Alopecia Hair Loss in Men, Women and Children
Alopecia or Alopecia hair loss is the term for loss of hair on the scalp or the body. It may indicate male or female pattern baldness, which results in general hair loss or thinning. It can be baldness spreading over the scalp or patches of balding. Alopecia can occur in men, women, or kids.
Thirty-five million men, twenty-one million women, and two million kids suffer with alopecia in the United States alone. Alopecia could be present as complete baldness, patches of baldness or overall hair thinning. There are numerous causes and types of Alopecia hair loss.
There are hair loss treatments and medications used to treat this condition, and procedures designed to regrow hair in the balding area. Shampoos, cover up sprays, wigs, vitamins, and herbal remedies are also alocpecia hair loss options. Treatment depends upon many different variables, including the individual, type of hair loss, whether there is an underlying medical condition, and whether you want to cover up the hair loss or regrow the hair.
Types of Alopecia Hair Loss
The most common types of alopecia hair loss include Alopecia Areata, Scarring Alopecia, Alopecia totalis, Traction alopeci and Androgenic Alopecia.
Alopecia Areata is a condition that causes sudden balding in patches, which normally occurs on the scalp but can effect any body hair. Typically, this spot baldness is hereditary, but it is also seen in patients who are suffering from some underlying condition, such as autoimmune disease or undergoing high levels of stress. The hair lost can grow back, but often it takes months for this to happen.
Scarring Alopecia is a condition in which a fungus or bacteria has left scarring on the scalp. The scarred areas are bald, and in many cases, the hair does not grow back where the scarring has occurred.
Alopecia Totalis Baldness
Alopecia totalis is a condition where the alopecia spreads to the entire scalp, causing a full hair loss and complete balding. This can be a result of an autoimmune disorder or stress.
Traction Alopecia Causes
Traction alopecia is caused by a pulling of the hair, often by tight weaving, dreadlocks, braids or ponytails. The tension on the hair caused by these styling methods tugs at the hair, and in the case of weaves and dreadlocks, does not get removed for long periods of time. The hair loss often displays as a receding hairline or frontal hair loss. Because of this, hair loss in black women is commonly caused by Traction Alopecia and has become the most common cause of hair loss in African American women.
Androgenic Alopecia Hair Loss
Androgenic alopecia is the most common form of alopecia. Androgenic Alopecia is referred to as pattern baldness, and typically occurs because of the hormones in the body. It affects 50% of men by the time they reach 50 years of age, and 15% of women by the time they reach their menopausal years. The culprit of androgenic alopecia hair loss is most likely a hormone called DHT, a derivative of testosterone. DHT binds to the receptors in the follicle, causing the follicles to shrink and the hairs to fall out. Certain medications target and block these hormones, resulting in the cessation of hair loss.
Male and Female Pattern Baldness
When alopecia affects men, they will typically notice the receding hairline or crown hair loss initially. The condition affects the hairs at the front hair line first, which is what causes the ‘high forehead’ look. In some cases, it will affect the crown of the head first. The pattern of hair loss in men follow the Hamilton-Norwood Scale of hair loss.
In women, the condition typically thins the hair on the crown of the head first, presenting an overall thinning of the hair. A receding hairline in women in far less common, but it can occur. Usually, women suffering from the condition do not lose all of their hair, whereas many men do go completely bald. Male or female pattern baldness is usually a genetic condition.
Diagnosing Alopecia Hair Loss
Alopecia isn’t a physically harmful condition, but in some cases, an underlying condition causes the alopecia. Therefore, a hair loss specialist doctor will want to rule out the possibility of any serious health concerns like thyroid disorder or lupus. This can be done through blood testing. Certain hairs will be examined under a microscope to determine the stage and health of the hair. Pull tests are done, to see how many hairs are lost while gently tugging on a strand of hair. Family history will also be examined to determine cases of alopecia in close family members.
Alopecia Hair Loss Treatments
There are numerous types of treatments available to individuals suffering from alopecia. Two of the most common medications are Rogaine and Propecia. These are used as a topical and an oral treatment and results are typically noticed within a few months. However, some studies suggest that Propecia for hair loss is significantly more effective than Rogaine. But, Propecia is designed for male hair loss only, whereas Rogaine offers Rogaine for women, with a lower concentration of Minoxidil, the main ingredient. Certain other medications that block the damaging hormones can also be taken. Hair transplant is also an effective and permanent treatment for male and female pattern baldness.
Treatment is selected based on the individual’s specific type of hair loss, and any underlying causes. A doctor will discuss options with the individual, outlining the possibilities and discussing the costs of treatment. Often times, he or she will make a suggestion based on all the information in the patient’s file. Those with alopecia do not have to live with low self esteem; the treatments available open up many different options. For those who want to know how to make your hair grow faster naturally, there are many methods to treat Alopecia hair loss without medications.