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Hair: Most Common Hair Loss

Introduction

Hair loss is a common concern for men and women of all ages, races and ethnic background. There are a number of sociological reasons for hair loss concerns which will not be covered in this article.

Instead, this article covers the most common forms of hair loss which can impact men, women and children.

The major hair loss type include:

  • Alopecia Areata
  • Androgenetic Alopecia
  • Anagen Effluvium
  • Telogen Effluvium
  • Scarring Alopecia
  • Self Induced Hair Loss

Although most people experience consistent hair cycle phases, depending on a variety of factors, the cycles may not fall into the same consistency for all.

Alopecia Areata

This disease linked to auto-immune diseases appears for many (male and females) during childhood. It initially appears as a bare patch of skin with rounded borders approximately one inch in diameter.

As the disease progresses, depending on the type that it is, the bald patch will continue to progress.

Alopecia Areata can take three forms which are: Areata - mild patchy hair loss along the scalp Totalis - complete loss of all scalp hair Universalis - complete loss of all hair on the scalp and body including eyebrows and eyelashes.

Alopecia Areata is considered the least severe with Universalis being the most drastic form of hair loss.

Because Alopecia Areata is considered to be an immune system disease, scientists and doctors believe the body's immune system views hair follicles as foreign objects and thus attacks and destroys them.

It is believed that white blood cells which are known as T-lymphocytes aggressively target hair follicles pushing them prematurely into the resting phase and evenutally into the a loss cycle. Until the immune system issues are resolved and the T-lymphocytes stop attacking the follicles, the hair will not regrow.

Depending on a variety of factors Alopecia Areata may or may not be permanent. There is no known cure for Alopecia Areata which make it heart breaking for young children with the disease.

Medically prescribed treatments are available with no guarantee or success. Some believe that the Alopecia Areata must run its course and that medical intervention will not be of any major assistance. Others disagree.

Treatments are based on the amount of hair loss that has been experienced. Alopecia Areata is considered mild if less than 50% of the hair has fallen out and more severe if more than 50% has fallen.

Mild Cases Of Alopecia Treatment Options

Mild cases of Alopecia Areata (less than half of hair loss) is generally treated with one or more of the following options:

  • Cortocosteroids applied via a cream or lotion to bald patches. For more severe cases cortosteroid injections may be applied.
  • Dithranol is a tar-like ointment that can be applied to the scalp.
  • Retin A - Tretinoin available as a gel mixed with Minoxidil.
  • Topical Minoxidil which has not been proven significantly effective.
  • Zinc treatments both oral zince and applied as a gel.

Severe Cases Of Alopecia Treatment Options

Severe cases of Alopecia Areata (more than half of hair loss) is generally treated with one or more of the following options:

  • Oral cortisone
  • PUVA Treatments
  • Irritants applied to the scalp to divert T-lymohcytes away from hair follicles.
  • Immune Suppressent Drugs

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- Revised Publication Date: 10/19/10

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