What Type of Alopecia Do I Have? Understanding Risk factors and How to Mitigate Them

Published: 20 de September de 2023
| Last Updated on 29 de April de 2024 by Easy Hair Hub
man looking in the mirror at his lost hair
Dr. Oguz Kayiran
Medical Reviewer

Did you know there are different patterns of baldness? Trying to understand what type of alopecia is one developing is a common question among those concerned about their hair loss.

The truth is that hair is not just about aesthetics; it holds a significant place in our identity and self-esteem. Alopecia is a condition characterized by hair loss that can affect individuals in various ways, depending on its specific pattern and underlying causes. In this blog, we'll delve into the world of alopecia, exploring the distinct patterns it can take and offering insights into how to identify and address them. 

Whether you're grappling with receding hairlines, sudden bald spots, or general thinning, this guide will help you gain a deeper understanding of the factors at play and how to tackle them effectively. So, let's embark on this journey to unravel the mystery of hair loss and discover the keys to maintaining a healthy and lustrous mane!

Understanding Alopecia

bald man looking at his hair loss area in the mirror.

Alopecia is a broad term that encompasses various types of hair loss, each with its unique characteristics and attached risk factors. To effectively mitigate the risk factors associated with alopecia, it's essential to understand the different patterns of this condition.

1. Androgenetic Alopecia (Male and Female Pattern Baldness)

Androgenetic alopecia, commonly referred to as male and female pattern baldness, is the most prevalent form of alopecia. It is hereditary and typically affects individuals as they age. Risk factors also include hormonal imbalances or excessive DHT (dihydrotestosterone) production. 

In men, it often starts with a receding hairline and a thinning crown, while women may experience diffuse hair thinning. Genetics play a significant role in the development of androgenetic alopecia. 

2. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. This can lead to sudden, patchy hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body. The exact cause of alopecia areata remains unclear, but genetics and factors such as stress may play a role. There is an extensive list of types of alopecia within alopecia areata, which includes: patchy alopecia areata, alopecia universalis, alopecia totalis, diffuse alopecia areata, alopecia barbae and alopecia ophiasis. Each of these vary according to the area where the balding takes place.

Due to the nature of this condition, immunotherapy may help manage it. Other evidence suggests corticosteroid injections increase hair regrowth among those with alopecia areata.

3. Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is characterized by sudden and widespread hair shedding due to the fact that more hair follicles go into the resting phase, named telogen. It is often triggered by stress, illness, surgery, nutritional conditions, medications or hormonal changes. This type of hair loss typically occurs a few months after the triggering event and resolves itself afterwards.

4. Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia results from constant tension on the hair follicles due to hairstyles like tight braids, weaves, or hair extensions. Prolonged and repeated pulling of the hair can damage the follicles, leading to hair loss. It is recommended to avoid hairstyles that exert excessive tension on the hair or the frequent use of hair accessories that pull the hair tightly. Instead, opt for looser hairstyles or, at least, give your hair regular breaks from tight styles.

5. Scarring (Cicatricial) Alopecia

Scarring or cicatricial alopecia is considered a rare disorder. This type of alopecia happens when hair follicles are destroyed and replaced with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss. The causes behind cicatricial alopecia tend to be inflammatory disorders, skin injuries, burns or medical treatments. This category of alopecia includes other types within it: Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, and Lichen Planopilaris. These different types depend on the area where hair loss is happening. 

Lowering Alopecia Risk Factors

man exercising on exercise bars.

Understanding what your type of hair loss pattern is can be a first step to help identify and address the underlying cause. This is why consulting a dermatologist or hair transplant specialist for early intervention is always the first option to deal with alopecia. If you suspect you have alopecia or notice unusual hair loss, early intervention can significantly improve treatment outcomes. 

Nonetheless, while some forms of alopecia, such as androgenetic alopecia, are strongly influenced by genetics, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risk factors associated with hair loss:

1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

Eat a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients for hair health, such as vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as biotin and iron. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Engage in regular physical activity to improve overall well-being.

2. Manage Stress:

Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. Prioritize self-care and relaxation to minimize the impact of stress on hair health.

3. Avoid Harsh Hair Treatments:

Be gentle when styling your hair, and avoid tight hairstyles that exert excessive pressure on the hair shafts. Also, as good as straight hair may look, there are clear side effects of hair straightening. The best you can do is limit the use of heated styling tools and harsh chemicals.

Get your hair back!

man looking in the mirror and combing his hair.

Alopecia can be a distressing condition, but understanding its risk factors and patterns is the first step toward managing and mitigating its effects. Whether you're dealing with male or female pattern baldness, alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, traction alopecia, or scarring alopecia, taking proactive measures and seeking professional guidance can make a substantial difference in preserving your hair. 

If you're looking for a permanent solution to restore lost hair, hair transplantation would be of significant benefit to you. Apart from being a safe procedure, it ensures an aesthetic improvement that can help you overcome the emotional distress linked with hair loss. If you are interested in consulting your case with a hair transplant expert, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll give you a free quotation!

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