Before selecting a certain treatment to control baldness, it is advisable to identify which type of alopecia you are suffering from. This way, you can pick a method that is suitable for your scalp and scalp activity. To this end, we will sum up these 12 types of alopecia.
Alopecia is defined in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy as «the pathological falling out or loss of hair». Although it is a precise definition, it doesn’t explain the concept in a detailed fashion. In this respect, we will sum up the 12 most common types of alopecia, keeping in mind that the causes of this disease are highly diverse.
In general, alopecia is classified into two large groups, which, in turn, are subdivided. Therefore, we have non-scarring alopecia and cicatricle alopecia. We will revise what each one is made up of and which typologies they include.
It is one of the most common types of alopecia and is characterised by having high possibilities of recovery. In some cases, the recovery can take place in a natural manner, without the application of any treatment. However, it could also require a procedure to stimulate the growth of scalp hair. In this type of alopecia, the hair follicle is not completely inactive, but it runs the risk of stopping to work altogether. The different modes of non-scarring alopecia are as follows:
This is known as androgenetic alopecia or common baldness, which mainly affects men and sometimes women. Its cause is directly related to hormonal activity due to some alteration in the androgens, in charge of regulating scalp activity.
In women, this type of alopecia is not as severe as in men. It is recommended to check which degree of advancement the androgenic alopecia has before setting out on a treatment to control it. If it has already reached a high level of inactivity in the hair follicles, probably no method will yield any results.
Its causes are not known, but its symptom is the loss of scalp hair in patches. It can appear as alopecia totalis when one loses all the scalp hair of the head, or as alopecia universalis when one loses all body hair. Although there is no completely efficient treatment to combat it, there are some therapies -application of ultraviolet light, topical corticosteroids, steroid injections- to promote hair growth.
It is generally caused by some external agent, such as the use of hair dryers, combs, straighteners or any other instrument that could cause severe lesions on the scalp. Trichotillomania, which occurs when the patient pulls off their own hair, is also grouped in this mode.
It is also called chronic telogen effluvium and it appears after suffering a severe illness, emotional stress, febrile seizures or even childbirth. Its duration varies based on the recuperation process of the patient, but it generally does not last more than six months, when the alopecia disappears in a natural manner and scalp hair grows progressively.
Alopecia due to medication or drugs
It emerges due to the consumption of some chemical substances, such as anticoagulants, cytostatics, antithyroid drugs, valproic acid, mercury and high doses of vitamin A. Generally, alopecia disappears upon stopping the consumption of these substances.
Alopecia due to systemic diseases
It is caused by failure in the functioning of some of the systems that work in the body, such as the endocrine or the immune systems. It can also occur due to a nutritional deficit or lupus erythematosus.
Alopecia due to hereditary syndromes
Hair loss is produced due to a hereditary pathology, such as congenital atrichia, temporal triangular alopecia, Menkes syndrome, loose anagen hair syndrome, anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, trichorhinophalangeal syndrome, cartilage-hair hypoplasia.
This type of alopecia are characterised by causing irreversible damage on the scalp. That is, its effect cannot be reversed via any particular medication or treatment as the hair follicle has completely been destroyed. Its different modalities are as follows:
They are the ones caused by the presence of an invading agent in the immune system. They can appear due to fungal infections (kerion, candidiasis, favus), bacterial causes (syphilis, leprosy, acne necrotica), viral causes (herpes, chickenpox) or protozoan causes (Leishmaniasis).
Alopecia due to physiochemical agents
They occur due to the presence of external agents in the organism, coming from physical and chemical sources, such as caustic agents, burns, mechanical trauma or radiodermitis induced by X-rays as hair follicles are sensitive to radiation.
Alopecia induced by tumours
They are caused by the presence of dermal tumours and metastasis. In this group, we also see basocellular or spinocellular epithelioma, mastocytes, adnexal tumours and lymphomas.
Alopecia due to dermatosis
This type of alopecia is produced due to skin diseases, such as Graham-Little syndrome, follicular mucinosis, sarcoidosis or dermatomyositis.
Clinic alopecia decalvans syndromes
Here we find diseases such as Erosive pustular dermatosis, parvimaculate alopecia and alopecia pseudopelade, as well as folliculitis decalvans.