Common Hair Conditions
Below is a list of conditions that we regularly see in clinic. Correct diagnosis by a qualified trichologist or doctor is essential.
Also known as: androgenic alopecia, female pattern baldness, male pattern alopecia, male pattern baldness, pattern baldness
Androgenetic alopecia is a very common form of hair loss in both men and women. In men, this condition is also known as male-pattern baldness. Hair is usually lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape hairline. Hair also thins at the crown (near the top of the head), often progressing to partial or complete baldness.
The pattern of hair loss in women differs from male-pattern baldness. In women, the hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline does not recede. Androgenetic alopecia in women rarely leads to total baldness.
Androgenetic hair loss can start as early as a person’s teens and risk increases with age; more than half of adults over age 50 have some degree of hair loss. In women, hair loss is most likely after menopause.
A variety of genetic and environmental factors play a role in causing androgenetic alopecia. Hair thinning is related to hormones called androgens, particularly an androgen called dihydrotestosterone. Androgens are important for normal male sexual development before birth and during puberty. Androgens also have other important functions in both males and females, such as regulating hair growth and sex drive.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmunal condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can be unnoticeable. These patches may connect, however, and then become noticeable. The condition develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
Sudden hair loss may occur on the scalp, and in some cases the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face, as well as other parts of the body. It can also develop slowly and recur after years between instances.
The condition can result in total hair loss called alopecia universalis, although this is quite rare, and it can prevent hair from growing back. When hair does grow back, it’s possible for the hair to fall out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies from person to person.
Although there’s no known cure for alopecia areata, there are treatments that you can try that might be able to slow down future hair loss or help hair grow back more quickly. The condition is notoriously difficult to predict, which means it may require a large amount of trial and error until you find something that works for you. For some people, hair loss may still get worse, even with treatment.
Traction alopecia was first identified in the early 1900s as hair loss that’s caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair. They discovered that women who wore tight ponytails had lost hair along their hairline. You can develop this condition if you often wear your hair in a tight ponytail, bun, or braids, especially if you use chemicals or heat on your hair.
Traction alopecia can be reversed once the traction has stopped – eg. if you stop pulling your hair back. But if you don’t intervene soon enough, the hair loss may be permanent.
Other symptoms commonly associated with traction alopecia including scalp redness, bumps, soreness, itching & scaling. It’s important to get correct diagnosis as these symptoms are also common with many other hair & scalp conditions.
Telogen effluvium is the name for a common cause of temporary hair loss due to the excessive shedding of resting or telogen hair, usually after some ‘shock’ to the system. New hair continues to grow. Telogen hair is also known as a club hair due to the shape of the root. The condition can be both acute & chronic.
Acute telogen effluvium can affect people of all age groups and both sexes. Chronic telogen effluvium with no clear precipitating cause tends to present in otherwise healthy women 30–60 years of age.
A person is described as having chronic telogen effluvium if they frequently experience periods of hair shedding for more than six months. Telogen effluvium is generally reversible. A person with this condition does not lose all their hair, although it may become noticeably thin. Telogen effluvium is a form of hair loss characterized by hair thinning or an increase in hair shedding. It occurs more often in women and is usually triggered by a disturbance to the hair cycle.
Correct diagnosis is essential as it will impact the approach to treatment. There are many reasons why a patient may experience telogen effluvium including, but not limited to:
- Stress. Prolonged periods of stress can result in telogen effluvium. Hair loss typically occurs about 3 months after the stressful event.
- Diet. Hair requires key nutrients including protein, iron, B-vitamins, and zinc to grow. A shortage of these nutrients may affect the quality and quantity of a person’s hair.
- Weight loss. Weight loss or chronic calorie restriction can cause the hair to shed.
- Pregnancy & Childbirth. During pregnancy, more hair is in the growth phase for longer. Hormonal changes that occur 3 to 6 months after birth can cause hair to shed. This is called post-partum telogen effluvium.
- Menopause. Hormonal changes that occur during the menopause may also cause telogen effluvium.
- Certain drugs. Certain medications and recreational drugs can cause hair loss.
- Underlying health conditions. These can include autoimmune disease, conditions that affect the thyroid gland, and alopecia areata.
- Surgery. Depending on the type of procedure, length of stay in hospital, medications, and overall nutritional status.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for Educational Purposes Only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, mitigate, prevent or cure any health conditions.
If you are experiencing hair loss, and would like to book a consultation for diagnosis, treatment and advice please get in touch today – 01473 400049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org