With several contributing hair loss causes and limited research readily available, making sense of hair loss can be confusing.
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Any form of hair loss is considered alopecia.
With the exception of androgenic alopecia, most hair loss conditions affect a relatively small percentage of people.
Androgenic (Androgenetic) Alopecia A genetically determined disorder that is the most common form of hair loss in both men and women. It is often referred to as male or female pattern baldness. The actual pattern of hair loss affects men and women differently.
Alopecia Areata (Marginal Alopecia)
An autoimmune skin condition where hair follicles are mistakenly attacked in groups by a person's own immune system (white blood cells), disrupting the hair growth stage. The affected follicles eventually stop growing visible hair above the scalp’s surface. Alopecia areata is sometimes associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Alopecia areata sometimes occurs in multiple family members, suggesting a role of genes and heredity .
Totalis A form of alopecia areata that causes the complete loss of all scalp hair .
Alopecia Universalis The most severe form of alopecia areata that causes the complete loss of all scalp and body hair .
Ophiasis A form of alopecia areata in which hair loss occurs in a wave-like pattern encircling the head .
A hair loss condition caused by damage to the papilla and hair follicle from constant pulling or tension over a long period of time. It often occurs as a result of wearing too tight hairstyles like ponytails or braids—especially “cornrows”—that lead to high tension, pulling and breakage of the hair. It can also result from cosmetic procedures that create hair tension, such as facelifts.
Alopecia A form of traction alopecia in which hair loss occurs at the crown . It commonly occurs when hair is styled in a tight bun over long periods of time . Ballet dancers or anyone who regularly wears their hair in this style may be at risk.
Trichotillomania A disorder in which a person compulsively pulls out their own hair , resulting in noticeable hair loss .
Hypotrichosis A condition in which there is no hair growth . Unlike alopecia, which describes hair loss where there was formerly hair growth, people with hypotrichosis are affected since birth and never grow any hair.
Effluvium Hair shedding and thinning that usually occurs as the result of exposure to chemicals or toxins (such as cancer treatment like chemotherapy or radiation) during anagen, the growth phase of the hair lifecycle.
Effluvium Hair shedding and thinning caused by follicles prematurely pushed into the resting stage of growth, or the telogen phase, by stress or illness.
Alopecia Also called scarring alopecia, it refers to a group of rare disorders that destroy hair follicles, replacing them with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss .
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia CCCA can occur naturally or result from tight hairstyles or chemical burns from perms and relaxers. It is becoming more common, especially in African American women.
Planopilaris A type of scarring hair loss that occurs from a skin disease known as lichen planus, which affects areas of the skin with hair. It can cause redness, irritation, and in some cases, permanent hair loss .
A bacterial infection in the hair follicles that causes a pustule or inflammatory nodules surrounding the hair. It can occur below or above the scalp’s surface. Although it’s quite common and treatable, severe cases can cause hair loss and scarring.
Trichorrhexis Nodosa A defect in hair fibers characterized by fraying and swelling nodes along the hair shaft that cause the hair to break off easily.
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