6 Types of Hair Loss & How to Treat Them
Updated: Aug 23, 2022
For most of us, our hair is our crown and glory. That’s why hair loss can be a sensitive subject for many. Each year, men and women are plagued with bald spots and receding hairlines. By the age of 50, at least 40% of women will be affected by hair loss, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This number can nearly double for men. Some embrace their new looks, but others struggle to find a solution. Treating hair loss can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
As you age, your chances of developing hair loss increase year over year. The questions then become, “what are hair loss causes, how can you prevent it, and what are the best treatment options for those affected by hair loss?” Read on to learn the answers.
What is Hair Loss?
Before we dive into hair loss causes, it’s important to understand that hair loss should not be confused with hair shedding. It’s natural for our bodies to shed small amounts of hair daily, for men and women. Hair shedding can be worsened by conditions such as stress or childbirth, but these events are short-term and typically resolve independently. Real hair loss is excessive and long-term until the problem is identified and treated.
Hair loss is defined as the absence of hair or simply baldness. Its clinical term is alopecia. Alopecia can occur anywhere on the body where there is hair. However, the most common area of concern is the head.
Hair loss in both women and men can often be seen in small patches near the middle of the head or around the edges of the hair.
Hair Loss Isn't Your Fault
Although a large percent of the population experiences hair loss, most all hair loss causes are outside of our control. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) lists hair loss in women and men as a symptom of:
Your genetic makeup
Your immune system
Certain drugs and treatments for diseases
Tension on the head or forehead
Chemicals in hair products
Types of Hair Loss
The AAD classifies alopecia under several different categories. Each classification has different hair loss causes, symptoms, treatments, and hair loss prevention methods. Most all alopecia forms require a dermatologist’s diagnosis for treatment options. Here are six of the most common forms of hair loss:
Female-Pattern Hair Loss
The most common form of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss, otherwise referred to as FPHL. FPHL arises among most women because it is a hereditary condition of alopecia. It can be inherited from your mother, father, or both parents.
Similar to other forms of alopecia, FPHL starts small. Women will often notice thinner parts, ponytails, or edges.
Beginning around menopause in women, FPHL thins the hair without completing balding. As you grow older, hair thinning and recession can progressively get worse and worse. However, once diagnosed, FPHL can be treated.
Male-Pattern Hair Loss
Male-pattern hair loss is the most well-known form of balding seen in men. Most common in white men, male-pattern hair loss begins as early as your late teens and early twenties.
Male-pattern hair loss develops in one of two ways, a bald patch in the middle of the head or a receding hairline beginning at the forehead. If a man has male-pattern hair loss, the condition will most likely progressively worsen by age 50.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA)
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia or CCCA, is one of the leading forms of alopecia. Most notably seen in African American women, CCCA is a permanent form of hair loss that affects the entire head or scalp.
CCCA attacks and damages the hair follicle. The hair follicle is the part of the body responsible for regrowing hair. When CCCA takes hold of the hair follicle, it becomes challenging for you to regrow hair.
The first sign of CCCA is typically a balding or patchy area in the middle of the head. If left untreated, CCCA will only worsen. But, when caught and treated early, CCCA can be combatted.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA)
Another form of alopecia that destroys the hair follicle is frontal fibrosing alopecia or FFA. FFA begins at the hairline. Over time, FFA slowly recedes the edges of the hair and your eyebrows.
FFA is another form of hair loss that, if left untreated, can lead to irreparable damage to the hair. FFA can be diagnosed in women and men. However, it is slightly more common in women. Women typically do not see signs of FFA until at least two years after menopause has begun.
Alopecia Areata (AA)
Hereditary in nature, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when one or more bald patches affect a person’s head. Alopecia areata can develop in other areas of the body where there is hair. Unlike most forms of alopecia, alopecia areata develops in children and teenagers.
Alopecia areata can result from other medical conditions or prescribed medications. It can occur only once, or it can also happen in cycles. If it continues, it can signify a more severe form of alopecia or another condition altogether.
Lastly, there is traction alopecia. This form of hair loss stems from tight or tension-filled hairstyles.
Traction alopecia can often be prevented or reversed without the help of a dermatologist. The key is to let your hair down to rest between hairstyles.
Hair Loss Treatment and Prevention Methods
The first step in treating hair loss is seeking a dermatologist. A board-certified dermatologist can diagnose your exact form of alopecia. Once you detect which type of hair loss you are experiencing, you can begin a holistic regimen or the following treatment options at the advice of your dermatologist:
Female-Pattern Hair Loss & Male-Pattern Hair Loss: FPHL and male-pattern hair loss can be treated with different medication options, including minoxidil, spironolactone, finasteride, flutamide, or dutasteride. Each medication is FDA-approved. However, minoxidil is the only approved medication for FPHL. If you begin one of the medications, you must continue using the treatment option, or hair loss will return. Lasers and hair transplants are also alternative options.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia & Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: Because CCCA and FFA are so damaging, you must seek a dermatologist to find the right prescription.
Alopecia Areata: Alopecia areata requires a dermatologist consultation to begin treatment. A dermatologist’s prescribed therapy method can help hair regrow quicker to prevent new areas from forming. If you’re struggling with alopecia areata, Southern Connecticut Dermatology can offer holistic, dermatologist-prescribed hair loss treatment methods.
Over-the-counter and prescribed medication can be effective if taken continuously. However, there is a newer alternative method to treat hair loss that can yield a more permanent result, platelet-rich plasma or PRP.
PRP is a proven hair loss restoration method that promotes growth and decreases hair loss. The treatment infuses your blood growth factors into your scalp to promote organic hair growth.
Finding a Dermatologist
There are many forms of hair loss. Finding your exact diagnosis and treatment method requires a board-certified dermatologist. If you believe you are suffering from alopecia, Southern Connecticut Dermatology is available to diagnose and treat your hair loss. We are experts in diagnosing and holistically treating hair loss in its many forms.
Southern Connecticut offers PRP and other holistic hair loss solutions for all forms of hair loss. For more information or to schedule your first appointment, call (203) 323-5660