The 11 Types of Alopecia (AND HOW TO FIX IT) - Dr. Berg
Understanding the different types of alopecia is crucial for anyone experiencing hair loss or seeking to support someone going through this challenging condition.
Alopecia, a term referring to various forms of hair loss, can manifest in several ways and has many underlying causes. Learn about the intricacies of the most common types of alopecia and their symptoms, as well as treatment options and natural remedies.
Postpartum Hair Loss
Many women experience postpartum alopecia shortly after giving birth, a temporary form of hair loss. This occurs due to rapid drops in estrogen levels that can cause shedding and thinning of hair. Fortunately, most women find their lost hair usually regrows within about a year without any intervention needed.
Estrogen level changes and temporary shedding
The hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy often lead to increased hair growth and thickness.
However, once the baby is born and estrogen levels decrease rapidly, it may increase hair shedding. It's worth noting that this kind of hair shedding isn't permanent and typically resolves when hormone levels become balanced again.
Natural recovery over time
In most cases, postpartum hair loss will resolve within 6-12 months after giving birth. As your body adjusts to its pre-pregnancy state, you should start noticing new hair growth, gradually filling the areas where you experienced thinning or bald patches.
To support healthy regrowth during this period:
Maintain a proper diet rich in hair health-promoting nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamins A and D.
Avoid tight hairstyles or excessive heat styling that could damage your fragile new hair.
Gently knead your scalp with aromatic oils like lavender or rosemary oil to encourage blood circulation and invigorate hair regrowth.
Consider using a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for thinning hair to minimize breakage and support new growth.
If your postpartum hair loss is causing you concern, it may be best to consult a healthcare professional or dermatologist for personalized advice and potential treatment options.
Postpartum hair shedding is a typical event that can be managed with the proper dietary and lifestyle choices. Alopecia is a more severe condition that should not be taken lightly.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes small, patchy bald spots on the scalp.
This type of hair loss has a genetic component and often affects members of the same family. It can resolve itself or require treatment to prevent progression into more severe forms like Alopecia totalis or universalis.
Autoimmune Causes of Hair Loss
In cases of Alopecia areata, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles, causing them to shrink and stop producing new hair.
It is theorized that genetics may contribute to the development of Alopecia areata, although the exact cause of this autoimmune disease remains unknown.
Some individuals with a family history of autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, might be at higher risk for developing alopecia areata.
Ophiasis alopecia is a rare form of alopecia areata, characterized by hair loss in a band-like pattern around the sides and lower back of the scalp. Due to its slower reaction to treatment than other types, those with ophiasis or alopecia areata should take immediate action to get the help they need.
While ophiasis alopecia shares some similarities with more common types of alopecia areata, its unique pattern sets it apart from other forms of diffuse alopecia.
The hair loss typically occurs along the sides and lower back area, resembling a band or ribbon shape.
Band-Like Pattern of Hair Loss
The specific cause behind ophiasis alopecia is not yet fully understood; however, like other types of alopecia that fall under the umbrella term "alopecia areata," it is believed that an autoimmune reaction may play a role in damaging hair follicles.
As with all cases involving hair loss, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in preventing further progression and promoting the regeneration of affected hair follicles.
Androgenic alopecia, also known as either male or female pattern hair loss, is a common type of hair loss affecting both men and women.
This condition is caused by elevated hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, leading to progressive hair thinning over time. In men, this often presents as a receding hairline or balding on the crown of the head, while in women, it typically causes diffuse thinning across the scalp.
DHT sensitivity in certain hair follicles is the root cause of androgenic alopecia, which can be inherited from either parent. DHT binds to receptors in hair follicles and gradually shrinks them, causing thinner hairs with each hair growth cycle until they eventually stop producing new hairs.
oss will resolve within 6-12 months after giving birth. As your body adjusts to its pre-pregnancy state, you should start noticing new hair growth, gradually filling the areas where you experienced thinning or bald patches.
Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss caused by continuous tension on the scalp's hair follicles. This can occur when individuals consistently wear tight hairstyles, such as ponytails or braids, over long periods. If left untreated, hair follicles can become permanently damaged.
Excessive Tension on Hair Follicles
The leading cause of traction alopecia is the constant pulling and stretching of hair due to tight hairstyles.
When these styles are worn regularly, they stress both the hair shafts and follicles, leading to irritation and weakening of hair follicles. Over time, this may result in thinning hair or even bald patches where tension has been most severe.
Ponytails: Wearing a tight ponytail frequently can lead to receding hairlines at the front or sides of your scalp.
Braids: Tight braiding can cause localized damage along specific parts of your scalp where each braid begins.
Hair extensions: The weight from added extensions combined with their attachment method (gluing or sewing) might strain your natural hairs excessively, causing damage and hair loss.
Importance of Early Professional Advice
If you suspect you're experiencing traction alopecia due to your hairstyle habits, seeking professional advice early on is essential. A dermatologist or trichologist will be able to assess your situation and recommend appropriate treatment options based on factors like severity and potential causes for hair loss.
Switching to a more natural hairstyle can assist in relieving the pressure on your hair follicles, enabling them to regenerate. However, if damage has already occurred, additional treatments may be necessary.
Alopecia totalis is a severe form of alopecia that results in complete baldness on the scalp. This condition often appears suddenly and unexpectedly, causing great distress to those affected.
The exact cause of alopecia totalis remains unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its healthy hair follicles.
Complete Scalp Hair Loss
In cases of alopecia totalis, individuals experience widespread hair loss across their entire scalp, leading to complete baldness.
Unlike other forms of alopecia, such as androgenic alopecia, where thinning may occur gradually over time or in specific areas only (e.g., receding hairline), this particular condition affects all regions simultaneously without any remaining patches left behind whatsoever.
Alopecia universalis is an extreme alopecia where complete hair loss occurs all over the body, including eyebrows and eyelashes.
This type of hair loss can be emotionally challenging for those affected, as it affects not only their appearance but also their self-esteem and confidence.
Widespread Hair Loss
Unlike other types of alopecia that primarily affect the scalp, alopecia universalis results in total hair loss on every body part.
This includes not just head hair but also facial hair, pubic hair, and even arm and leg hair. The exact cause behind this condition remains unknown. However, it’s believed to be an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles.
Chemotherapy-induced Hair Loss
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can cause temporary hair loss due to their effects on rapidly dividing cells within the body, including those responsible for producing new hairs.
Chemotherapy drugs work by targeting and killing fast-growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, this can also disrupt other rapidly dividing cells in the body, such as hair follicles, leading to widespread hair loss for some individuals during their treatment period.
The extent of this shedding varies from person to person and depends on factors like the specific chemotherapy drug used and individual response.
This type of hair loss is often distressing for patients undergoing treatment. Still, it's important to remember that, in most cases, according to the American Cancer Society, hair regrowth occurs after completing therapy sessions once normal cell division resumes.
Hair Regrowth After Therapy Completion
The good news is that once chemotherapy treatments are completed, and the body has had time to recover, it’s likely that hair begin to grow back. It may take several months for noticeable growth to occur, so patience is key during this process.
Remember that your new hair might have a different texture or color than before; however, these changes are usually temporary.
Taking care of your scalp: Gently cleanse with mild shampoos for sensitive scalps or post-chemo use. Avoid harsh chemicals or heat styling tools that could damage the new hair growth.
Scalp massages: Regularly massaging your scalp can help stimulate blood flow and promote healthy hair regrowth. Use gentle pressure and circular motions to avoid causing any discomfort or irritation.
Nutrition: A proper diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins is essential for healthy hair growth. Consider incorporating eggs, spinach, nuts, seeds, and fish into your meal plan to provide the nutrients for healthy hair.
Hormone Imbalances and Hair Loss
Hormone-related hair loss is linked to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can cause hair thinning across various scalp regions. The severity of this type of hair loss varies and is often accompanied by other symptoms such as weight gain and skin issues.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Studies have shown that PCOS affects approximately 5-10% of women in their reproductive years, making it one of this demographic's most common hormonal disorders.
Some typical symptoms include irregular periods, excessive body or facial hair growth, acne, and weight gain. Untreated, PCOS may bring about more severe health problems, such as infertility and an augmented risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.
Treatment Focusing on Hormone Regulation
To address hormone-related hair loss caused by PCOS or other hormonal imbalances, treatment typically involves addressing the underlying issue first.
This may include lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy diet rich in nutrients that promote healthy hair follicles, regular exercise routines to help regulate hormones naturally and reducing stress levels that could exacerbate the condition if not managed effectively over time.
Diet: A nutritious diet rich in foods high in vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, and iron can help support hair growth. Examples include lean meats, fish, nuts, and seeds.
Exercise: Regular physical activity such as walking, swimming, or biking can help regulate hormone levels and may help manage PCOS symptoms, including hair loss.
Stress management: Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises may help reduce stress-related hormonal imbalances contributing to hair loss.
Natural Remedies for Alopecia
Natural treatments, such as essential oils, biotin, and zinc supplements, and a nutritious diet have been found to support healthy follicles and can aid in hair growth and scalp health.
Here are some natural remedies for alopecia.
Essential Oils for Hair Growth
Essential oils have been used for centuries to promote hair growth and improve the overall health of the scalp. Some popular choices include:
Lavender oil: Known for its soothing properties, it can help reduce scalp inflammation while promoting blood circulation to stimulate hair growth.
Rosemary oil: This powerful antioxidant has been shown to increase blood flow to the scalp and encourage new hair follicles to grow.
Cedarwood oil: Cedarwood is known for its ability to balance sebum production in the skin, which can prevent clogged pores linked to alopecia areata.
Dietary Supplements and Balanced Nutrition
Ensuring your diet contains essential vitamins and minerals for healthy hair growth is crucial. Consider incorporating these dietary supplements into your daily routine:
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, can be found in foods like eggs, nuts, seeds, salmon, and dairy products. Biotin plays an essential role in maintaining solid nails and promotes hair growth. You could also consider taking a supplement if you struggle to obtain enough biotin through diet alone.
Zinc: An essential mineral that supports hair growth by regulating hormones, zinc can be found in foods like oysters, beef, spinach, and pumpkin seeds. Inadequate zinc levels significantly increase the risk of hair loss.
Vitamin D: Low vitamin D levels have been linked to hair loss and alopecia areata. Ensure you're getting enough sunlight, or consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement to promote healthy vitamin D levels.
In addition to these remedies, it's crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and stress management techniques such as deep breathing, walking in nature, or gardening to promote scalp health.
There are many types of alopecia, each with distinct causes and manifestations.
Androgenic alopecia is the most prevalent type of hair loss, while other forms, such as scarring and traction alopecia, can be triggered by immune responses, medical conditions, or hairstyling habits.
Natural remedies such as improving nutrition through a nutritious ketogenic diet like Healthy Keto® in combination with intermittent fasting can help promote healthy hair follicles and support hair growth.
1. What are the seven types of alopecia?
The seven common types of alopecia include alopecia areata, opiates alopecia, androgenic alopecia, postpartum hair loss, traction alopecia, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis. Each type has unique causes and characteristics, such as autoimmune factors or hormonal changes.
2. How many types of alopecia are there?
There are several different types of alopecia; however, the most recognized ones fall into the above seven categories.
3. What are the different strains of alopecia?
Alopecias can be classified into various strains based on their underlying cause or pattern. Some examples include autoimmune strains like alopecia areata, hormonal strains like androgenic alopecia and postpartum hair loss, and tractional strains like traction alopecia.
4. What are the common causes of alopecia?
Alopecia, or hair loss, can result from various causes, including autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata, hormonal imbalances in conditions like androgenic alopecia, traction due to tight hairstyles, and even chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Understanding the distinct types and their underlying factors is crucial for effective diagnosis and tailored treatment approaches.
5. What are some possible treatments for alopecia?
Possible treatments for alopecia can include rosemary oil, probiotics, zinc, vitamin D, infrared treatment, fasting, and reducing stress. See the embedded video above for more information on how you can support a healthy scalp.