Hair Loss Types
Hair loss is a condition brought on by a disruption in the body's natural cycle of hair growth. On an average scalp, there are over 100,000 hairs that go through cycles of growth, rest, shedding, and regeneration. Over 40 recognized hair loss types exist.
The specific type of hair fall experienced can indicate the type of baldness one may develop. Various factors, including genetics, environment, lifestyle, and emotional or psychological issues, can influence certain types of hair loss.
Understanding these types is essential for selecting the most suitable treatment options. Let's have a look at the most common kinds of hair loss include:
Male Pattern Baldness:
This is the most common type of hair loss in men. It commonly leads to baldness in men and usually starts after puberty. This develops over many years or decades. It exhibits a receding hairline and baldness on the crown.
It may even progress so much that the only hair remaining will resemble a horseshoe shape at the back of the head. It can often relate to family history. This is the most common type of hair loss disease seen in men.
Female Pattern Baldness:
This causes thinning hair gradually throughout the scalp, but commonly not at the hairline. Hair loss can begin at any time after puberty, and for many women, it's a normal part of aging. Although complete baldness can occasionally result from female pattern hair loss, it rarely does. This is the most common type of hair loss in females.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition also known as patchy baldness. The immune system of the body mistakenly targets healthy hair follicles leading to the loss of hair.
As per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), bald patches can appear anywhere on your body. The scalp is the most common location for them to appear. The imbalance of the thyroid hormone or abrupt and severe stress may be the causes of alopecia areata.
The patient may start noticing hair loss and hair thinning even at a young age. Alopecia Areata is a rare hair fall type, affecting around 1% of the population.
This condition triggers numerous hair follicles on the scalp. They enter the telogen phase (the falling phase) of the hair growth cycle. We recognize this condition as telogen effluvium.
It results in alarming hair loss of 300–500 strands per day. Triggers include illness, crash diets, medication side effects, and post-pregnancy. Hair loss becomes chronic when it persists for over six months.
Medical procedures, such as chemotherapy, induce rapid hair loss, known as anagen effluvium. These powerful and fast-acting drugs stop the production of hair follicles in the scalp and other areas of the body. Additionally, they eradicate cancer cells. While telogen effluvium is usually a temporary ailment, anagen effluvium is a more chronic form of diffuse hair loss.
This usually occurs when there is pulling of the hair in some way. Occupational hazards, such as wearing caps and helmets, can contribute to traction alopecia for nurses and police officers. Braiding of the hair, as seen in certain communities, is another factor that may lead to this condition. Additionally, voluntary hair pulling, as observed in trichotillomania, can also cause traction alopecia.
How do I know my hair loss type?
Determining the type of hair loss you're experiencing involves examining signs and symptoms. Here are some common types of alopecia hair loss and their characteristics:
Androgenetic Alopecia (Male/Female Pattern Baldness):
- Gradual thinning on the top of the head or at the temples.
- In men, the hairline recedes from the forehead.
- In women, thinning occurs on the crown of the scalp.
- Sudden onset of round, patchy hair loss.
- Hair loss may occur on the scalp, face, and other body areas.
- Nails might show pitting or ridges in some cases.
- Sudden shedding of hair after a significant stressor (e.g., childbirth, surgery, illness).
- Increased hair loss when brushing or washing hair.
- Loss of hair all over the scalp (without a pattern).
- Hair loss due to repeated pulling or tension on the hair.
- Common in individuals who frequently wear tight hairstyles (braids, ponytails).
- Hair loss is accompanied by scarring on the scalp.
- May result from inflammation or autoimmune conditions.
- Hair loss due to compulsive hair pulling.
- Often associated with psychological stress or anxiety.
Hormonal Changes (Hormonal Alopecia):
- Hair loss is related to hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause.
- Thinning hair rather than complete baldness.
Medication-induced hair Loss:
- Hair loss as a side effect of certain medications (e.g., chemotherapy, antidepressants).
- Usually diffuse and not in a specific pattern.
If you're unsure about your hair loss type, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. They will thoroughly check you and review your medical history. If necessary, they will conduct additional tests to determine the root cause of hair loss. Remember that early detection and intervention can often improve outcomes for various types of hair loss.
B.H.M.S (Maharashtra University of Health Sciences)
FCHD (Fellowship in Homeopathic Dermatologist - Mumbai)
How many stages of hair growth are there?
Three: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen are the three stages of human hair's natural growth. The active or growing phase is the anagen stage. This is the longest and most important phase of hair loss. This phase usually lasts for 3 to 7 years. In certain types of hair loss the growth phase shortens.
A relatively brief stage of the natural hair cycle when hair rests is catagen. This usually lasts for around 3 months.
The dormant stage is the telogen stage. Daily lost hairs are frequently at the late or resting phases of the hair cycle.
Once the hair has fallen out, the hair root starts growing new hair again. These hair are in the anagen phase. The cycle of hair thus continues.
How does trichotillomania affect hair loss?
The medical word for persistent hair pulling or twisting is trichotillomania. It is a condition characterized by the persistent need to pluck out body hair such as eyebrows, eyelashes, or scalp hair. It is thought to have something to do with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Cognitive behavioural therapy and pharmaceutical drugs are possible treatments.
It is most commonly seen in teenagers. It is 7 times more common in females than in males. In rare cases, pulling out the hair over some time can cause long-term damage to the hair follicles. If caught early this condition is fully treatable.
What causes traction alopecia?
Traction alopecia is a type of alopecia hair loss which refers to a small patch of hair loss. It is caused by frequent pulling or pushing on the hair roots often because of tight braids and ponytails.
Tight hairstyles or tight hair covering is usually the cause for this. If this happens, it is advisable to choose haircuts that are gentler on the hair roots. Taking action sooner is better to prevent irreversible damage.
What is the medical name for Pattern Hair Loss?
The medical name for pattern baldness is androgenic alopecia. This type of hair loss is frequently related to family history and genetic predisposition. Though traditionally only men were believed to exhibit this, both men and women exhibit it.There are times when Pattern Hair Loss is send without a genetic predisposition. When this happens it is called Androgenic Alopecia.
What is the medical name for androgenic alopecia?
The medical name for pattern baldness is androgenic alopecia. This type of hair loss is frequently related to family history and genetic predisposition. Though traditionally only men were believed to exhibit this, both men and women exhibit it.
A daily hair loss of 100 to 150 is normal.
Yes, It's normal to lose up to 100 hairs every day. This does not indicate that you are balding. There are around 100,000 actively growing hair follicles on the scalp.
When the hair loss becomes extensive or when the rate of hair growth slowly down and doesn’t match the amount of hair fall, that’s when baldness becomes apparent.