It’s a simple truth no one wants to hear: You will very likely have less hair at age 40 than you did when you were 20. Both men and women deal with thinning hair, but that doesn’t mean all hair loss is created equal. Doctors and dermatologists agree there are a number of unique types of hair loss, each with its own pattern and prognosis.
Here’s a quick rundown of five common types of hair loss:
Hair Loss Type No. 1: Androgenetic Alopecia (aka Male Pattern Baldness)
There’s a reason why many men never leave home without a trusty baseball cap: Up to 70% of all men experience some degree of Androgenetic Alopecia according to numbers from the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA). But, did you know that 40% of women experience the same condition? Androgenetic Alopecia is caused by shifting hormone levels in the body and commonly appears as a receding hairline or thinning at the crown. Men often start seeing signs of Pattern Baldness in their 20s; women might not start noticing their lessening locks until their 40s.
Hair Loss Type No. 2: Effluvium
If your doctor believes your hair loss is caused by a reduced number of hair follicles, he or she will likely tell you that you’ve got a condition called Effluvium. There are several kinds of effluviums, including Telogen and Anagen. There are several ways these conditions can develop. Telogen Effluvium might be caused by stress, diet or chronic illness. It often develops slowly and causes a thinning of the hair. Anagen Effluvium is more aggressive and can cause total baldness. Causes for Anagen Effluvium might include cancer treatments like chemotherapy or the ingestion of poisons.
Hair Loss Type No. 3: Alopecia Areata
Even though it only affects 2% of the population, Alopecia Areata might be ranked the third most common type of hair loss by your dermatologist. Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder that results in significant hair loss. Most patients suffering from Alopecia Areata find that this condition begins with one or two small bald patches on the scalp. From there, the circles can grow, move or multiply. A similar condition, Alopecia Totalis or Universalis, is an autoimmune condition that caused more widespread hair loss across the body.
Hair Loss Type No. 4: Infectious Agents
Hair loss can be an unpleasant result of many conditions, ranging from fungal infections to inflammation. Ringworm on the scalp (known to your doctor as tinea capitis) isn’t a worm at all, but it’s easily spread and quite common in children. This fungal infection is similar to athlete’s foot and comes with a host of symptoms including an itchy and/or tender scalp, reddened, greyish or scaly skin on the scalp, and brittle, easily-broken hair. Other infections leading to hair loss can include folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and demodex folliculorum.
Hair Loss Type No. 5: Scarring Alopecia
Hair that won’t grow after the skin underneath has been traumatized by infection or injury might be caused by Scarring Alopecia. Also known as Cicatricial Alopecia, this type of hair loss can be a lasting result of serious conditions like dissecting cellulitis, eosinophilic pustular folliculitis, and follicular degeneration syndrome. Regardless of the cause, Scarring Alopecia stems from the replacement of hair follicles with scar tissue and can be permanent.
Reading about the different types of hair loss might be overwhelming to anyone concerned about thinning hair or balding. Don’t worry: The good news is most types of hair loss can be treated. A skilled doctor or dermatologist, like Dr. Doppelt, can diagnose hair loss and help you get on the right track to hair restoration and renewed confidence.