When you’re young, hair multiplies and quickly becomes long. As you age, your hair doesn’t regenerate as quickly. And for some of us, it gets even harder when we realize that we’re facing hair loss and not just slow growth. Hair loss happens to be a universal problem. And while it is common, the causes and types of hair loss are quite different.
TYPES OF HAIR LOSS
Androgenetic alopecia is frequently associated with heredity. This type of hair loss is triggered by the hormone Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. If there’s a lot of DHT present in the scalp, hair growth is reduced. A person dealing with this type of hair loss has no fewer follicles than a person with complete hair growth, but the growth phase of the hair is significantly reduced.
Consequence: the follicles become poorer, which is attributed to hypersensitivity of DHT. The growth phase (anagen phase), is maintained under normal conditions for a period of 2 to 5 years. In the case of a hair loss caused by heredity, hair can no longer develop and just becomes a haze that is visible.
Involutional Alopecia or Alopecia of Aging
This is not caused by a disease or genetics. It is usually related to the general aging of the skin. It is genetically conditioned, and occurs at an unpredictable time. It is not related to hormonal disorders.
This is the opposite of pattern baldness because it’s patchy. Alopecia areata is marked by smooth and bald patches anywhere on the scalp. The bald patches are usually circular. It begins with one or two spots that multiply on other parts of the head. The condition is caused by an autoimmune disease where the antibodies mistake the hair as the “enemy” and start attacking it, resulting in hair loss.
There are several forms of alopecia areata:
This is a pretty severe form of alopecia areata and also caused by an autoimmune disorder. It is marked by the loss of an entire head-full of hair (alopecia totalis) or hair loss on the whole body (alopecia universalis).
This condition causes the hair to no longer actively grow despite being in the growing stage (anagen). The hair becomes quite brittle, causing it to break away with minimal effort. Instead of shedding at the root, hairs impacted by anagen effluvium will break off at the hair shaft itself.
The term “cicatricial alopecia” refers to a diverse group of rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle, replace it with scar tissue, and cause permanent hair loss. The hair loss may slowly progress over many years without symptoms. The inflammation that rescinds the follicle is below the skin surface, and there is usually no scarring seen on the scalp. The affected areas of the scalp may show redness, increased or decreased pigmentation, pustules or draining sinuses.
Cicatricial alopecias are classified as primary or secondary. In primary cicatricial alopecias, the hair follicle is the target of the destructive inflammatory process. In secondary cicatricial alopecias, destruction of the hair follicle is incidental to a non-follicle-directed process or external injuries such as severe infections, burns, radiation or tumors.
Hypotrichosis is a disorder where a person has a small amount of hair on the head and body. The condition can be congenital (from birth; caused by genetics). Affected individuals typically experience normal hair growth at birth, but experience hair loss and thinning of the hair shaft that starts during early childhood and progresses with age.
Scalp folliculitis hair loss is regularly caused by an infection of the scalp, accompanied by itching or soreness. The bulb of the hair strand becomes inflamed due to certain persisting skin factors like dry skin or when there is friction between the hair and clothes on a specific area of the body. Folliculitis is often temporary but more severe cases can be challenging to treat and can cause damage to hair and scalp that leave bald patches.
This is a form of temporary hair loss that frequently occurs after a shock, stress or a traumatic event. It usually happens on the top of the scalp. Large amounts of a person’s hair might fall out, but it is often temporary and the hair usually grows back. Telogen effluvium is generally reversible.
Traction alopecia is hair loss that’s caused by repeatedly pulling your hair. This condition often occurs when you usually wear your hair in a tight ponytail, bun, or braids most especially if you use heat or chemicals on your hair. The disorder is common in patients of African descent as a result of hair texture and hair styling practices. It can occur in other ethnic groups. The hair loss can be eradicated if you stop pulling your hair or may be permanent if you don’t intervene soon enough.
Trichorrhexis nodosa is a response to physical or chemical trauma. This is a common hair problem in which thickened or weak points (nodes) along the hair shaft cause your hair to break off easily. It’s usually triggered by things such as blow drying, over brushing, perming or excessive chemical use. In some cases, it is caused by an underlying disorder related to thyroid problems, the buildup of ammonia in the body and iron deficiency.
This is an impulse control disorder that drives individuals to compulsively pull out their hair between their fingers when they watch TV, read, concentrate and also when stressed or worried, not realizing the damage they’re causing. This often leads to noticeable hair loss.
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