Women’s Hair Loss Part 3: What Type of Hair Loss Do I Have?

iStock_000007761026XSmall[1]Women’s hair loss is a complex condition with numerous causes.  The intricate nature of women’s hair loss further emphasizes the need for a hair loss specialist with specialized knowledge.   Dr. Edmond Griffin can help you determine what type of hair loss you are experiencing and suggest a proper treatment plan based on your symptoms.  In previous blog posts, we’ve explained who to turn to when hair begins to thin and tests that determine your hair loss cause.  There may be a combination of variables contributing to your specific hair loss condition; therefore, it may be helpful to have a basic understanding of most common types/causes of hair loss:

• Androgenetic Alopecia: Androgenetic alopecia, also called female patterned baldness, is by far the most common cause of hair loss seen at the Griffin Center.  This hereditary alopecia is caused by a predisposition to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on the hair follicles due to an inherited gene. A positive family history of baldness in either males or females is common. Occurring over a period of several years, this type of hair loss is gradual.

• Telogen Effluvium: In this condition, an increased number of hairs enter the resting phase (telogen phase) of the hair growth cycle so that hair does not grow at a normal rate. This hair loss is most apparent as hair just falls out by the roots in handfuls. Dieting, severe infection, high fever, surgery, stress, and especially childbirth shifts the growing hair into a resting phase resulting in sudden onset of hair loss.

• Anagen Effluvium: This hair loss condition is most commonly associated with cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation, and causes hair to fall out during the anagen, or growing, phase of the hair growth cycle. While most patients re-grow their hair after chemo and radiation are completed, some patients do not completely re-grow due to certain cancer chemo agents.

Traction Alopecia:  Traction alopecia, most often seen in black patients, is caused by excessive, ongoing tension placed on the scalp. Tight hairstyles such as braids, weaves, and ponytails can eventually pull hair out and permanently scar the scalp. Some patients have sensitive follicles that are easily traumatized, resulting in this loss of hair.

• Alopecia Areata: This hair loss condition, most common in children and young adults, is a disease in which the body forms antibodies against its own hair follicles due to stress, genetics, or immunity.  Often developed suddenly, alopecia areata results in smooth, circular patches on the scalp, eyebrows, or beard. Aggressive treatment with injections and topical medications frequently results in the hair returning within a short time. A positive family history of this condition is common.

• Scarring Alopecia: This condition is a chronic inflammation of the scalp which gradually damages the hair follicles. This permanent condition may appear as localized or wide-spread patchy hair loss, and should be treated as soon as possible to prevent widespread baldness.

• Lichen Planopilaris (LPP):  Scarring hair loss condition in which follicle inflammation causes gradual permanent alopecia.

Tinea Capitis: Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that causes patchiness and breakage due to inflammation, usually seen in young children. If treated early, the hair re-grows but can result in permanent loss if the inflammation is long lasting or severe enough.

Listed above are some of the more common hair loss conditions.  It’s important to understand that each hair loss case is specific to each man, woman, or child it affects. Dr. Griffin and his team of trained hair restoration technicians are more than happy to help you find a customized solution for hair loss. For more information on The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research visit our website, and continue to read the blog for more news on hair loss conditions and prevention.