Alopecia or hair loss occurs for many reasons, depending on what type of alopecia a person has. Typical age-related or hormonal hair loss is much different than when it is caused from an autoimmune disorder. Since the causes of hair loss are different, hair loss treatments vary as well. Understanding the different types of alopecia is the first step in determining the right treatment to regain hair.
In alopecia areata, an autoimmune response is triggered that attacks the hair follicles. While the exact cause of this reaction is unknown, the hair follicle remains healthy, but unable to produce hair due to the disruption from the immune system. There are three varieties of this type of alopecia:
- These are smooth, round patches of missing hair and the most common variety.
- This is total loss of hair on the scalp.
- Total hair loss all over the body and scalp.
For most people with hair loss, it is classified under androgenic alopecia. This covers both male and female pattern baldness. This is a change in the hormone testosterone that shrinks the hair follicle – the disease is hereditary.
This type of hair loss is caused by hair follicles becoming replaced by scar tissue. This can happen through an inflammation response or due to a secondary cause like a burn or infection.
In traction alopecia, the cause of the hair loss is from excessive stress on the hair follicles. Excess chemicals, braiding or other manipulations damage the scalp, causing the hair loss.
If you have hair loss, your dermatologist can help determine what type you have and devise the best treatment. Since the causes vary, so do the treatments, making it advisable to seek medical help.
Posted on behalf of:
Medical Dermatology Specialists
5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite T-100
Atlanta GA 30328