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One of the first questions patients ask when they come in for a consultation is “why am I losing my hair?” It is necessary to answer this question in order to properly manage and treat hair loss because we want to make sure we are addressing the problem or cause. Although there are many factors that can contribute to hair thinning or loss in women, there are five main types of hair loss that we typically see in patients at Medi Tresse. These various types of hair loss all present differently and often require different evaluations and treatments.

Androgenic Alopecia

This is the most common cause of hair thinning and loss in women. It is also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss, or FPHL. Up to 50 % of women have some degree of this in their lifetime. It certainly is more common as women age, particularly after menopause, but it can start as early as the teenage years. We know that it tends to run in families but sometimes there is no family history. Inheritance can be from either the mother or father. We know that hormones play a role in this type of hair loss, especially the “androgenic” hormones such as testosterone. The hair loss is typically more pronounced in the frontal areas of the scalp. Over time the hair shaft gets thinner in a process known as “miniaturization”. Eventually if not treated, the affected hair will continue to get smaller and disappear completely.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium is a common and temporary cause of hair loss. It usually presents as a diffuse hair loss, meaning coming from all parts of the scalp. Most commonly a woman will see increased shedding of hair. This can be caused by pregnancy, rapid weight loss, protein deficiency, emotional stress, physical illness, surgery, trauma, and some medications. Fortunately, it is usually reversible and complete regrowth occurs in about a year.

Traction Alopecia

This type of hair loss occurs from pulling the hair too tightly over prolonged periods of time. This commonly occurs with use of dread locks, cornrows, or tight ponytails. The constant pulling puts pressure on the hair follicle and can lead to permanent loss.

Alopecia Areata

This form of hair loss is an “autoimmune” disease, meaning the body causes inflammation around the hair follicle preventing it from growing. Most often it presents as a coin shaped lesion or discrete patches of hair loss with sharp borders. Less commonly it can be more diffuse. Women with Alopecia Areata can have hair loss in other areas beside the scalp, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

Scarring Alopecia

This is a rare type of hair loss, which is due to inflammation around the hair follicle. There often are areas with white scales surrounding an area of inflammation, which then leads to scarring in that area. The hair follicles are actually destroyed and disappear.

If you think you may suffer from any type of hair loss it is important to see a hair loss specialist as soon as possible so that you can diagnose the cause and get the appropriate treatment, which will give you the best chance of stopping and reversing the hair loss.

Posted By Your Medi Tresse Team