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Types of Alopecia

ALOPECIA AREATA

It is a type of alopecia which causes are still unknown. It usually appears as round spots on the scalp, although it can also extend to other areas. It is a kind of hair loss related to stress situations. It affects both men and women of any age. One every one thousand people suffer from this type of alopecia. In some cases, it can lead to a complete absence of hair but in most cases, the hair grows back, even though it is true that relapses are rather frequent for patients that already suffered this type of alopecia.

There is no treatment to revert this situation. The only option is a hair micro-transplant.

This type of alopecia is harder on men than it is on women, since it only appears above both temples, making the hair look lighter in some areas, but with no absolute lack of hair (except for rare occasions), as it happens to men.

ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA

Androgenetic

Also known as androgenic alopecia, premature alopecia or regular baldness. 90% of alopecia/baldness types fall into this category. It is hereditary and affects men mostly, although women can suffer from it as well. Its initial presentation most commonly occurs in the late teenage years, early childhood, or young adulthood, but can happen with people of all ages. The causes of this alopecia is a miniaturization of the pilosebaceous follicles in some parts of the scalp, the hair gets thinner and thinner and eventually disappears. It is caused by genetic and androgenic factors (it requires androgenic factors to manifest).

DIFFUSE ALOPECIA (CHRONIC TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM)

It is the acute and progressive hair loss resulting from chronic illnesses, fever, emotional stress, childbirth, etc. The hair tends to fall out rather easily when pulled. This does not result in total baldness but in very little, straight hair that goes back several months in time, before the falling started.

We can find 3 main causes:

  • Endocrine causes

Hyperthyroidism and, above all, hypothyroidism – among other endocrine disorders – can cause diffuse hair loss.

  • Related to medicines

There are certain drugs or medicines (anticoagulants, psychiatric medicines, birth-control pills, chemotherapy drugs, etc.) that may make the hair become thinner and weaker and eventually cause hair loss.

  • Metabolic and nutritional causes

Malnutrition is one of the main causes of diffuse alopecia because it makes the hair go dry, fragile and very thin. Hair roots become very fragile and black hair may acquire a coppery hue. Anorexia can also cause the weakening and thinning of the hair due to the malnutrition associated with this disease, as well as iron and zinc deficiencies.

SEBORRHEIC ALOPECIA

Universal alopecia

The sebaceous gland is in charge of producing the grease (or fat) which, along with the water from the sweat glands, creates the layer of skin that covers and protects the scalp.

Sometimes these glands increase their production above the normal levels, which generates an excess of fat that translates into matted, greasy looking hair, with no strength or volume.

In extreme cases, this fat excess can cause irritation and itching on the skin of the scalp, plus dandruff and hair loss issues.

The main causes are:

  • Organic
  • Hormonal
  • Related to stress and anxiety
  • Related to diets that are very rich on animal fat or based on extremely spicy food
  • Related to the use of hair products (shampoos, conditioners…) that are too aggressive and may harm the hair

CICATRICIAL ALOPECIA

Unfortunately, this type of alopecia is usually irreversible in most cases. It is caused by a malformation or total rupture of the follicle structure and there is no treatment today that can be applied on hair with inert follicles. In case there are undamaged areas, hair transplant can be an option.

Cicatricial alopecia can be classified in several groups:

  • Infectious alopecia
  • Alopecia caused by physical and chemical agents
  • Tumoral alopecia
  • Alopecia caused by dermatosis
  • Alopecia caused by hereditary illnesses
  • Alopecia caused by clinical decalvans syndromes

UNIVERSAL ALOPECIA

What are the causes of hair loss?

There are different causes or reasons that may lead to hair loss or universal alopecia.

The most common causes are the following:

  • Genetic causes
  • Hormonal problems
  • Medical treatments and/or drugs
  • Emotional stress
  • Inappropriate diet
  • Skin conditions located on the scalp
  • Bad habits

First of all, the smartest thing to do would be to see a specialist to treat your case, to make a diagnosis and once the cause of your alopecia is determined, the specialist will recommend the most appropriate treatment for you.

Alopecia is classified in several groups, according to its nature.

These are the main groups:

  • Alopecia Areata
  • Androgenetic Alopecia
  • Diffuse Alopecia (chronic telogen effluvium)
  • Seborrheic Alopecia
  • Cicatricial Alopecia