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Alopecia

'Alopecia' is the word used to describe any type of baldness/hair loss on the scalp, or of other hairy regions of the body and may be coupled with another word to give a specific meaning. For instance: ‘alopecia areata’ meaning ‘hair loss in areas’.

Most hair loss is not a disease but a perfectly normal process of aging and/or hormone change and put aside by many general practitioners because it is ‘not life threatening’, although it most certainly can be ‘life devastating’.

However, the fine line between normal and excessive loss of hair causes great concern to many, therefore correct diagnosis and care can alleviate worries during phases of patchy hair loss and diffuse shedding and thinning/balding. The psychological effects are far reaching.

It is normal for people to lose up to around 100 to 150 hairs a day. However, when hair begins to come out in a noticeable quantity there might be a reason that may require medical advice and relevant treatment.

Autoimmune Disease Hair Loss

Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Alopecia is classed as an autoimmune disease.

Alopecia Areata

In Alopecia Areata the hair loss occurs in sharply defined areas, usually on the scalp. It usually starts with small patches which can get larger and merge together. More often than not, alopecia areata resolves itself.

Alopecia Totalis

Alopecia Totalis is a form of Alopecia Areata in which all the hair on the scalp is lost.

Alopecia Universalis

Alopecia Universalis is a form of Alopecia in which all the hair on the scalp face, including eyebrows, eyelashes and body is lost.

Alopecia Berbae

Loss of facial hair (for a man). Especially in the beard area.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Also known as male and female pattern baldness. It is thinning of the hair to an almost transparent state, on both men and women. It is thought to be a hereditary form of hair loss and is now happening to younger men and women. It must be emphasised that most ladies do not lose follicles in the same manner as men, the effect is more diffuse loss than balding.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is usually due to excessive pulling or tension on the hair shafts as a result of certain hair styles. It is seen more often in women, particularly those of East Indian and Afro- Caribbean origin. |Hair loss depends in the way the hair is being pulled back. Prolonged traction alopecia can stop new follicles developing and lead to permanent hair loss.

Anagen Effluvium

This hair loss is generally caused by chemicals such as those used to treat cancer. Initially it causes patchy hair loss, which often becomes total hair loss. The good news is that when you stop using these chemicals the hair normally grows back. (Usually about 6 months later) Other drugs also can cause hair loss. Many medicines used to treat even common diseases can cause hair loss.

Scarring Alopecia

Scarring Alopecia is a form of alopecia which leaves scarring on the scalp area of hair loss. The hair follicles are irreversibly destroyed by scarring processes including trauma, burns, lupus ertthematosus, lichen planopilaris, scleroderma, folloculitis decalvans or uncertain causes.