Identifying & Treating the Different Types of Alopecia
What exactly is alopecia? The short answer: It’s the medical term we use to describe hair loss.
But it’s more than that.
To begin with, there are different types of alopecia that affect people in different ways. What causes alopecia also depends on the type of hair loss you have.
Then there’s alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder) and traction alopecia (commonly caused by tight hairdos).
Let’s dive into the world of alopecia, looking at the most common types of hair loss, their symptoms, and possible treatment options. Ready?
This is the main cause of hair loss for both men and women. Also called male and female pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is a common hereditary condition that affects about 80% of men and 50% of women.
Androgenetic alopecia (or androgenic alopecia) is a natural phenomenon caused by genetics and triggered by aging. It typically only impacts hair at the crown or the hairline — not always on the back and sides of the head.
The Symptoms of Androgenetic Alopecia
- Thinning hair on your crown
- Receding hairline
- Overall thinning hair
- A widening part
Treating Androgenetic Alopecia
There’s no cure for androgenetic alopecia. But you can stop it from getting worse — and even reverse the hair loss you’ve experienced.
Topical treatments and prescription medications are available, including but not limited to Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, and Spironolactone. Many people also try low level laser therapy (LLLT), which is designed to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and promote hair growth.
The Hairy Pill® provides a great option to treat androgenetic alopecia! It’s a personalised hair growth solution to treat men’s hair loss and women’s hair loss, made specifically for you and delivered directly to your door.
The Hairy Pill® is just one pill, taken daily, containing everything your body needs and can stop hair loss in its tracks and promote regrowth.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes your hair to fall out in patches — not always just from your scalp, sometimes anywhere on your body.
Alopecia areata occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. It may have a genetic risk factor.
Although it can affect all ages and genders, it’s commonly found in teenagers and young adults.
More advanced forms of alopecia areata are alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.
This is when you lose all the hair on your head, resulting in complete baldness up top. Alopecia totalis affects both genders and can happen all of a sudden or slowly.
Alopecia Universalis is a very rare, very advanced form of alopecia areata that results in total hair loss over the entire body, including eyebrows and eyelashes. It affects both genders, usually later in life.
The Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
- Unpredictable hair loss
- Patchy bald spots — usually on the scalp but it can also affect the eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair elsewhere on the body. Tends to present in small 20c or 50c sized patches of hair loss.
Treating Alopecia Areata
The good news? This type of alopecia often results in a period of hair loss followed by a period of regrowth (though relapses can occur).
It’s trickier to treat alopecia areata once it reaches the alopecia totalis stage, at which point it’s unlikely to resolve on its own. Fortunately, there are still intervention treatments.
Common treatments for alopecia areata include oral immunosuppressants, topical corticosteroids, and corticosteroid injections.
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by too much stress and tension on the hair follicles. It normally happens when your hair is pulled back so tightly and for so long that it yanks out the hair at the roots and injures the hair follicles.
Hairstyles that can cause traction alopecia include:
- Snatched or tight ponytails
- Hair extensions
The Symptoms of Traction Alopecia
- A receding hairline
- Patchy hair loss around the temples
Treating Traction Alopecia
An easy way to treat traction alopecia is to let your hair down — literally! Switching up the hairstyles to give your follicles a little time to heal can go a long way to growing back your hair.
Common treatments for traction alopecia include topical applications, such as antibiotics and corticosteroids, to soothe scalp tenderness and inflammation.
If you’d like to promote the hair regrowth process, The Hairy Pill® can help restore balance to your hair growth cycle, with personalised treatment available to help with both men’s hair loss and women’s hair loss.
It’s always better to catch traction alopecia early — leave it too late and the damage could be permanent.
Other Types of Alopecia
Alopecia Barbae is an autoimmune condition that causes the beard to fall out in small coin-sized patches (and sometimes across the entire beard zone).
Your beard may regrow with treatment, which is usually a combination of minoxidil and corticosteroids.
Cicatricial Alopecia (Scarring Alopecia)
This rare type of alopecia is caused by inflammation that damages hair follicles on the scalp and replaces them with scar tissue beneath the surface of the skin. The scarring makes it impossible to reverse the hair loss.
Symptoms of cicatricial alopecia are hard to spot because the scars are hidden beneath the skin. Patches of hair loss are the most obvious symptom but people with scarring alopecia can also experience itching, pain, and a heating sensation.
Hair loss treatments are only effective if the condition is caught early. Once scarring occurs, hair loss is permanent. Patients may also choose to have hair transplant surgery to reduce bald spots.
Postpartum Alopecia (Postpartum Telogen Effluvium)
This type of hair loss becomes noticeable about 2-3 months after giving birth and is caused by the sudden drop in oestrogen following childbirth.
Women usually experience more hair growth during pregnancy, so postpartum alopecia is not actually hair loss but shedding — you just notice more hair shedding than usual because you had more hair during your pregnancy.
A bit of shedding is perfectly normal after pregnancy but some women can experience enough hair loss for it to be distressing. Your hair loss is usually temporary and is reversed after a few months when your hormone levels return to normal.
Our Tips for Preventing Alopecia
Now that you’re more aware of what your alopecia may be and what’s causing it, we can offer some good news.
Whether you have Androgenetic Alopecia, Alopecia Areata, Traction Alopecia or Postpartum Alopecia, there are ways to help stop hair loss in its tracks and try and prevent the alopecia from coming back.
Lifestyle changes, including dietary changes (lots of protein and veggies), exercise, and rest may help encourage healthy hair.
Don’t forget to give your hair some R&R by literally letting your hair down every once in a while and easing up on heavy brushing and styling.
And of course, for the most common form of alopecia (androgenetic) you can also call on The Hairy Pill® to kickstart the hair-replenishing journey by taking just one personalised pill daily. Get started.