Do I Have Alopecia or is Hair Loss Normal?
Noticing hair loss can be a scary moment. Many things may start to go through your mind. Is this normal? Can I stop it? Am I suffering from alopecia? These questions are perfectly normal. So let’s put your mind at ease and dive into the differences between normal hair loss and alopecia.
Understanding Hair Loss
Hair loss can be considered normal in the sense that it is quite common. However, hair loss doesn’t just happen without cause. There are special circumstances that must occur for a person to experience hair loss.
Do not confuse hair loss with hair shedding, in which we naturally lose strands of hair daily. Hair loss is the unnatural loss of a significant amount of hair due to various reasons. Those reasons may include heredity, a reaction from certain medications, hair care products with harsh ingredients, and even certain types of hairstyles that can lead to hair loss.
Regardless of what causes the hair loss, the only way it can be stopped or reversed is by fixing the underlying issue. Once this is solved, the hair may begin to naturally grow back.
So what exactly is alopecia? Technically, alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. So anyone experiencing any type of hair loss actually has alopecia. Yet, there are various forms of alopecia that can be considered serious conditions that require treatment.
Types of Alopecia
1) Male/Female Pattern Baldness
This type of alopecia causes an individual to lose hair from their scalp creating baldness.
2) Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata happens quite suddenly (over several days to a week) that can be seen as several circular bald patches on the scalp.
3) Alopecia Universalis
This condition causes complete hair loss on all parts of the body.
4) Alopecia Totalis
Alopecia Totalis is a condition in which an individual loses all of the hair on the scalp.
Hair loss can be treated in a number of ways. If the causes are based on circumstances like using harsh hair products or wearing a certain hairstyle, discontinuing them can lead to hair regrowth. However, if the condition is less manageable like heredity or auto-immune disorders (like alopecia areata and alopecia totalis), actual treatment may be required.
Treatment options include topical minoxidil, most commonly known as Rogain and medicated creams or ointments. For more severe conditions such as alopecia areata and alopecia universalis, corticosteroid injections may be the way to go. Corticosteroid is injected directly into the bald patches to create hair growth. Unfortunately, these injections cannot stop new hair from falling out. Light therapy is a new, modern kind of treatment, in which concentrated beams of light are passed over the bald areas to stimulate growth.
The type of treatment you receive will depend on your condition, the cause, and its severity.
To find out if your hair loss is actually hair shedding or if you are suffering from alopecia, our experts at The Dermatology Group have the answers, advice, and resources you need. If you’re in Cincinnati, Ohio or a surrounding city, give us a call and book a consultation today!