Alopecia and other forms of hair loss
Alopecia is the general scientific term for hair loss / baldness. There are many subtypes including: Alopecia: Androgenetica, Totalis, Areata, Traction alopecia and Alopecia Universalis. The following diagrams represent the more common forms. If you look for a picture that most resembles your form of hair loss, you will find a link to it on the right hand side of the page.
This first step in identifying the type of loss that you are experiencing is crucial to finding a solution for it. For example a male may experience a patch of hair loss within the crown area of the scalp. If the patch came about extremely rapidly and is silky smooth when touched, it could be areata.
Alopecia areata treatment for women often gets confused with other forms of loss. If the loss slowly started to thin until it eventually became a bald patch but still has baby fine ( vellus ) hair in it, the cause is more likely to to be androgenetic - common male pattern baldness.
The treatment for areata will focus on the immune system, but treatments for male pattern baldness will focus on dihydrotestosterone and prostaglandin inhibition.
Single Patch Alopecia Areata
Areata can often appear very suddenly with no known reason, so that hair loss suddenly appears in defined areas. Often it will follow an event that upsets the immune system, for example a major stress, illness or infection can trigger the hair loss. What most people do not appreciate when dealing with stress, is that cortisol is released during a stressful period and can upset the immune system - areata being immune related. Common treatment for areata is to simply observe and do nothing, as a high percentage of cases will reverse their hair loss without treatment.
Alopecia areata treatment for women often includes steroid creams or injections, however recent research is beginning to question whether suppression of the immune system is the best way to tackle auto-immune diseases. This recent research suggest that immune suppression may actually make the problem worse longer term.
Total Scalp Loss - Retaining Eyebrows
Totalis and universalis are effectively a more advanced stage of areata. It follows that the treatment approach for this pattern of hair loss is the same as areata.
The conventional view on male pattern baldness was that the hormone dihydrotestosterone is the underlying cause. Hence DHT inhibition was used to help this form of loss. What has recently emerged is that balding scalps ( of men with pattern baldness) have more cells that produce a certain class of prostaglandins ( localised hormones ) and treatment is likely to move in the direction of inhibition of these prostaglandins to reverse the baldness.
Female baldness can be a little more difficult to get to the bottom of: If the temples are receding, there is usually an underlying higher production of androgens - male hormones. There can be a number of reasons for this: During menopause and the period approaching menopause, progesterone and estrogen production falls. The body compensates by up regulation of male hormones. Baldness in the temple region is not seen unless there is an increase in androgen production.
Stress can also have an impact on the production of androgens as can extreme physical exercise. High stress levels as well as low thyroid function ( see free report ) can cause diffuse hair loss ( thinning ) but so can increased androgens. Cystic ovaries or polycyctic ovarian syndrome can also raise androgens leading to hair loss.
When Calosol alopecia areata treatment for women is used for her hair loss, it is also important to pay attention to iron stores ( ferritin levels ) as these can impact on the speed of recovery - see free report here.
Barbea is simply areata but contained in the beard / neck region. It is therefore treated the same way as areata. Darker haired men seem to report the problem more than fair haired men. However that may just be because the patches are more visible on a darker beard area. Many do not think about it as baldness that would normally been seen on the scalp. However it responds to the same treatment that regular areata responds to.