Hair loss has had an effect on millions of children and adults. Half of the adults tend to experience thinning at the age of 6o with some of them becoming completely bald. This kind of hair loss which may lead to total baldness is different from the one normally experienced when one goes to the bathroom and loses some hair when shampooing. There is a difference between the normal loss of hair and loss of hair due to a medical condition, genetics or diet. A normal person loses about 100 hairs per day, anyone who loses an amount of hair more than that is said to be having an abnormal hair loss and needs to be checked by a doctor in order to diagnose his/her condition.

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Hair loss can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the factor that contributes to it. These factors vary from genetics to diet. So what are these hair loss ailments and conditions that one needs to be aware of? There are a number of hair loss ailments;

Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)

Androgenetic alopecia is also known as male-pattern baldness. This is the type of hair thinning that is characterized by an M-shaped pattern. Hair loss is experienced on the crown and temples of the head but with a sparing on the back and sides. The pattern is a reflection of androgen-sensitive follicles distribution among many individuals. From puberty, the anagen phase is shortened by androgens which enhance follicular miniaturization, which in turn leads to hair formation that is vellus-like and gradual thinning of hair. In women, however, the thinning appears in the frontal and central scalp area. In treating Androgenetic Alopecia, Minoxidil and finasteride are the single approved medications by the U.S Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). The treatment of AGA is aimed at decreasing the activities of androgen in the body.

Hair Loss

Telogen Effluvium

This condition comes up when there is a disruption of the hair’s normal balance in rest and growth stages. The shedding of hair leads to a reduction in the amount of hair present in the axillary, pubic areas and the scalp. When a pluck test is done in an individual suffering from Telogen Effluvium, the patients are often found with sign of having had an inciting event 3 to 4 months before the loss of hair. This condition does not require any specific hair loss treatment since hair regrowth occurs in a normal way with time. The condition can be caused by stress, injury, severe fevers such as malaria, chronic illness, major surgery and use of drugs and toxins.

Alopecia Areata

This condition is evidenced by signs of complete loss of hair in a localized area. This condition can affect both the scalp and the entire body. The one that extends to the scalp is known as alopecia totalis while that which affects the entire body is called alopecia universalis. Recovery from the condition is spontaneous and happens between 6 to 12 months with different pigmentation of hair in the regrowth areas. Alopecia areata treatments include biological response modifiers and immunomodulating agents. For those with severe diseases which do not respond to the medical treatments available, transplants are recommended.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a psychiatric impulse-control disorder. It is prevalent in children between the ages of 8 and 12; 8 in boys and 12 in girls. The most common part involved is the scalp. Other body parts can also be affected by this condition. In this hair loss condition, a bizarre pattern is followed, and it has incomplete clearing areas. The main treatment methods that are used for this condition are counseling, hypnosis and behavior modification due to the psychological nature of the ailment. In some cases, medications for obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression may also be used.

Traction Alopecia

This condition is brought about by grooming styles that make the victims lose their hair unintentionally. Wearing of tight braids on the head often leads to breakage of the outer hair and high tension on the same hair. Female athletes are also frequent victims of this condition because of the common practice of tightly pulling their hair in ponytails. The loss of hair is experienced in the temporal and frontal areas depending on one’s hairstyle.

Tinea Capitis

This fungal infection is caused by Trichophyton or Microsporum dermatophytes species. It is common among prepubertal patients. This ailment results in frequent breakage, fragility and widespread loss of hair. It can be treated using oral antifungal agents.

Cicatricial Alopecia

This ailment causes permanent loss of hair. The disorders involved in this condition completely destroy the hair follicles, leaving them with no hopes of regrowth. This permanent hair loss results from failure of the stem cell. Anyone suffering from Cicatricial alopecia should be prompt to see a physician who has specialized in hair loss treatment.