Hair Loss 101

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss”. Any form of hair loss can be referred to as this condition. It can be caused by different factors, from your genetics, to skin conditions, reactions from ingredients found in products you may be using, emotional stress, and even the environment. There are also plenty of human diseases with hair loss as a symptom, so getting to the core of the cause requires expert diagnosis from your dermatologist.

The most common type of hair loss is called androgenetic, or male/female pattern baldness. The hair loss for pattern baldness occurs on the top and front of the head for men, and widening of the center part for women. Medications may reduce or prevent further hair loss, and hair transplants can cover up the bald spots.

There are other types of hair loss, including Telogen Effluvium and Alopecia Aerata.

Telogen effluvium is a condition where your hair may continuously fall off. Believe it or not, shedding hair is actually a part of your scalp’s mechanism. An average of 15% of the hair on your scalp is known as telogen hair or resting hair, and will be pushed out by a new type of hair known as anagen hair, which makes up the other 85% of hair on your head. When your body experiences some kind of shock or trauma, like say an accident, illness, fatigue or certain medications, the rate of shedding might increase on your head. This condition is self-correcting and temporary most of the time. However, if you do get diagnosed with this condition, you should exercise extra care with your hair, so avoid combing too much or too hard, and consume a diet that’s healthy in protein, fruits and leafy greens.

Alopecia Areata is characterized as having patches of bald spots on your head. You may notice clumps of hair coming off when you take a shower, or scattered on your pillow. It affects not just your head but also any part of your body where hair can grow. You should also look at your nails as this condition also affects those. Your nails may have jagged ends, white spots all around, feel rough and thin. Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease, which means that your body’s immune system attacks your body – in this case, your hair follicles. Your dermatologist can diagnose this condition by looking at the way you are losing hair. He or she may even perform a biopsy to determine how your skin is looking under a microscope. If your dermatologist suspects that you may have an autoimmune disease, blood tests may be conducted to check what kind of disease is triggering the hair loss. Treatments for alopecia areata include immunosuppressants that can be injected or topically applied to the bald spots.

If you think you may be experiencing some hair loss, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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