Hair and Skin Care

What is Alopecia Hair Loss? The 3 Types of Alopecia

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:56 am

Alopecia is a medical condition that causes hair loss. It can affect both men and women of all ages, and can be caused by a variety of factors. But what is alopecia, really? Let’s take a closer look.

What are the 3 Types of Alopecia?

There are 3 main types of alopecia: androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, and cicatricial alopecia.

  1. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women. It is also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. This type of alopecia is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors.
  2. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  3. Cicatricial alopecia is a rare type of hair loss that affects both men and women. It is characterized by the destruction of the hair follicle, which leads to scarring and permanent hair loss. Cicatricial alopecia can be caused by a variety of conditions, including autoimmune disorders, infections, and skin disorders.

What are the Symptoms of Alopecia?

Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss. It can occur on the scalp, face, or any other area of the body where hair grows. While it can be distressing, alopecia is not usually a sign of an underlying medical condition and is not harmful.

The most common symptom of alopecia is hair loss. This can happen suddenly or gradually. Other symptoms may include:

  • patches of baldness
  • thinning hair all over the scalp
  • losing all the hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis)
  • losing all the hair on the scalp and body (alopecia universalis)

Sometimes, alopecia may be accompanied by itching, redness, and burning. In severe cases, it can lead to psychological distress.

How to Treat Alopecia?

There is currently no cure for alopecia areata, although there are some forms of treatment that can be suggested by doctors to help hair re-grow more quickly.

The most common form of alopecia areata treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. These are most commonly administered through local injections, topical ointment application, or orally.

Alopecia in Women

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women. Other disorders include alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, cicatricial alopecia, and traumatic alopecias. The diagnosis is usually based on a thorough history and a focused physical examination. In some patients, selected laboratory tests or punch biopsy may be necessary. Topically administered minoxidil is labeled to treat androgenetic alopecia in women. Corticosteroids and other agents are typically used in women with alopecia areata. Telogen effluvium is often a self-limited disorder. Because alopecia can devastate to women, management should include an assessment for psychologic effects.

Although alopecia can occur anywhere on the body, it is most distressing when it affects the scalp. Hair loss can range from a small bare patch that is easily masked by hairstyling to a more diffuse and obvious pattern. Alopecia in women has been found to have significantly deleterious effects on self-esteem, psychologic well-being, and body image.

Alopecia in Children

Alopecia areata is hair loss that occurs in children and adults. It is non-scarring, so the hair follicle is not destroyed and that it can regrow hair. It is considered an autoimmune condition that results in inflammation and loss of hair.

Alopecia areata is a non-contagious condition of hair loss thought to be caused by the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of round patches of hair loss. The patches are slick, without scaling or broken hairs. About 25% of children also have pitting and ridging of the nails.

While there is no cure for alopecia areata, treatment can control the disease in some children. Many have their hair back within a year, although regrowth is unpredictable and many will lose hair again. For about 5% of children, the disease progresses to alopecia totalis loss of all the hair on the scalp. Some of these will develop alopecia universalis a total loss of body hair.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata is a disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles (where hair grows from), which can cause hair loss anywhere on the body. Many people who develop alopecia areata develop a round or oval bald patch on their scalp. If alopecia areata affects the nails, you may see dents, ridges, or brittle nails. Some people develop red nails.

What is alopecia universalis?

Alopecia universalis (AU) is a condition characterized by the complete loss of hair on the scalp and body. It is an advanced form of alopecia areata, a condition that causes round patches of hair loss.

How to stop alopecia areata from spreading?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss on the scalp and sometimes on the body. The most common form of alopecia areata, called patchy alopecia, appears as one or more bald patches on the scalp. Alopecia areata can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. Although there is no cure for alopecia areata, there are treatments that can help stop the hair loss from spreading and sometimes even regrow lost hair.

How to Diagnose Alopecia?

Many conditions can cause hair loss. So your doctor may test your skin for a fungal infection or give you blood tests to check for thyroid, hormone, or immune system problems.

Alopecia diagnosis, A doctor may diagnose alopecia areata simply by looking at the extent of your hair loss and examining a few hair samples under a microscope. Your doctor may order a scalp biopsy to rule out other conditions that cause hair loss, including fungal infections like tinea capitis.

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