The appearance and texture of your hair can make a huge difference to your confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, there will come a time in almost everyone’s life when their hair doesn’t look or feel the way they want it to. Many people struggle with hair problems at some point in their lives, including dry, oily, or brittle strands; an excessive amount of split ends; dandruff; or an unnatural hue. However, these issues are easily treated at home.
Hair disorders are different and typically don’t have a cure. Hair disorders are fairly common conditions that may significantly affect your appearance as well as cause other secondary effects like pain, itching and even infections. Read on for everything you need to know about hair disorders, from alopecia to dissecting cellulitis.
What Are Hair Disorders?
Hair disorders are conditions that affect the health of your hair. They can range from mild and treatable to severe and long-lasting. Hair disorders include alopecia, which is a broad term that refers to a loss of hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or other areas of the body, as well as more serious conditions such as trichotillomania, which is an impulse to pull out your own hair.
An Overview Of Alopecia
Alopecia is a general term for hair loss. There are many different types of alopecia. Each type has its own set of triggers and symptoms, making it important to have an understanding of what type you might be suffering from. Below, we’ll take a closer look at each type of alopecia, but you can also learn more about the condition here.
Androgenetic alopecia, or male/female pattern baldness, is the most common hair disorder. It affects both men and women, although men are more likely to suffer from it than women. Androgenetic alopecia is caused by a combination of genetics and hormones. Androgenetic alopecia can be treated with various methods, most of which are long-term regimens. Another option is hair transplantation, in which hair from the scalp is transplanted onto bald areas.
Also known as patchy baldness, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss in patches on the scalp and body. Although it can occur at any age, alopecia areata most commonly affects young people aged 15-40. Alopecia areata is triggered by an unknown process that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack some or all of the hair follicles, preventing them from growing new hair. The hair loss is usually patchy and often begins with a single patch. The patches can increase in size, or new patches may appear. Most people who have alopecia areata will have short-term hair loss that lasts for months or years. In some cases, the condition can lead to permanent hair loss.
Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss caused by excessive and continuous hair pulling. It is most commonly observed in people who yank on their hair, such as those who wear tight ponytails or buns. It can also occur in people who use hair extensions or tight hair curlers without proper care. Traction alopecia is characterized by patchy baldness that occurs on the hairline. It is usually a sign of damage to the hair follicles, which are unable to regrow new hair due to the constant pulling. Traction alopecia can be prevented by keeping hair healthy. Avoid heavy hairstyles and use products designed for damaged hair.
Diffuse alopecia is the loss of hair or density throughout the entire scalp. It can lead to a dramatic and noticeable thinning of hair, although the progression of this disorder is generally gradual. Diffuse alopecia can be caused by an imbalance of hormones, physical stressors, nutritional deficiencies, or emotional stressors.
Chemotherapy-induced alopecia is a side effect of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drugs work by killing off rapidly dividing cells, including those that make new hair. Chemotherapy can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss. Most chemotherapy regimens will cause some hair loss. However, the extent of hair loss is often unpredictable and can vary from person to person.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
This type of alopecia typically occurs in women over 50, and people with this condition will notice hair loss at the front and sides of their scalp. The condition can also cause mild scarring on the scalp.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia is a rare type of alopecia that causes hair loss in a circular pattern from the crown of the scalp. Centrifugal cicatricial alopecia can affect both men and women, although it is more common in women. The hair loss caused by this condition is usually permanent.
Telogen effluvium is a type of diffuse alopecia that is caused by a medical condition, medication, or a stressful event. The condition causes a decrease in hair growth and can result in significant hair loss. In more extreme cases, telogen effluvium can also affect other areas where hair grows, such as the eyebrows.
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that causes people to pull out their hair compulsively. It can affect any part of the body where hair grows, including the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, legs, and pubic area.
Lichen planopilaris is a rare form of alopecia that causes scarring of the hair follicles. It is often misdiagnosed as alopecia areata because the symptoms are similar. While it is most commonly seen in young women, it can also affect men.
Folliculitis decalvans is a condition which affects hair on any part of the body and often has pustules around the hair follicles. The hair loss from folliculitis decalvans typically begins as oval patterns and permanently damages the hair follicles resulting in scarring. It can affect both men and women and is usually triggered by an underlying condition, such as an infection, certain medications or a vitamin deficiency.
Dissecting cellulitis is an extremely rare but serious condition. Dissecting cellulitis can result in hair loss and infection of the hair follicles. Typical symptoms of this condition include pustules developing over the scalp, which cause permanent hair loss. This hair disorder can affect anyone but is most commonly seen in men.
Speaking To Your GP
If you suffer from hair loss or notice any other changes in your hair, it is important to speak to a doctor about it. Hair disorders are often treatable, and there are many ways to manage them. A doctor will be able to diagnose you and help you find a solution. There are many different types of hair disorders, and they can range in severity. In some cases, hair disorders can be treated, and hair will grow back normally once the underlying issue is resolved. However, in other cases, the hair loss is permanent, and your GP will be able to speak to you about your options if this is the case. It is important to speak to a doctor if you notice any changes in your hair so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.
There are many different types of hair disorders, including alopecia, telogen effluvium, and lichen planopilaris. Hair disorders are serious and often debilitating conditions that can cause significant hair loss and even lead to permanent balding. Although some of these conditions are rare, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can seek treatment as soon as possible. Hair disorders are typically treated with antibiotics, steroid injections, or hair transplants. If you’ve been impacted by a hair disorder, know that you’re not alone, and there are plenty of ways to treat and manage hair loss.