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About Hair Loss

 



Besides the most common cause, male pattern baldness, there are several other causes of hair thinning or loss.


 



Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder also known as "spot baldness" that can result in hair loss ranging from just one location (Alopecia areata monolocularis) to every hair on the entire body (Alopecia areata universalis). Although thought to be caused by hair follicles' becoming dormant, what triggers alopecia areata is not known. In most cases the condition corrects itself, but it can also spread to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or to the entire body (alopecia universalis).


 



Traction alopecia is most commonly found in people with ponytails or cornrows who pull on their hair with excessive force. In addition, rigorous brushing and heat styling, rough scalp massage can damage the cuticle, the hard outer casing of the hair. This causes individual strands to become weak and break off, reducing overall hair volume.



 


Hair loss due to scarring of the scalp is called scarring alopecia. Scarring can be due to a variety of causes. Traction alopecia over a period of time may lead to scarring and permanent hair loss. Treichotillomania (compulsive hair-plucking) can cause permanent scalp scarring over time.


Injury to the scalp caused by physical trauma or bums may leave permanent scars and permanent hair loss. Diseases that may cause permanent hair loss due to scalp scarring include (1) the autoimmune conditions lupus erythematosus and scleroderma, and (2) bacterial infections such as folliculitis, fungal infections, and viral infections such as shingles (herpes zoster).

 

 



Trichotillomania is the loss of hair caused by compulsive pulling and bending of the hairs. Onset of this disorder tends to begin around the onset of puberty and usually continues through adulthood. Due to the constant extraction of the hair roots, permanent hair loss can occur.


 

 


The cause of triangular alopecia is not known, but the condition can often be treated medically or surgically. 

The characteristic pattern of hair loss in triangular alopecia is thinning or complete loss of hair in the scalp area aroud the temples. If hair loss is not complete, the remaining hairs are often “miniaturized”-fine-textured hairs of thin diameter. Triangular alopecia sometimes begins in childhood with unexplained hair loss in the temporal areas of the scalp.

 

 



Telogen effluvium is the name given to hair loss that is caused when a large percentage of scalp hair follicles are shifted into the telogen or “shedding phase” of hair growth. See for more information. The cause of this abnormally timed telogen phase may be hormaona, nutritional, drug-related or associated with stress.


 

 


Loose-anagen syndrome occures most frequently in fair-haired persons. During the anagen (growth) cycle of hair, scalp hairs sit so loosely in the follicles from which they grow that they can be easily extracted by combing or brushing. The condition may appear in childhood and gradually improve or disappear over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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