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  • Hayk Matsakyan

Understanding Hair Loss: Types and Identifying Yours

Updated: Jul 6

Hair loss is a common concern affecting millions worldwide. While it's normal to lose 50-100 hairs a day, excessive shedding can be distressing. Understanding the different types of hair loss and identifying which one you belong to can help you seek appropriate treatment. Here’s a guide to the most common types of hair loss:


1. Androgenetic Alopecia (Pattern Baldness)


What is it?

Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women. It's characterized by a predictable pattern of hair thinning.


Symptoms:

  • Men: Begins with a receding hairline and thinning at the crown, eventually leading to partial or complete baldness.

  • Women: General thinning over the entire scalp, with noticeable thinning at the crown and a widening part. Causes:

  • Genetics

  • Hormonal changes

Who is at risk?

  • Both men and women, especially those with a family history of hair loss.


2. Telogen Effluvium


What is it?

Telogen effluvium occurs when a large number of hair follicles enter the resting phase (telogen) and shed simultaneously.

Symptoms:

  • Diffuse thinning across the scalp.

  • Sudden, noticeable shedding.

Causes:

  • Stress

  • Major surgery

  • Severe infections

  • Childbirth

  • Medications

  • Nutritional deficiencies

Who is at risk?

  • Anyone experiencing significant physical or emotional stress.


3. Alopecia Areata


What is it?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks hair follicles, leading to sudden hair loss.

Symptoms:

  • Round, smooth bald patches on the scalp or other body parts.

  • Hair may regrow and fall out again.

Causes:

  • Autoimmune reactions

  • Genetic predisposition

Who is at risk?

  • Individuals with a family history of autoimmune diseases.


4. Traction Alopecia

What is it?

Traction alopecia results from prolonged tension on the hair, often due to specific hairstyles.

Symptoms:

  • Thinning or hair loss in areas under tension, typically around the hairline and temples.

Causes:

  • Tight hairstyles like ponytails, braids, or buns.

  • Hair extensions or weaves.

Who is at risk?

  • Anyone regularly wearing hairstyles that pull on the hair.


5. Anagen Effluvium

What is it?

Anagen effluvium is rapid hair loss due to damage to hair follicles during the anagen (growth) phase.

Symptoms:

  • Sudden loss of large amounts of hair.

  • Thinning or baldness within days to weeks.

Causes:

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation therapy

  • Toxic substances

Who is at risk?

  • Individuals undergoing cancer treatment or exposed to toxic chemicals.


6. Cicatricial (Scarring) Alopecia

What is it?

Cicatricial alopecia is a group of rare disorders that destroy hair follicles, replacing them with scar tissue.

Symptoms:

  • Permanent hair loss.

  • Inflammation, redness, and scaling in affected areas.

Causes:

  • Inflammatory skin conditions

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Infections

Who is at risk?

  • Individuals with underlying inflammatory or autoimmune conditions.


Identifying Your Type of Hair Loss


If you're experiencing hair loss, it's crucial to identify the type to seek appropriate treatment. Here are some steps to help you determine your hair loss type:


  1. Examine the Pattern: Look at the areas of thinning or baldness. Is it diffuse or in specific patches?

  2. Consider Recent Events: Have you experienced significant stress, illness, or changes in medication?

  3. Family History: Do close relatives have similar hair loss patterns?

  4. Hairstyles: Have you been wearing tight hairstyles frequently?

  5. Medical Conditions: Do you have any underlying health issues?


Seeking Professional Help


If you're unsure about the type of hair loss you're experiencing, consult a dermatologist or a trichologist. They can provide a precise diagnosis and recommend treatments such as:


  • Medications like minoxidil or finasteride.

  • Lifestyle and dietary changes.

  • Stress management techniques.

  • Medical procedures like PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) therapy or hair transplant surgery.


Understanding the type of hair loss you have is the first step towards effective management and treatment. Remember, early intervention can often prevent further hair loss and promote regrowth.


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