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Hair Loss Conditions

Hair loss in itself isn’t a condition – rather a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed or managed in some way. If you’re not sure of what type of hair loss condition you have, never fear! Our hair loss experts have put together this comprehensive list so you can get a better idea of what type of hair loss you may be facing. As always, we recommend visiting your doctor or physician if you’re experiencing hair loss – they’ll be best placed to confirm your suspicions and help you to work out an effective treatment plan.

Androgenetic alopecia

More commonly known as female-pattern hair loss or hereditary hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is the most common condition that leads to shedding or thinning hair. This condition arises as the result of various interlinking factors, including ageing, hormone levels and genetics, all of which feed into one another. Ageing causes fluctuations in hormones, especially for post-menopausal women, which can lead to increased shedding and thinning hair. Women suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can also experience this type of hair loss due to unsettled hormone levels.

If you’re not sure whether you’re at risk of androgenetic alopecia, the best place to start is by looking to your family. If there’s baldness or hair loss anywhere in your gene pool (not just on your mother’s side), you could be at risk of losing your hair too.

There’s no cure for this type of hair loss, but there are clinically proven treatments which can help stop the hair from shedding. As always, if you’re seeking medical treatment for hair loss, see a professional who will be able to advise on your best course of action.

Alopecia areata

This type of hair loss is usually temporary, with the hair growing back in a few months. It manifests in small, circular bald patches which are the result of a problem with the body’s immune system. Women that suffer from hyperthyroidism, diabetes or Down’s syndrome are more likely to experience this form of hair loss, and it’s also believed that genes play a small part; one in five people that have the condition also report having a family history of it1.

Telogen effluvium

This common hair loss condition causes widespread thinning of the hair, rather than the bald patches present in alopecia areata. Unlike hereditary hair loss, which is passed down through families, this condition doesn’t have any genetic factors involved – instead, it’s caused by factors like intense emotional or physical stress, dramatic weight loss or long-term illness. Post-partum hair loss also falls under this category – hormonal fluctuations after pregnancy can cause women to shed excessively in the months after giving birth. This type of hair loss is also temporary, and it should clear up within a few months – as long as the underlying issue is addressed. Stressors will need to be removed, weight will need to stabilise and hormones will need to return to normal levels to prevent any further hair from shedding.

 

1   Gan DC et al. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc 2005; 10:184 –189.