Common Types of Hair Loss Explained
From giving up sex to rubbing caffeine directly into your hair follicles, much has been discussed in the public sphere about ways to combat hair loss, but little has been actively done to educate around the types of hair loss one may suffer from over the course of their lifetime
While a certain number of factors can impact the growth or depletion of a hair follicle, it’s likely to be the result of a specific type of hair loss. That’s not to mention the fact that each hair follicle has its own life cycle and that they can be influenced by age, disease and environmental factors. Even your choice of headwear can, over time, affect the length, quality and growth of your hair!
Bessam Farjo, director of the Institute of Trichologists and founder of the Farjo Hair Institute talks us through the most common types of hair loss.
Male pattern baldness
Male pattern hair loss – also called androgenic alopecia – occurs when there is a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the head. Typically, the hairline moves backwards and forms an ‘M’ shape, particularly receding along the temples. Hair will become finer, shorter and thinner and can also leave the crown revealed, which is when talk of toupees becomes less of a joke and more of a potential reality! While it’s a condition that men will be more predisposed to, a hair transplant becomes a viable option if there is enough donor hair to supply the site with.
Female pattern hair loss typically involves a general thinning of the hair across the entire scalp, with the more extensive – and obvious – loss occurring at the front, while the hairline itself won’t usually recede. The pace and severity of female pattern hair loss is far less drastic than with men, but it doesn’t mean it’s any more comfortable for the patient.
This condition is often referred to as ‘patchy’ hair loss, and it’s the cause of round areas of hair loss which can affect the scalp, face, eyebrows, legs, arms, or anywhere that hair naturally grows. It often makes sudden appearances, but the hair usually grows back within six months to a year, so it’s a short-term concern for many. However, the patch of baldness may wander, expand or retract rather than clear totally. It’s generally considered an autoimmune condition, as the body is effectively attacking itself. In particularly bad cases, it can lead to alopecia totalis, where the entire scalp or affected area loses all of its follicles. Long-term treatments – such as stimulating ointments and topical creams or injectable drugs– are amongst the solutions to this.
This is one for the ladies (and gents) who add extensions or engage in tight hairstyles or braiding. Traction alopecia occurs when there is pressure on the hair follicles, due to the extensions and glue pulling on the hair follicles.
This is a psychological condition that some people suffer from, where they have the habit of voluntarily pulling or twisting hair out from the scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows. It’s most frequently seen in children but does affect adults, too. While we would never advocate a transplant until the underlying psychological problems that led to this condition are well and truly treated, it’s often a positive final step on their route to recovery, as well.
While there are a number of types of hair loss, it’s still not known why some follicles are programmed to have a shorter growth period than others – the gene bank of mum and dad, stress, childbirth, hormones or cosmetic procedures also impact the quality of your hair over the years. If you’re in doubt, it’s always worthwhile seeking the advice of a professional and have your concerns appeased.