Types Of Alopecia

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is characterized by patchy scalp hair loss which occasionally affects every hair follicle on the scalp (alopecia totalis), or body (alopecia universalis).

The disease usually occurs between the the ages of adolescence and 30 years, but can appear at any age, affecting both sexes equally. Alopecia Areata has a rapid onset but tends to spontaneously reverse.

The cause of Alopecia Areata is unclear, however, genetic factors, auto-immune mechanisms, and the occurrence of stressful and/or emotional problems shortly before the hair loss are all thought to influence the condition.

Treatments for the disease include steroid shots, squaric acid dibutyl ester, diphencyprone, and hypnotherapy.

Telogen Effluvium

This hair loss condition, which occurs mainly in women, is usually caused by a temporary disturbance to the hair cycle causing the growing (anagen) hairs to prematurely enter the resting (telogen) phase of the hair cycle.

Stress, illness, medication, anemia, and weight loss are the most common causes, however, many other factors can also influence this condition.

The treatment for telogen effluvium depends on why the individual is losing his/her hair.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is the loss or damage of scalp hair through repeated pulling or twisting due to irresistible compulsive impulses.

Trichotillomania is more common among children than adults and occurs more than twice as frequently in women than in men. It often occurs with bulimia nervosa in teenage girls.

The clinical feature of Trichotillomania is plucked hair from the side of the scalp favouring the “dominant” hand. Occasionally, the whole scalp is affected and, in rare cases, other body sites are involved. In some cases the hair can be chewed, eaten and/or swallowed; this is called Trichophagy.

The condition is often compared to other “comforting” habits, such as thumb sucking and nail biting. Behavioral modification through hypnotherapy and aversion therapy, psychotherapy, and medication with imipramine or clomipramine are treatments used with varying degrees of success.

Cicatricial Alopecia

Cicatricial alopecia is hair loss which occurs with the destruction of the hair follicles.

It can be caused by a disease affecting the follicles themselves, or by some process external to them. The follicles may be absent as a result of trauma such a burn or a blow or cut to the head or they may have been destroyed by a specific infection.

The hair loss can be patchy or diffuse (evenly spaced). A biopsy is usually performed to identify the exact cause of this type of alopecia.

Treatment for cicatricial alopecias are limited as they are usually permanent, however, systemic or topical corticosteroids are often used to reduce the inflammation and slow the progress of the disease.

Traction Alopecia

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Traction alopecia is the breaking of the hair by friction or tension due to vigorous brushing, blow drying, and/or chemical overprocessing.

The area of the scalp most affected tends to be around the hair line. The hair usually regrows fully.

 

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