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The different types of baldness

There are different types of baldness, each with its own symptoms and varying degrees of severity. To help you determine what type of hair loss you are suffering from, we have put together a detailed list of the most common and rare types of baldness and we have walked you through how to deal with it.

Alopecia or baldness is a general term for the loss of more hair than it grows back, which results in thinning or bald hair. Alopecia can occur at any age. It mainly affects the scalp, but can sometimes stop the growth of hair on the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes or other parts of the body.

Common types of baldness

Androgenetic alopecia

What is androgenetic alopecia?

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Androgenetic alopecia (inherited hair loss) is one of the most common types of hair loss. It affects the majority of men, but also manifests in many women.

 

Hair loss is inherited from the mother. It is therefore more likely to go bald if the maternal grandfather was affected by hair loss than the paternal grandfather. However, the carrier of the hair loss gene has no specific time limit: generations can be skipped. Likewise, each generation can also lose excess hair. Therefore, examination of the immediate family is not a key factor in determining the genetic risk for hair loss, although it does provide some interesting information.

 

Androgenetic alopecia occurs in about 90% of men over the age of 21. At first, the hairline in the temple area (receding hairline) recedes. About 50% of men over 40 have androgenetic alopecia on the back of the head.

What are the causes of androgenetic alopecia?

The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase and the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are responsible for this type of hair loss . The enzyme converts testosterone into DHT. This in turn reduces the number of hair follicles and causes the membranes of the scalp to harden and the sebaceous glands to release more fat in the scalp and hair. The result is a miniaturization of the follicles. This means that they produce increasingly thinner and thinner hair until the follicles eventually die and the hair that has fallen out can no longer be replaced by hair that grows back.

 

Research has shown that hair loss is not due to excess DHT, but a genetic predisposition that affects DHT and thus weakens the hair follicle. Although androgenetic alopecia is primarily a male problem, it can also occur in women. There are specific treatments for both sexes for this type of hair loss.

 

If you are suffering from hair loss, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are one of the best hair clinics out there and are here for you. Our hair specialists will examine you free of charge and without obligation and will show you the possible solutions.

Diffuse alopecia

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Diffuse alopecia refers to the gradual loss of hair all over the head. During the disease, the hair becomes weak and thinner. Sometimes light spots appear on the head. Total baldness is not to be feared. Diffuse alopecia affects both men and women.

 

Diffuse alopecia can have many different causes. It can develop due to, among others, the following factors:

 

  • Endocrine gland disorders, such as hyperthyroidism or underactive thyroid.

 

  • Medications, such as anticoagulants, chemotherapy drugs, psychotropic drugs, oral contraceptives (the pill), excessive doses of vitamin A or lithium carbonate.

 

  • Poor diet: Malnutrition with too little iron and zinc can lead to dry, brittle and thin hair. Hair roots can crack and break easily in these places. Black hair can turn reddish. Some diseases related to eating disorders also affect the health of the hair. Anorexia, for example, weakens the hair and causes it to fall out.

 

  • Diffuse alopecia can be prevented and treated. By eating a balanced diet, you can make sure your hair gets all the nutrients it needs and stays healthy.

 

Is your hair falling out? Are you wondering if you are affected by diffuse alopecia? Don't hesitate and let a hair transplant specialist examine you. The sooner you get an accurate diagnosis, the sooner you will find your lost hair.

Constrained baldness

What is circumscribed baldness (alopecia areata)?

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Circumscribed baldness, also known as alopecia areata or alopecia areata, small bald patches appear on one or more areas of the scalp or other parts of the body. The course of the disease is difficult to predict and is very individual. In some cases, alopecia areata can lead to complete hair loss.

Cob hairs are often found at the edge of bald, usually circular areas in the hair. These are exclamation mark shaped hairs that can be easily pulled out.

The course of alopecia areata is difficult to predict. In some cases, the hair begins to grow back after a few weeks. In other cases, the disease progresses and can even lead to complete loss of hair, including all hair on the body.

What is circumscribed baldness (alopecia areata)?

The cause of this type of hair loss is not completely understood. The tissue surrounding the hair follicle becomes inflamed, but without a scar. Researchers suspect that the inflammation is caused by an immune reaction and that the follicle is attacked by its own antibodies.

 

Alopecia areata can affect both men and women. In some people, hair loss can occur after an event such as illness, pregnancy, or trauma.

Causes of alopecia areata

The factors associated with the development of alopecia areata are:

  • Genetic profile (about a fifth of people with this condition have a family history of alopecia)

 

  • Hypersensitivity characterized by a familial tendency

 

  • Specific immune reactions or autoimmune disease of certain organs

  • Emotional stress

Alopecia areata often starts in one or two small areas, usually on the scalp. However, it can also be found in the beard, eyebrows, arms, or legs. The bald patches form the shape of a small coin. They are smooth, circular and can take on the color of a peach. It is also not uncommon for pimples, a burning sensation or itching to appear with alopecia areata.

 

Nevertheless, the prognosis is generally good and the hair will come back after a year in about 80% of cases. However, it is necessary to seek the help of hair experts who can advise you on the most suitable products or therapies. To treat alopecia areata, doctors usually use corticosteroids, which reduce swelling and pain, injected into the skin, taken by mouth (tablets), or to the skin as a cream or lotion. Minoxidil also offers good results. This drug stimulates hair growth and delays alopecia.

Traction alopecia

What is traction alopecia?

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Traction alopecia is hair loss caused by prolonged traction, that is, physical action on the hair. This doesn't mean that a bun or a ponytail is bad for your hair on its own. However, if you tie your hair tightly every day, signs of traction alopecia may appear after a while:

  • Local hair loss or hair breakage in areas of strong traction. Hair loss due to bun or braids is most evident at the roots.

 

  • At first, hair loss manifests as frizz. Short hair sticks out from the head or stands out against your haircut.

 

  • The type of stress influences the onset of hair loss. Your forehead line may fade or have more short hair.

 

If you have these signs and style your hair regularly, you may have traction alopecia.

How does traction alopecia develop?

A healthy hair is able to support a weight of about 100 grams. However, with a hairstyle well attached, stronger pulling forces can be at work. This strain is not good for the roots of the scalp - the longer the traction lasts, the more damaging its effect on the roots of the hair.

 

Prolonged stress on the hair damages the hairline over time. Hair grows back only thin and fine. If nothing is done to change this condition, the growth phases become shorter and the hair ends up falling out. If this process is repeated, the hair root eventually stops functioning - no more hair grows back. A similar situation occurs when the hair, including the root and the follicle surrounding it, is forcibly pulled from the scalp.

 

In everyday life, but especially in hairdressing, there are several extreme stresses which, if they occur repeatedly and over a long period of time, can lead to traction alopecia:

  • Regular use of curlers

  • Frequent wearing of extensions attached directly to the hairline

  • Strong traction on the hair, for example when brushing or combing

  • Fixed hairstyles such as bun, braids, dreadlocks or cornrows

  • Frequent drying or smoothing

  • Wear a helmet or headband at all times

  • The weight of very long and thick hair

  • Trichotillomania, a mental disorder in which sufferers pull their hair out

The easiest way to fight traction alopecia is to avoid the trigger. In practical terms, this means that you don't have to wear the same hairstyle all the time - always give your hair a break by leaving it loose or tying it up lightly. If you absolutely want to wear a braid, don't wrap your scrunchie around your hair so much that it doesn't have any suppleness, and don't pull it too tight against your head. A braid can look beautiful even if your hair is only loosely tied up. If the weight of your long, thick hair - despite loose styling - is putting pressure on the roots, consider cutting a few inches off. Be careful not to put too much strain on your hair in other ways, such as brushing or straightening it more often.

Rarer types of baldness

Scarring alopecia

What is cicatricial alopecia?

Scarring alopecia is caused by damaged or destroyed hair follicles that are replaced by scar tissue. This means that no new hair can grow. This type of hair loss is not very common. It is only seen in about three percent of all women and men affected by hair loss. Scarring alopecia usually occurs unnecessarily and equally in both sexes.

Types of cicatricial alopecia

Scarring alopecia is usually triggered by inflammation. There are different types of this type of hair loss:

Primary cicatricial alopecia

It is caused by disorders in the development of hair follicles or by hereditary changes.

Primary acquired scar alopecia

There are autoimmune reactions of the body to hair follicles and certain skin diseases of unknown origin that occur at the same time as scarring alopecia.

Secondary cicatricial alopecia

In this case, the follicle is not the real target of the inflammatory process. Rather, it is destroyed indirectly, concomitantly with infection, tumor or by external factors such as radiation, burns or injury. A fungal infection of the scalp can also lead to scarring alopecia.

Symptoms of cicatricial alopecia

The hallmark is slow, asymmetrical hair loss with scarring. This phenomenon is often accompanied by redness, scaling, itching, blisters or pustules. There may also be a burning sensation or pain in the areas of the scalp where the hair is increasingly falling out. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the chances of it being brought under control with appropriate treatment.

 

Usually, scarred alopecia can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids (abbreviated as corticosteroids), or antibiotics to prevent harmful cells from destroying hair follicles. If the follicles have already been destroyed, treatment is recommended so that healthy hair follicles are not affected.

Total alopecia (alopecia totalis)

Alopecia totalis affects both men and women. It is an advanced form of alopecia areata which results in complete loss of hair on the head and face. The chances that hair loss will go away on its own once this stage is reached is slim, although in a few cases the hair follicles may grow back.

Universal alopecia (alopecia universalis)

The most advanced form of alopecia areata, alopecia, usually occurs later in life and affects both men and women. This condition results in total loss of hair all over the body and is caused by a chromosomal mutation at birth. Although there is no cure, it has been found that in some cases, hair grows back on its own.

Anagen effluvium

Usually caused by cancer drugs. Anagen effluvium causes irregular hair loss and ultimately total hair loss (usually hair grows back after stopping treatment).

Frontal fibrosing alopecia

This condition is also characterized by hair loss and scarring on the scalp near the forehead. About half of people with fibrosing alopecia of the forehead also lose their eyebrows, and in some cases even their eyelashes.

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