, does not discriminate between the sexes. Affecting both men and women of varying ages, the mechanism of of androgenic alopecia is a standard.
Hair loss happens because the follicular units can sometimes become hypersensitive to male hormones. In this situation, the follicular units can react to the stimulation of male hormones by gradually shrinking over the years until their inevitable closing.
In women the underlying cause of female pattern baldness is caused by PCOS, birth control with a high androgenic index, pregnancy, or menopause. If this is your situation your doctor will prescribe you anti-androgen pills combined with hair growth stimulants that should combat this problem and generate hair growth.
In men, the issue is far more complex due to the higher levels of androgen in their system, hair loss covers more areas.
The reason behind the famous male pattern baldness is mosaic sensitivity of follicular units to androgens (male hormones). The hair line and the crown area tend constitute of follicular units that are sensitive to male androgens. On the other hand, follicular units on the back of the hair and sides usually are more resistant to androgens and remain intact.
The causes are hereditary, however that does not translate to bald forever. There are many solutions that men can consider, both surgical and non surgical. Non surgical solutions consitute: Minoxidil, finasteride, and PRP therapy. However, these treatments are a commitment and need to be taken daily. If you are looking for one permanent solution, then your only choice is hair transplantation.
– Alopecia Areata
This type of hair loss results from an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmunity refers to the peculiar phenomenon where the body’s own defense systems attacks its own cells. Sometimes, the victims of this occurence are follicular units. The continual attack on the hair from the immune system leads to breakage and shrinking of the units.
The underlying cause can be any of the following: thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The treatment of this category of hair loss, begins by tackling the root of the problem.
– Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis
Alopecia totalis refers to total hair loss in the scalp. This can be a type of andorgenic alopecia, where the entire hair is sensitive to androgens. Identically, alopecia areata can be a cause of this type of hair loss, where the body attacks all the follicular units on the scalp, resulting in full baldness.
Alopecia universalis, on the other hand, refers to hair loss all over the body. This is linked to alopecia areata, where the immune system fights not just scalp hair, but body hair as well.
To restore hair loss in this situation, review the treatment methods for both androgenic alopeica and Alopecia Areats.
– Traumatic Alopecia
Known among the public as scarring hair loss. This category of hair loss refers to hair loss that is due to skin trauma. Depending on the degree of the injury and its depth, the accident can stop hair growth in the area affected.
If the damage was deep enough, the follicular units in the area can be damaged beyond repair. The only effective and successful treatment for this class of hair loss is hair transplant.
5– Traction Alopecia
This type of hair loss includes hair loss incidents due to styling or products. At times, and as a result of repeated habits, hair loss can be permanent. In general cases however, it can be reversed. To treat permanent traction alopecia, you should consider hair transplant as other solutions might not be effective.
Comparatively, if the hair loss is temporary, then you can restore the lost hairs by taking care of your hair and abstaining from harmful habits.