Alopecia Areata / Alopecia Totalis / Alopecia Universalis
Also called spot baldness, this is an autoimmune disorder which causes hair loss in single or multiple bald patches on scalp and other areas (Alopecia areata monolocularis) of the body. It is considered to be caused by hair follicles becoming dormant, however what triggers alopecia areata is not exactly proven. In many cases, the condition rectifies itself, but it can also extent to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or to the entire body (alopecia universalis).
It is generally found in people with ponytails, tight braids or any hairstyles that typically pull on hair with excessive force. In addition, rigorous brushing, heat styling and rough scalp massage can damage the cuticle, the hard outer casing of the hair. This makes individual strands to become weak and break off, reducing overall hair volume.
This is the loss of hair caused by compulsive pulling and bending of the hairs. Due to the constant extraction of the hair roots, permanent hair loss can occur. This disorder tends to begin around the start of puberty and usually continues through adulthood.
Traumas such as major surgery, poisoning, and severe stress may cause a hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium, in which a large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing shedding and subsequent thinning hair in men and women alike. The condition also presents as a side effect of chemotherapy. While targeting dividing cancer cells, this treatment also affects hair’s growth phase with the result that almost 90% of hairs fall out soon after chemotherapy starts.
Temporary or permanent hair loss can also be caused by several medications, including those for heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure problems. Anything that affect the body’s hormone balance can have an adverse effect including the hormone replacement therapy, steroids and some acne medications.
Cicatricle alopecia / Scarring Alopecia
This is a rare condition that destroys the hair follicle, replace it with scar tissue, and cause permanent hair loss. The hair loss may be accompanied with severe itching, pain and burning, and progress quickly. In other cases, the hair loss is gradual, without symptoms, and is unnoticed for long periods. It is also known as scarring alopecia and can happen in otherwise healthy men and women of all ages.
An under-active thyroid and the side effects of its related medications has been found to cause hair loss, typically frontal, which is particularly associated with thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows (also seen with syphilis). Hyperthyroidism (an over-active thyroid) can also cause hair loss, though parietal rather than frontal.
Before starting on any alopecia treatment regimen, it is strongly recommended that one seeks a medical diagnosis for the type of Alopecia condition he or she is suffering from.