The medical term for hair loss is “alopecia.” Alopecia does not refer to one specific type of hair loss but is more of an umbrella term for any form of hair loss1. Alopecia can be caused by many different factors ranging from genetic to the environmental.
Common Types of Hair Loss
Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) is the most common form of hair loss, affecting 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States2. It is usually referred to as male or female pattern baldness because the hair is lost in a specific pattern. In males, it begins at the temples and recedes the hairline creating an M shape, coupled with thinning hair at the top of the head or crown. In females, hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline does not recede.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is considered to be the second most common form of hair loss. There are three stages in the hair growth cycle. Telogen is the last phase where the hair shaft falls out3. Usually, the average human loses roughly 50 to 100 hairs a day especially when washing and brushing their hair. But if there is a greater outflow of hair, then it’s considered to be telogen effluvium.
Alopecia areata (AA) is the third most common form of hair loss. In this case, the hair loss is caused by an autoimmune skin disease, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy hair follicles. Over 6.6 million people in the United States have, had, or will develop alopecia areata at some point in their lives4.
Other Types of Hair Loss
Scarring Alopecia, also referred to as cicatricial alopecia, refers to a collection of rare disorders that destroy hair follicles. It’s less common but is diagnosed in up to 3% of hair loss patients1. The follicles are replaced with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss5. Some example disorders are dissecting cellulitis and folliculitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp, causing scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff6. Some people develop inflammation around the hair follicles that leads to hair loss because the hair cannot grow back. If the scalp remains untreated, it can lead to permanent hair loss.
Traction alopecia means hair loss around the temple or behind the ears due to traction or pulling typically from wearing hair in ponytails, braids, hair weaves, headbands and other hair accessories10. The constant tension in the affected area can cause the hair to be pulled from the roots directly or the hair follicles to become inflamed, preventing hair from growing.
Hair Loss from Infectious Agents
Tinea Capitis is the term used for a fungal infection, or ringworm, affecting the scalp. The fungus continues growing along the hair strand, invading keratin as it is formed, causing hair to break off resulting in patches of hair loss7.
Piedra (Trichomycosis Nodularis) is another condition where hair loss is attributed to a fungal infection. In this case, hard nodules or ascostromas form on hair fibers8 causing the hair shaft to become brittle and break.
Hair Loss From Hair Shaft Defects
Loose anagen syndrome or loose hair syndrome occurs because there is a lack of adhesion between the hair shaft and the root sheath, which causes the hair fiber to be poorly anchored in the hair follicle. There are three different kinds characterized by loss of hair density, unruly hair or normal appearing hair with excessive shedding9.
Monilethrix is a condition that affects hair growth. The hair has a beaded appearance due to periodic narrowing of the hair shaft. The hair on the back of the head or nape of the neck is affected causing short, brittle hair that breaks easily11.
Trichorrhexis nodosa is a problem in which thickened or weak points (nodes) along the hair shaft cause your hair to break off easily12. It can be caused by everyday activities like blow-drying, over-brushing, perming, or excessive dying or from medical conditions like hypothyroidism or iron deficiency.
Other Medical Conditions Associated With Hair Loss
Congenital Hypotrichosis is the term dermatologists use to describe a condition of no hair growth1. It differs from alopecia where hair actually did exist originally, while in hypotrichosis there was never any hair at all.
Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder that involves recurrent and irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp13. There are two kinds, focused (where people do it intentionally as a relief from stress) and automatic (where people pull our their hair without realizing it).
Is Robotic Hair Restoration The Solution?
These types of hair loss tend to be more complex and may or may not be amenable to hair transplant surgery at RHRLI. For more information, please call our office at (516) 605-1545 to discuss your particular case with our team or fill out the free consultation form.