What are the common hair loss conditions?
Let’s get more scientific. According to American Family Physicians, hair loss may occur in different ages, spiked by different causes. What you see as a pattern of hair fall tells a lot about your type of hair loss and its causes. It goes without saying that the treatment you receive also relies on this.
The two main categories of alopecia are diffuse and focal. Each is categorized into different conditions in turn:
1. Female pattern hair loss
AFP lists hair thinning as a characteristic of this type of alopecia. However, the hairline in the front remains intact and there is a negative pull test away from areas with hair loss. Wondering what’s pull test? Scroll down to How to diagnose hair fall.
2. Male pattern hair loss
This is characterized by thinning of the hair, M-shaped hairline around the forehead, and a negative pull test away from the areas struck with hair loss.
3. Diffuse alopecia areata
In this condition, there is a patchy distribution of baldness and a positive pull test.
4. Alopecia totalis or universalis
As the name suggests, this case is characterized by a total loss of hair on the scalp and the body. Unfortunately, less than 10% of patients recover from this type of hair loss.
5. Telogen effluvium
The condition is caused by a precipitating factor that causes a large number of hairs to enter the resting phase of hair growth (telogen). Three months after the initial effect, around 30 to 50 percent of the hair starts falling and the hair responds positively to the pull test.
Telogen effluvium can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, iron deficiency, anemia, severe illness, drugs, injury, surgery, crash diets, anxiety, and infection. Even so, in one third of cases, the causes of hair loss remain unrevealed.
6. Anagen effluvium
According to AFP, the condition occurs two weeks after chemotherapy, when 90% of the hair falls.
In this condition, the hair which is in the growing phase of hair cycle, called anagen, stops growing.
1. Alopecia areata
In this type of hair loss, the scalp appears normal. However, the hair takes an exclamation point shape.
This means a thinned proximal shaft is extracted from a club shaped root, but is extended to its normal caliber on the distal shaft.
The condition can happen in both men and women.
Many patients experience it before turning 20, meaning it occurs mostly among children and young adults. While there is a percentage of historical background as for the cause of the condition, it usually occurs in individuals with some form of autoimmune disease.
2. Tinea capitis
If potassium examination of the scalp reveals fungus with a scaly scalp, then chances are your condition can be categorized as a focal nonscarring case called tinea capitis. A round patch of hair loss, “often with scaling, erythema, and lymphadenopathy”, is symptomatic of this condition.
Tinea capitis often occurs among children, and according to AAFP, it is usually caused by microsporum species.
3. Traction alopecia
This condition is manifested by patchy hair loss, usually caused by beauty procedures and hair practices. There might also be some kind of scarring in the area of hair loss.
The culprits in this type of hair loss are stressors from the outside that can cause traction and pressure on hair follicle. For example, individuals who use curling rollers, wear wigs, style their hair with tight braids, or frequently use processes like bleaching and coloring are usually at risk.
It often occurs in the frontotemporal area of the head and is diminished when the stressor is eliminated.
Patchy hair loss with the possibility of some scarring is visible in this case. The condition may also cause psychological disturbance.
Trichotillomania often occurs as a result of habitual hair plucking among children, but may also continue to adulthood. Usually, as a result of constant plucking, the hair gets twisted or broken.
- In this atrophy of the scalp, some signs of scarring are visible. As a result of autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, the hair follicles get damaged and cause permanent hair loss.