Baldness, also named alopecia in scientific terms or hair loss in popular ones, is the loss of the hair from one area of the body, usually the head. It can affect only a small patch of skin or even the entire body. Normally, baldness is not linked with other severe symptoms such as inflamed skin or permanent scars. It doesn't have important health consequences but it can have serious psychological ones.
Baldness usually starts in patches, often with a circular shape. Associated symptoms are skin lesions, dandruff or scars in severe cases. Normal male baldness affects the hair on the scalp. However, the separate condition named alopecia areata starts in other quite unusual locations, like the back of the head, the area above the ears or even the eyebrows. The normal male baldness patters begins with the hair becoming thin and falling off at the temples or the top of the head. Women start to lose their hair in the front.
A normal person has a very big number of hairs, from 100000 to 150000 individual ones. It is normal to lose some of them every day, about 100, which are replaced with new ones. If the rate of replacement is stable, the volume remains the same. When hair becomes too thin, the first sign is usually visible after a shower. If the number of hairs left in the brush is too high, it could be a very bad symptom.
The first thing to do after you notice hair loss is to simply accept the situation. There are a few possible solutions, such as an expensive hair transplant procedure or a cure with minoxidil or finasteride. Elma 11 Hair and Scalp Revitalizer is also a good and natural option treatment. Alopecia areata is a special case and it can be stopped by frequently injecting steroids in the bald areas. However, baldness is a usual condition, especially associated with aging. Around half of all males and a quarter of all females older than 50 experience hair loss problems. Alopecia areata is rarer and it affects about 2% of people.
Males are more likely to become bald than women and their pattern of hair loss is the most common. It is normally caused by genetic factors or a hormonal imbalance. The effects of hormones are often the root of the problem. Since androgens, or the male hormones, are causing this type of baldness, it is also known as androgenic or androgenetic alopecia. Hair loss can begin at an early age, even in the 20's or during youth. The male pattern of baldness usually starts on the crown or the front and progresses gradually, with the hair line retreating in time.
The female baldness is not as common as the male one but it is not rare at all. The exact cause of this condition is not known. Typically, the female pattern baldness starts after the age of 40 years old. Unlike the male pattern, the hair become thin all across the scalp and the most affected area is the crown.
Alopecia areata is a specific form of hair loss. Because it affects patches of the scalp that appear and disappear, it is also named patchy baldness. It can appear at any time, but it is more common during puberty or in early adulthood. It has a different cause from the other varieties and it starts due to an immune deficiency. It is sometimes a genetic problem that can be transmitted in a family. The condition typically starts during youth without any warning, and in severe cases it can lead to alopecia totalis, or total baldness. However, most people recover their hair in time and in 90% of situations it is completely restored in a few years.
Scarring alopecia is caused by a wound that leaves a scar on the skin surface. It also has a second medical name of cicatricial alopecia. In this case, the scar might be deep, completely destroying the hair follicles. Without the hair roots, there is no chance of recovery and the area remains permanently bald. Besides wounds, the scars might be caused by a number of diseases and skin issues like discoid lupus or lichen planus. Scarring alopecia is usually not reversible. It can also be caused by infections and inflammations at skin level like acne, cellulitis or folliculitis but also other skin problems such as lichen planus or lupus. The destruction of the roots makes hair regeneration impossible. Scars can also be caused by hair pulling, tight binding or even the use of hot combs.
Anagen effluvium is a common side-effect of chemotherapy treatment against cancer. It is not limited to the scalp and can actually affect the whole area of the body.
Telogen effluvium is a particular condition because it doesn't lead to actual baldness but the hair becomes thin all over the body. This is not a permanent problem and it is caused by variations in the cycle of hair growth. Basically, if a large number of follicles reach their resting phase at the same time, the hair will become thin and shredded. It can be the result of a strong shock, either a psychological or a physical one, or aggressive medication. It usually affects women after pregnancy or birth.
Human hair also becomes thinner with age, this is a normal situation named involutional alopecia. Hair can be lost due to various causes, more follicles enter their rest phase, while the rest of the hair becomes shorter and weaker.
A special case is alopecia universalis, when the hair on the entire body falls off, and the pubic hair, eyebrows and eyelashes disappear and traction alopecia characterised by hair loss largely affecting African women. Trichotillomania is actually a psychological problem, more common in kids, when someone manually takes out its own hair.