Understanding the Many Forms of Hair Loss

One of the most difficult aspects of treating hair loss is that there are so many different forms. While it may seem as though hair restoration is relatively a straightforward matter of addressing one obvious outward symptom, this actually could not be further from the truth. In fact, there is a wide array of treatments for hair loss, ranging from simple, non-invasive topical medications to technologically advanced red light laser therapy to full hair transplantation surgery, but determining which treatments will work best for a particular patient requires an understanding of precisely what underlying issues are causing the hair loss in the first place. Here is a list of some of the more common forms of hair loss. While it only represents the tip of the iceberg, it provides a good indication of just how complex treating hair loss can be.

Understanding the Many Forms of Hair LossAndrogenetic Alopecia: The most common form of hair loss, Androgenetic Alopecia, or genetic pattern hair loss, can affect both men and women. It is characterized by a distinctive pattern of progression and is caused by a genetically-acquired sensitivity to certain hormones.

Alopecia Areata: A form of hair loss that results from an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. It commonly results in extensive, patchy hair loss across the scalp. In rare cases, it can progress to Alopecia Totalis, the total loss of all hair across the entire scalp, or even more rarely Alopecia Universalis, which affects all the hair on the body, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

Scarring Alopecias: These are a diverse group of relatively uncommon disorders where inflammation permanently destroys the hair follicle and replaces it with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss. Several different varieties exist, such as Lichen Planopilaris, Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, and Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia, each of which has distinctive presentations, causes, and treatments.

Traction Alopecia: This is a very specific form of hair loss that is caused by the excessive pulling or tension of certain hair styles, like tightly twisted braids. The damage to the hair follicles is usually temporary and easily reversible, but can be permanent if left untreated.

Effluviums: These forms of hair loss characteristically interrupt different phases of the hair growth cycle, usually as a result of environmental factors, like stress, diet, and certain medications. Telogen effluvium occurs when there is an increase in in the number of dormant hair follicles, resulting in a diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp that is often only temporary, while anagen effluvium develops much more quickly and can cause more extensive and long-term hair loss.

After nearly forty years of treating hair loss at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we understand that every case of hair loss is different and that only a thorough examination can effectively determine what hair restoration treatment will be most effective. If you have any questions about your individual hair loss, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a comprehensive diagnostic consultation. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.