According to the National Alopecia Foundation, 147 million people suffer from Alopecia worldwide, and many more with varying levels of hair loss. Hair loss can be as psychologically upsetting as it is physically, and it’s important to understand the cause of your Alopecia as early as possible, to know the options that are available to you. Here, we outline the five most common types of Alopecia.
The most common type of Alopecia
Androgenic Alopecia is the most common type of Alopecia and is the main reason for male-pattern baldness. However, it is a myth that Androgenic Alopecia only affects men – it can affect women, too. Although both sexes can be affected by Androgenic Alopecia, it affects them differently. In men, Androgenic Alopecia often strikes early, leading men to experience hair loss as soon as their early twenties. It leads to a U-shaped pattern around the back and sides of the head and leads to a receding hairline and thinning – eventually disappearing – hair from the crown and scalp.
Androgenic Alopecia, however, targets women slightly differently. Women experience hair thinning all over their scalp at a more gradual pace, and usually notice it more around age 40. The cause of Androgenic Alopecia may be as simple as having a gene that makes you more susceptible to hair loss, but for women, in particular, hair thinning and hair loss in this way can also be due to a variety of reasons, such as hormones, pregnancy and menopause. PCOS hair loss is also another reason for women to shed their hair quite dramatically.
Hair loss due to illness
Another common cause of Alopecia is Alopecia Areata, which is caused by illness. It presents as small, coin-sized patches of hair loss over any part of the head. Frequently this is an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s defence system attacks its own cells, which – in this case – is the growing hair cell. Someone with Alopecia Areata may be more likely to contract autoimmune diseases, but this is not always the case. It is still unknown what causes it, or why small patches of hair loss tend to occur, but in some cases, it can be caused by extreme stress. Oftentimes, it happens in several members of the family, which indicates a role of heredity hair genes.
When hair loss occurs all over the body
Alopecia Universalis – hair loss all over the body – is an extreme version of Alopecia Areata. Alopecia Universalis refers to hair loss all over the body, including the nasal cavity, eyes, scalp and limbs. Because of its severity, Alopecia Universalis may be caused by multiple factors; the sufferer may have been more genetically predisposed to the condition, which is then worsened by an environmental factor, such as stress, and then triggers the Alopecia. Body hair transplants can help those who have lost hair all over the body, but patients will need to be eligible.
For sufferers of Alopecia Universalis in particular, it’s very important to take extra healthcare measures. Hair is found all over the body in order to protect it from various elements, such as sun and bacterium, and is also a regulatory source for heating and cooling our own body. This means sufferers of Alopecia Universalis can’t benefit from the many uses of body hair, so need to take particular care to protect themselves from sunburn, not expose their bodies to extreme temperatures, and to try to keep clear of potentially harmful bacteria.
Hair loss caused by skin trauma
Traumatic Alopecia is what occurs when skin trauma occurs on the scalp. This can be caused by many factors, some can be accidental (such as if an injury happens that affects the sufferers’ scalp), some can be caused by hair treatments (such as excessive straightening and styling affecting the scalp), and some can be emotional or psychological (such as trichotillomania, a mental health issue that causes the sufferer to pull out their own hair). In some cases, hair may begin to regrow naturally, but if the skin is highly damaged, Traumatic Alopecia can sadly be naturally irreparable.
When tight hairstyles are to blame for hair loss
Alopecia can also be caused by hair being pulled taut in tight hairstyles for long periods of time, this is called Traction Alopecia. Repeated strain on the hair follicles can damage them, which can cause painful patches and weakened hair, ultimately leading to hair loss.
Although it may take time – luckily – natural hair regrowth in many cases of Traction Alopecia is possible, as it is entirely caused by external factors which can be changed. To halt and reverse Traction Alopecia, you should stop wearing tight and heavy hairstyles and change hairstyles regularly to allow the natural hair to move freely and try to stop using harsh chemicals and hair relaxers altogether.
In any case, it’s extremely important to know the cause of your hair loss, as – not only can certain causes signify other important things happening in the body – some types of Alopecia can be reversed naturally. Hair loss can be very emotionally distressing, and we would always recommend consulting a medical professional, as well as discussing your options with family and friends.
For more information about stimulating regrowth after hair loss or to find out if you are eligible for a hair transplant in Turkey, get in touch with the expert team here at Longevita. We can provide an initial consultation in the UK to discuss your options, free of charge.