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by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM, July 14, 2020
Hair loss occurs differently from person to person. Some may experience gradual thinning, while some see clumps of fall out while they wash their hair. If you are suffering from this bothersome problem, then you might be on the lookout for a good solution. But before you do so, you first need to find out what type of hair loss you have – so you can get hold of the best treatments for your condition.
This is the most common form of hair loss. It is popularly known as male-pattern baldness, though it also occurs in women as female-pattern baldness.
In men, androgenetic alopecia starts above the temples. As the hair recedes, a characteristic known as “M” shape hair loss develops. The hair at the top of the head is also shed, which can lead to partial or full-on baldness.
In women, widespread hair thinning is often experienced. Compared to men, the female hairline does not recede. Despite its name, female-pattern baldness rarely leads to total baldness.
Androgenetic alopecia occurs due to the action of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a type of male hormone (androgen). It is converted by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase from the circulating testosterone hormone in the body.
DHT ends up miniaturizing the hair follicles, which can lead to the growth of thinner and shorter hair. It can also shorten the growth phase (anagen) of hair, so the new hairs that replace the old ones grow slower than usual.
Because of the nature of the disease, androgenetic alopecia medications and supplements are geared towards minimizing the action of DHT. Common treatments include:
Telogen effluvium is a type of reactive hair loss that commonly occurs after a certain life event. When this condition is triggered, hair enters a resting phase of 2 to 4 months right before shedding.
This disorder normally affects 30% of all hairs, which could lead to a hair fall of 300 strands instead of the usual 100. Due to the length of the resting phase, hair loss usually occurs 2 to 4 months after the causative event.
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The common complaint by people affected with telogen effluvium is hair thinning in certain areas.
Fortunately, this condition rarely leads to complete baldness as the fallen hairs are eventually replaced with new strands – albeit delayed.
As mentioned, telogen effluvium is usually caused by a stressful life event. Potential triggers may include any of the following:
Unfortunately, no treatment has been scientifically proven to treat telogen effluvium. Experts can only recommend addressing the life event that may have caused the condition. For example, if your hair loss is caused by stress, your physician may recommend you to perform deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc.
Alopecia areata is a type of auto-immune disorder. It usually develops during childhood and teenage years.
Alopecia areata leads to hair loss in small clumps. This may lead to some bald spots, with affected individuals seeing more hairs on their pillows, hairbrushes, or shower drains.
Rare forms of this condition include alopecia areata totalis, where complete head hair loss takes place. Another form is alopecia areata universalis, which affects the hairs of the entire body.
In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the follicles. This leads to hair loss, with the degree of shedding varying from person to person.
Like telogen effluvium, stress may contribute to the development of alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata has a genetic component. As such, a parent may pass the condition to his/her children.
There is no established cure for alopecia areata. Hair regrowth may happen, but it can vary from person to person. Some may have their hair back after 12 months, while some may experience strands falling out again a little while later.
In some cases, your dermatologist may prescribe the following medications:
Traction is a hair loss condition that commonly occurs in people who pull their hair tightly back. This problem was first identified in the 1900s by Greenland physicians who treated women who wore tight ponytails.
Traction alopecia initially manifests as pimple-like bumps on the scalp. This can then progress to hair loss in the front and side areas of the scalp. In some cases, hair thinning may also affect the other parts of the head.
Apart from hair loss, traction alopecia may also lead to the following symptoms:
Traction alopecia is often brought about by the following hairstyles:
Traction alopecia may also be triggered by the consistent application of heat or certain chemicals.
Since traction alopecia is caused by wearing your hair too tight, the primary treatment is of course to change your hairstyle. Good practices include:
Should you develop more problems, your physician may prescribe antibiotics for the blistering or steroids for the inflammation. You may also need to use Minoxidil for hair regrowth and/or biotin supplements to strengthen your strands.
Compared to other hair conditions, traction alopecia may be completely reversed with the right hairstyle and treatment.
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