The medical name for hair loss is “alopecia”. However, that is an umbrella term encompassing any type of hair loss so the term is generally used with another word that signals the specific type of hair loss1. A wide range of conditions and factors can contribute to hair loss ranging from environmental to genetic causes.
Common Types of Hair Loss
Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)
Affecting 50 million men and 30 million women, Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common type of hair loss in the United States2. The more common name for it is male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness due to the specific patterns caused by the hair loss. For women, hair thins all over without changing the hairline but drastically decreasing volume.
For men, hair loss begins at the temples along with thinning at the top. Gradually as the hair recedes an M-pattern is formed (see images below) and enlarges. For some, the top center of the head loses hair while it remains at the back and sides. For others who are very sensitive to DHT2, hair completely recedes until nothing is left.
What is DHT?
DHT is a byproduct of testosterone14 formally known as Dihydrotestosterone. When DHT levels become too high, which is usually due to genetics, follicles will shrink, causing hair loss.
Telogen Effluvium (TE)
The second most common form of hair loss is from an imbalance in hair’s normal growth cycles. Telogen is the name for the last phase of the cycle where the old hair shaft falls out3. The average person loses about 50 to 100 hairs a day, with most of that happening during washing, brushing and combing. However, if the telogen phase is substantially greater than that, it’s a case of telogen effluvium.
Alopecia Areata (AA)
The third most common type of hair loss is alopecia areata, which involves an autoimmune skin disease. The body’s immune system attacks healthy hair follicles, damaging them and causing hair loss. More than 6.6 million Americans have had or will develop alopecia areata at some point in their lives.4
Other Types of Hair Loss
Also referred to as cicatricial alopecia, scarring alopecia involves a variety of rare medical conditions that destroy hair follicles, leaving scar tissue behind that causes permanent hair loss5. Even though scarring alopecia is considered an uncommon condition, it still affects up to 3% of hair loss patients1.
A common skin condition that causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff6, seborrheic dermatitis primarily affects the scalp. If inflammation forms around hair follicles it prevents hair from growing back after the shedding phase, causing hair loss. If untreated, the hair loss can be permanent.
While more common around the temple or behind the ears, traction alopecia can technically happen anywhere on the scalp. It happens when ponytails, braids, headbands, hair weaves, and other hair accessories restrain hair, pulling tightly on the hair’s roots. When worn that way repeatedly and for long periods of time it causes inflammation that can eventually damage follicles permanently.
Hair Loss from Infectious Agents
Tinea Capitis is the term used for a fungal infection, or ringworm, affecting the scalp. The fungus continues growing along the hair strand, invading keratin as it is formed, causing hair to break off resulting in patches of hair loss7.
Piedra (Trichomycosis Nodularis)
A fungal infection, Piedra causes hard nodules or ascostromas to form on hair fibers8, leading the hair shaft to become brittle and break.
Hair Loss From Hair Shaft Defects
Loose Anagen Syndrome
Also known as loose hair syndrome, LAS occurs when a lack of adhesion between the hair shaft and root sheath leads to poor anchoring of the hair fiber to the follicle. Las has three varieties defined by the loss of hair density, unruly hair or hair that appears normal but has excessive shedding9.
Hair growth is affected by monilethrix. Periodic narrowing of the hair shaft creates a beaded appearance, usually on the back of the head or nape of the neck, leading to brittle hair that breaks easily11.
Everyday activities can lead to trichorrhexis nodosa, in which weak points (nodes) or thickened spots on the hair shaft lead to breakage12. Medical conditions like hypothyroidism and iron deficiency cause the problem as well as excessive hair dying, blow-drying, perming or over-brushing.
Other Medical Conditions Associated With Hair Loss
Dermatologists use the term congenital hypotrichosis for a condition that involves no hair growth1. Unlike alopecia, which involves hair loss, in congenital hypotrichosis, hair never existed.
While actually a psychological disorder, trichotillomania involves the urge to pull out your hair13. When done repeatedly, it can scar follicles, causing permanent hair loss. In focused trichotillomania, people know they’re doing it and it provides stress relief. In automatic trichotillomania, people pull their hair without realizing it.
Is Robotic Hair Restoration The Solution?
Knowing the type of hair loss you have is essential to determine what treatment options are available, especially since some of these conditions are complex. To find out if you are a good candidate for hair transplant surgery at Robotic Hair Restoration of Long Island, call us at (516) 605-1545 to discuss your particular case with our team or fill out the free consultation form