Types of Hair Loss
People are born with a finite number of hair follicles. The density, diameter, and colour of hair follicles change with aging, however, the quantity does not increase. There are several reasons that a person may be experiencing hair loss. Some hair loss is temporary and often a result of physical or emotional stress, medications, chronic medical conditions or disorders. Other hair loss may be the result of health issues such as iron or protein deficiency, malnutrition, or thyroid or hormone imbalance. Some hair loss may be permanent and is often the result of genetic and hormonal factors. The success of hair restoration procedures is dependent on the type of hair loss and a multitude of different factors.
Types of Temporary Hair Loss
Telogen Effluvium is a condition in which physical or emotional stress can cause the root of a growing hair to stop growing and accelerate through the growth cycle to the telogen phase where it is shed. This hair loss is often noticed as clumps of hair on your brush, pillow, or in the shower and often means that more than the normal 100 hairs a day are being shed. Most times this is temporary, and hair will return to normal once the stress has stopped. Hair restoration procedures are not recommended for patients suffering from this disorder as the transplanted hairs may also be affected.
Anagen Effluvium is a form of hair loss that occurs most often for individuals undergoing treatment for cancer. Because the medications are so concentrated, the hair is unable to progress naturally through the hair growth cycle and is shed during the “anagen” or growth phase of the cycle. Once medication use ends, hair loss will decrease, and hair growth begins to return to normal approximately 6 months after treatment has ended. Hair transplantation is not recommended for these patients.
Alopecia Areata is a condition in which individuals experience sudden hair loss in patches on their scalp. In this condition, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss. Individuals suffering with active Alopecia Areata are not good candidates for hair restoration procedures as there is risk that the transplanted hair could be affected. Some surgeons may consider hair restoration if the condition has been inactive for approximately two years.
Traction Alopecia is hair loss that is caused by constant tension on the hair, often the result of certain hairstyles. It can be caused by the frequent wearing of tight braids, hair extensions, and tight buns. The hairs of the hairline (frontal and temporal regions) are most commonly affected. For most individuals choosing a hairstyle that put less stress on the hair will alleviate the hair loss. Hair restoration may be considered for patients with permanent hair loss secondary to traction alopecia.
Trichotillomania is a disorder characterized by repeated pulling of the hair. Individuals may pull on hair in the scalp, eyebrows, beard, or any other area of the body. The simplest solution for patients suffering from Trichotillomania is to cease pulling the hair. This is often difficult as the hair pulling is a compulsion over which patient often has little control. Hair restoration is a possibility for individuals who have ceased pulling their hair and have their condition under control.
Types of Permanent Hair Loss
Triangular Alopecia is a form of hair loss that is most noticeable between the ages of 2 and 5 as a child’s hair begins to grow. Triangular Alopecia also known as temporal alopecia presents as a triangular or oval area at the front of the scalp that is bald or has very limited fine hair. Individuals affected may be treated with hair restoration procedures once it is safe for them to do so.
Senile Alopecia is a condition that only affects older adults and is characterized by thinning hair all over the body as the individual ages.
Scars caused by burns, surgery or injuries can cause permanent hair loss and can often be ameliorated with a hair restoration procedure.
Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common cause of permanent hair loss and is commonly referred to as “male pattern baldness” in men and “female genetic alopecia” in women. This is a condition caused by a combination of both genetics and hormones, and can affect men and women alike. There is a normal maturation of the hair growth pattern in all men by their early 20’s, often detectable as a slight recession of the hairline. Male Pattern Baldness, however, is characterized by a progressively receding hairline often accompanied by hair loss in the crown region. Hair loss actually begins long before it is noticeable; approximately 50 percent of the hairs in a given area are lost before noticeable thinning becomes apparent. As hair loss progresses, patients often seek treatment to reverse or minimize ongoing hair loss.
Most hair transplantation procedures are performed on patients suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia. Hair Restoration procedures transfer non-balding hairs to bald areas, where they retain their non-balding qualities. These hairs provide a permanent correction for the previous hair loss.