Did you know that there are several forms of alopecia? As a Hair Practitioner of Trichology and creator of Alodia, this is the question that I pose to many of my customers and clients when they tell me that they were diagnosed with alopecia.
Alopecia is NOT a diagnosis. It is a symptom of hair loss. There are over 10 different major types (and even more subtypes) of alopecia! In this article, I will discuss 10 of the most common types of alopecia.
What is alopecia?
Alopecia is defined as partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows. Alopecia can fall into 2 types: Non-Scarring Alopecia and Scarring Alopecia.
Non- Scarring Alopecia: Is when the hair follicles are still healthy and its more of a temporary form of hair loss. If diet, medications and/or hair practices are corrected the hair can potentially grow back. The types of non-scarring alopecia are:
- Excessive Shedding or Telogen Effluvium
Is diffuse shedding throughout the entire head. Typically happens 3 months after a stressful event such as:
- Child birth (Number 1 reason)
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Birth Control pills
- High Blood Pressure meds (specifically Beta Blockers)
- Blood Thinners
Typically, this type of shedding can last from 3-9 months. The great thing is your hair will start growing again with this type of alopecia.
- Androgenetic Alopecia/Pattern Baldness
Refers to the genetic thinning and/or baldness that affects men and women. More than 95% of baldness in men are androgenetic alopecia. The thinning in men occurs at the temples and/or front/clown areas of the scalp. The thinning in women is at the crown of head.
- Alopecia Areata
Is an autoimmune form of hair loss in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. This results in circular patches of hair loss.
- Trichorrhexis Nodosa/Breakage
Trichorrhexis nodosa is a common hair problem in which thickened or weak points (nodes) along the hair shaft cause your hair to break off easily. The condition may be triggered by things such as blow-drying, over-brushing, perming, or excessive chemical use.
- Tinea Capitis
Tinea capitis is Ringworm of the scalp caused by a fungal infection. It can also be found in beards, groin and other places on the skin. If left untreated it can spread and cause major hair loss.
- Traction Alopecia
Is caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing their hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids. If styling is continued this can result in scarring and permanent hair loss.
Occurs when the hair follicles are destroyed. Hair usually cannot grow back so this is a permanent form of hair loss. The types of scarring alopecia’s are:
- Central Centrifugal Cicactricial Alopecia (CCCA)
Is a very common cause of alopecia or hair loss in black women. Hair loss from CCCA occurs primarily in the crown part of the scalp. The hair loss radiates outward in a circular pattern and is usually gradual although some people experience a rapid progression of the hair loss. CCCA causes destruction of the hair follicles and scarring leading to permanent hair loss.
- Lichen Planopilaris
Is a type of scarring hair loss that occurs when a relatively common skin disease, known as lichen planus, affects areas of skin where there is hair. Lichen planopilaris destroys the hair follicle and then replaces it with scarring. It is between 2 and 5 times more common in women than it is in men and is seen mostly in white adults, with the common age of onset being in the mid-40s.
- Dissecting Cellulitis
Is a condition in which pus-filled lumps develop on the scalp, resulting in scarring and permanent hair loss over the area affected.
- Discoid Lupus
Is a chronic skin condition of sores with inflammation and scarring. Can occur on the face, ears and scalp and at times in other body areas.
If you are experiencing hair loss, I hope this list helps to dispel the myth that you have the diagnosis of alopecia. As you can see, there are many different types of alopecia and it is so important to understand whats going on with your scalp so that you can start on of path to heal your scalp. There are even more types of alopecia than on the list, so make sure you visit a dermatologist or trichologist that is well experienced in the areas of hair loss.