The best way to determine the type of hair loss is to visit a dermatologist. A few basic tests, sometimes biopsy, initial diagnosis and the puzzle is solved. You are coming back home full of optimism.
But all joking aside – sometimes it is possible to easily recognize the kind of hair loss by yourself. For different types of hair loss, hair loss occurs at specific locations, for a certain degree and due to specific factors. Major types of hair loss (alopecia) are:
- androgenic alopecia,
- alopecia areata,
- cicatricial alopecia,
- telogen effluvium,
- anagen effluvium,
- alopecia totalis.
Androgenic alopecia is a common form of hair loss (which affected me) also known as male pattern baldness. Its main cause is an excessive secretion of androgens, more specifically – the hypersensitivity to the derivative of testosterone – DHT. DHT is produced as a result of overproduction of testosterone, which influences both the hair loss on the head along with their increased growth in other parts of the body. Androgenic alopecia usually follows a pattern of receding hairline that gradually moves backward. The next step is the hairline recession at the temples and crown balding.
The treatment of male pattern baldness include: minoxidil medication, creams and lotions application, supplementation, laser therapy and electromagnetic radiation. Some people decide on hair transplants, which is also an effective way to reverse the effects of this disease.
Alopecia areata is characterized by the presence of round or oval patches on the scalp. It can progress to total scalp hair loss. Although, some patients experience spontaneous regrowth. Alopecia areata is more common in children and young people. Albeit the pathogenesis is still unclear, scientists believe in the autoimmune background of this disease. In many cases alopecia areata is associated with genetic mutations. The treatment consists of minoxidil, corticosteroid or phototherapy.
Cicatricial alopecia occurs by the action of a specific external factor, viral or fungal infection. It can also be caused by congenital or developmental defects. Hair loss of this type is characterized by damage to the hair follicles - these places are replaced by scar tissue, followed by hair loss.
It is often caused by burns, frostbite, radiation, infection or injury. Luckily, cicatricial alopecia is irreversible. Treatment consists of performing skin transplant surgery or hair transplants.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is probably the second most common form of hair loss. In fact, you should put it differently: the hair does not fall out rather remain dormant or in other words sleeps and "does not go" over the surface of the skin (telogen phase lengthened the life cycle of the hair).
So far relatively little research has been carried out, which could explain why this is happening. However, we know for sure, that the TE occurs when the number is reduced of hair follicles on the head. The diffuse thinning of hair occurs, usually on the top of the head, less on the sides and back of the head. I do not usually appear hairline recession.
TE is completely reversible, but it usually takes more than 6 months. People suffering from this disorder never lose all hair, improvement and relief of symptoms usually occurs spontaneously. Probable causes of TE may be stress, vitamin deficiency or excess of vitamin A, chronic diseases, certain medications, skin diseases or hormonal disorders.
Alopecia anagen (AE): as in the case of telogen effluvium, the patient suffers with scattered, significant thinning hair. However, it is developing faster than cicatricial alopecia and may lead to loss of all hair. This type of hair loss occurs most often in people taking cytostatic drugs in cancer treatment, or after ingestion of toxic products. This type of substances inhibit cell proliferation. As the hair fiber grows from the follicle very it requires a large cell proliferation. Meanwhile cytostatic drugs stop rapid growth of the cells to prevent the development of cancer. In this case, hair loss is very fast - it is noted after 7-14 days. Total hair loss can occur after 2 months. Treatment consists of eliminating the factor causing alopecia.
Alopecia totalis: is a very rare disease, affecting 1% of the population. It still remains a big mystery for researchers and scientists. It is believed that it may occur due to an autoimmune disease, or be inherited. Alopecia totalis can appear in various forms - from the most intense, involving the lack of hair on the entire body (including eyebrows and eyelashes) to partial hairiness - permanent hair thinning. Mostly it is a congenital disease.