Alopecia: A Complete Guide, All you need to know


Temporary or permanent hair loss may result in alopecia (hair loss) on the scalp or throughout the body. This can be caused by hereditary factors, hormonal fluctuations, health conditions, or aging itself. Here you will read everything about alopecia.

What is alopecia?

Hair loss on the scalp is typically referred to as baldness. The most common cause of baldness is hereditary hair loss with aging. Most people avoid treating baldness or hiding it. Women may cover this up with hats, scarves, hat styles, or make-up. There are also a number of treatments available to any person who is experiencing hair loss or who wants to restore the growth of their hair.

You are likely to suffer from hair loss if you lose over 125 hairs per day, if you have widening areas in your hair, or if you have bald patches. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a dermatologist. There are several factors that can cause hair loss. Hair loss is more likely to occur if you wait too long. You might be able to get treatment from a dermatologist!

Before beginning any treatment for hair loss, talk to your doctor about the cause of the problem and the options for treatment.

What are the Causes of alopecia?

Hair loss is natural. There are between 50 and 100 hairs that we lose each day that we don’t realize we are losing.

There is nothing alarming about a little hair loss, but it may indicate something more serious.

Sometimes losing hair is permanent, such as in cases of male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. Typically, this type of hair loss runs in families.

The loss of hair is temporary for some types but permanent for others. Here are a few reasons why people lose their hair:

  • stress
  • As a result of illness
  • weight loss
  • Changes in hormone levels
  • cancer treatment
  • Radiation therapy
  • Supplements & medications
  • iron deficiency
  • Hairstyles

What are the symptoms?

The alopecia condition is characterized by greater hair loss than normal, but it can be difficult to diagnose.

The following symptoms are associated with hair loss:

Gradual thinning on top of the head:

These types of hair loss are most common among older people. Men’s hairline recedes as they age, which causes the hair on the forehead to recede. Typically, the part of the hair that is closest to the scalp widens with a receding hairline. Women in this age group are more likely to experience a receding hairline as a consequence of frontal fibrosing alopecia.

Circular or patchy bald spots:

There are some people who experience circular bald patches or spots on their scalps, beards, and eyebrows. The itching and discomfort may occur before the hair falls out.

Sudden loosening of hair:

Emotional or physical trauma may cause this. Even if you gently tug on your hair while you comb or wash it, you may see a few hairs fall out. Alopecia areata results in temporary hair loss, but the condition eventually results in overall hair loss.

Full-body hair loss:

Chemotherapy and other medical treatments may cause hair loss across the body. But in most cases, the hair grows back.

Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp:

It can be caused by ringworm. There can be hair loss, swelling, redness, and oozing associated with this condition.

The following symptoms can provide some clues:

Widening part. If you part your hair, you might see that your part gets wider, which means your hair is thinning.

Receding hairline. You may also be experiencing hair loss if your hairline is higher than normal.

Loose hair. Check your brushes and combs after each use whenever you use one. Does hair accumulate more than usual on them? There is a possibility that this is a sign of hair loss.

Bald patches. The size and shape of the patches may vary over time.

Clogged drains. If your shower drains or sink drains are clogged due to hair, you may have a problem.

Pain or itching. A skin condition may also make your scalp itchy or painful if you are suffering from hair loss.

What tests are done?

There are a number of simple and complicated tests that women can undergo to diagnose hair loss:

  • Pulling your hair gently will give you an idea of how many hairs have come out.
  • Blood tests. A wide range of vitamins, minerals, and hormones are checked, including the B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, and iron.
  • Examining the scalp through trichoscopy and microscopy.
  • A scalp biopsy involves removing a small piece of scalp skin and examining it.

How is it treated?

There are a variety of hair loss treatments available depending on the cause.

First, medication will likely be prescribed.

A cream, gel, solution, or foam applied directly to the scalp is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. The main ingredient is minoxidil.

Prescription medications such as finasteride (Propecia) may help men with male pattern baldness. The medication finasteride helps prevent hair loss, but some people report that their hair comes back after taking it.

You may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, such as corticosteroids if you suspect an autoimmune condition is causing your hair loss.

Medical procedures

If medication doesn’t seem to be effective, your health care professional may recommend one of these procedures.

Hair transplant surgery

Hair follicles are implanted into areas of baldness of the scalp with tiny plugs of skin containing hairs.

People with inherited baldness frequently lose the hair on top of their heads, so it is a good choice for them. Depending on the level of hair loss that you are experiencing, you may have to undergo more than one process over the course of time.

Scalp reduction

In a surgical procedure, surgeons replace hairless areas on your scalp with hairy ones. A scalp reduction is called this procedure. Also, the surgeon can fold over the hair-growing scalp a bald patch of the scalp.

The second method of concealing bald spots is to expand tissue, but this requires two procedures. The surgeon should place the tissue expander in the first surgery beneath the hairy part of the scalp adjacent to the bald spot. It will take a few weeks for you to notice that the part of your scalp with your hair will stretch out somewhat after using the expander.

A hair-covered patch of the scalp will be exposed after the second surgery and will be able to cover the bald patch.

Prevention:

Male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness is usually associated with genetic factors. These forms of hair loss are irreversible.

The following tips may help you prevent preventable hair loss:

  • The best thing you can do for your hair is to treat it gently. Don’t pull or brush your wet hair while it’s wet. Use a detangler if you must brush your wet hair. If you have hair falling out, you may want to use a wide-toothed comb. Hot oil treatments, cold rollers, curling irons, and permanent tattoos should be avoided. When using rubber bands, barrettes, or braids, make sure not to put too much tension on your hair.
  • You should not take any medications or supplements that may lead to hair loss in the future. Ask your physician for advice.
  • Your hair should not be damaged by ultraviolet light or sunlight.
  • You shouldn’t smoke. Smoking contributes to men’s baldness.
  • If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, your doctor might advise you to wear a cooling cap. If you wear the cap, you may lose less hair.

References:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/types/alopecia

http://web.archive.org/web/20220506110454/https://www.skinsite.com/info_alopecia_areata.htm

https://www.belgraviacentre.com/blog/key-issues-likely-to-cause-hair-loss-from-high-stress-levels

https://www.belgraviacentre.com/blog/key-issues-likely-to-cause-hair-loss-from-high-stress-levels