Types of Alopecia
Here is a list of the common types of alopecia.
- Alopecia Areata:
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can be unnoticeable. These patches may connect, however, and then become noticeable. The condition develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Sudden hair loss may occur on the scalp, and in some cases the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face, as well as other parts of the body. It can also develop slowly and recur after years between instances.
- Alopecia Barbae (localized in the beard area):
Alopecia barbae is an autoimmune condition where your hair follicles are attacked by your own body, causing patchy hair loss.
Commonly, hair loss occurs in small circular patches, often along the jawline, though you may lose all of your beard hair. The hair loss can be isolated to your beard, or it can occur in other places, such as your scalp or face.
- Traction Alopecia:
Traction alopecia is hair loss that’s caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair. You can develop this condition if you often wear your hair in a tight ponytail, bun, or braids, especially if you use chemicals or heat on your hair.
Traction alopecia can be reversed if you stop pulling your hair back. But if you don’t intervene soon enough, the hair loss may be permanent.
- Telogen Effluvium:
Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss that usually happens after stress, a shock, or a traumatic event. It usually occurs on the top of the scalp.
Telogen effluvium is different from the hair loss disorder called alopecia areata. Large amounts of a person’s hair might fall out, but it is often temporary, and the hair usually grows back.
- Androgenetic Alopecia:
The majority of women with androgenetic - also called androgenic - alopecia have diffuse thinning on all areas of the scalp. (Men rarely have diffuse thinning but instead have more distinct patterns of baldness.) Some women have a combination of two pattern types.
Androgenic alopecia in women is due to the action of androgens, male hormones that are typically present in only small amounts. Androgenic alopecia can be caused by a variety of factors tied to the actions of hormones, including some ovarian cysts, taking high androgen index birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Alopecia Totalis:
Alopecia totalis is a skin condition that causes hair loss. It isn’t the same as localized alopecia areata. Localized alopecia areata causes round patches of hair loss on the scalp, but alopecia totalis causes complete baldness of the scalp.
Alopecia totalis is also different from the most severe form of alopecia areata, known as alopecia universalis. This form of alopecia causes complete hair loss over the entire body.
- Alopecia Universalis:
This type of hair loss is unlike other forms of alopecia. AU causes complete hair loss on your scalp and body. AU is a type of alopecia areata. However, it differs from localized alopecia areata, which causes patches of hair loss, and alopecia totalis, which causes complete hair loss on the scalp only.
- Cicatricial Alopecia:
Most forms of scarring alopecia first occur as small patches of hair loss that may expand with time. In some cases the hair loss is gradual, without noticeable symptoms, and may go unnoticed for a long time. In other instances, the hair loss is associated with severe itching, burning, and pain, and is rapidly progressive.
The scarring alopecia patches usually look a little different from alopecia areata in that the edges of the bald patches look more "ragged." The destruction of the hair follicle occurs below the skin surface so there may not be much to actually see on the scalp skin surface other than patchy hair loss. Affected areas may be smooth and clean, or may have redness, scaling, increased or decreased pigmentation, or may have raised blisters with fluids or pus coming from the affected area.
- Postpartum Alopecia:
The body experiences soaring estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy, which causes hair to remain in an ongoing stage of growth, creating thicker, more lustrous strands. Then your hormones level out in the months following childbirth. Hair remains in this ‘resting’ stage for approximately three months before it falls out and new growth shows itself. Typically the regrowth is in the form of ‘baby bangs’ appearing along the hairline.
(These links are by no means the only sources for hair loss or alopecia. These were the sites used for research on this article. Feel free to do your own research as well.)
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.