Alopecia means hair loss and the term is often used to describe several conditions that cause balding. This can be confusing for those whose medical knowledge is limited and can even cause unnecessary worry. We’ve made it simple and put together this guide to help you understand the different types of alopecia.
Also known as pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia can affect both men and women. It is the most common type of hair loss, experienced by around 50% of males and females by the time that they reach middle age. It is caused by hormones and genetics. Male pattern balding starts with thinning at the hairline and crown, eventually leaving just a horseshoe-shaped zone of hair at the sides and back of the head, if left untreated. Female pattern hair loss is more diffuse, causing shedding over the whole head.
Alopecia areata is often called spot balding because it causes distinctive circular patches of hair loss. It is an auto-immune disease, which means the sufferer’s own body attacks the hair follicles, interpreting them as harmful foreign bodies.
Alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis
When hair is lost from the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes to alopecia areata, it is called alopecia totalis. The most advanced form of alopecia areata is alopecia universalis, which causes more extensive hair loss. Sufferers lose their scalp hair and facial hair as well as hair from their body.
Traction alopecia is hair loss caused by pulling. The condition often develops in people who wear their hair in tightly fixed styles over long periods. The strain that this causes on the follicle can actually rip the hair out at the root. In some cases, this condition occurs because the individual develops a compulsive habit of tugging on their own hair, called trichotillomania.
Fortunately for sufferers of alopecia, help is at hand. Vinci Hair Clinic are experts in treating male pattern baldness, alopecia areata and traction alopecia, and offer a range of hair restoration solutions: medical, non-surgical and surgical. They offer free, private hair loss consultations for men and women, including a professional diagnosis and personalised treatment advice.