A list of Hair Loss related terminology
Alopecia: Alopecia comes in many different forms. Alopecia may be localized to the front and top of the head (as in common male and female pattern baldness) or it may be patchy – a condition described as alopecia areata. If alopecia areata balding occurs across the entire head, specialists refer to the condition as alopecia totalis; if it affects the entire body then it’s known as alopecia universalis. There are many different causes of (factors in) Alopecia such as genetics, age, stress, dietary issues, iron deficiency in women, disease or drugs/medications etc….
Anagen: Hair grows in cycles – anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the growing phase of hair, lasting between two and seven years (depending on many factors including genetics).
Catagen: The middle (transition) stage between the anagen (growing) and telogen (resting) phases of the hair’s growth cycle.
Telogen: The resting phase of the hair cycle that usually lasts approximately three months.
Telogen Loss: also known as telogen effluvium Loss of hair during resting phase of hair or “natural” loss. This is often characterized by the thinning or shedding of hair resulting from the early entry of hair in the telogen phase. This can often be caused by emotional or psychological stress, eating disorders, fever, anemia, drugs or major surgery.
Cortex: The cortex is the main structure of the hair shaft. The cortex makes up for 90% of hair’s weight and determines the color, texture and denier or thickness of each individual hair.
Bonding: A term used to describe the fixing additional strands of hair to your natural hair. The additional hair that is used may be synthetic or human and is attached to one’s hair and/or scalp.
DHT (Dihydro-testosterone): Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for the development of all of the male secondary sexual characteristics like male hair patterns on the body, hair on the face and oily skin. Testosterone can be converted in the body to dihydro-testosterone by the enzyme 5-Alpha-reductase in genetically predisposed individuals. Studies have shown that 95% of male baldness and hair loss is caused by (DHT).
Female Pattern Baldness (FPB) is the female equivalent of male pattern baldness. Progressive thinning of hair caused by genetics, age, and hormones. Usually develops at a much slower rate than male pattern baldness. Manifests differently than male pattern baldness in that most women with FPB don’t experience receding hairline. Often the original hairline remains virtually unchanged but the hair through the top and crown of the head thins evenly all over whereas hair in the sides and back/nape of the head generally doesn’t’ usually thin out and remains at its original density.
Frontal Alopecia: Hair loss at the front of the head.Hypothyroid: Hypothyroidism is caused due to lack of thyroid hormone in the body and it can often result in hair loss, thinning of the hair or a change of texture (dry and brittle).
Male Pattern Baldness: More than 95% of hair thinning in men is male pattern baldness often referred to as androgenic alopecia. This type of hair loss is often caused by hormones, genes, and age and is progressive in nature. It is often characterized by hair receding from the lateral sides of the forehead and/or a thinning crown which can lead to loss of all hair on top of the head, thus causing a U-shape pattern/fringe of remaining hair.
Senescent Alopecia: If often known as ‘Involutional Alopecia’ as it is the type of hair loss that naturally occurs with age. This occurs in varying degrees in both women and men and is characterized by the general thinning of both hair diameter and density.
Temporal Recession: Hair loss in the temple region. This is the most stubborn area of hair loss to rectify and is most common in men.
Traction Alopecia: This refers to hair loss that occurs due to traction placed on hair. Traction alopecia is commonly seen with tight braids, pony tails, and other hairstyles that create traction on the scalp. Traction alopecia is a substantial risk in hair weaves and is one of the most common causes of hair loss in African and African American women.
Vellus Hair: Vellus Hair is the fine, non-pigmented hair (peach fuzz) that covers the body of children and adults but is not always visible as they lack a central medulla.
What causes hair loss?
Most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually doesn’t cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when this cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
The exact cause of hair loss may not be fully understood, but it’s usually related to one or more of the following factors:
- Family history (heredity)
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions
Family history (heredity)
The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair in women.
Heredity also affects the age at which you begin to lose hair, the rate of hair loss and the extent of baldness. Pattern baldness is most common in men and can begin as early as puberty. This type of hair loss may involve both hair thinning and miniaturization (hair becomes soft, fine and short).
Hormonal changes and medical conditions
A variety of conditions can cause hair loss, including:
- Hormonal changes.Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause temporary hair loss. This could be due to pregnancy, childbirth or the onset of menopause. Hormone levels are also affected by the thyroid gland, so thyroid problems may cause hair loss.
- Patchy hair loss.This type of nonscarring hair loss is called alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh). It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles — causing sudden hair loss that leaves smooth, roundish bald patches on the skin.
- Scalp infections.Infections, such as ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to scaly patches and hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back.
- Other skin disorders.Diseases that cause scarring alopecia may result in permanent loss at the scarred areas. These conditions include lichen planus, some types of lupus and sarcoidosis.
- Hair-pulling disorder.This condition, also called trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it’s from the scalp, the eyebrows or other areas of the body.
Hair loss can be caused by drugs used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and birth control. Intake of too much vitamin A may cause hair loss as well.
Other causes of hair loss
Hair loss can also result from:
- Radiation therapy to the head.The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.
- A trigger event.Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary. Examples of trigger events include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, surgery, or a death in the family.
- Certain hairstyles and treatments.Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause traction alopecia. Hot oil hair treatments and permanents can cause inflammation of hair follicles that leads to hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent