What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is the general term given to conditions which create hair loss, thinning hair, badness and patches of hair loss. Alopecia can appear in many different ways.
Hair loss can be an acute sudden loss, or a chronic long term gradual loss of hair. It is possible thinning hair is caused by the hair shafts themselves becoming thinner, weaker and less healthy.
The hair lost can be in a specific area or in several patches. In extreme cases the entire scalp and/or body can completely lose hair, resulting in complete baldness.
What Causes It?
The most common causes of alopecia, diffuse thinning or baldness and scarring are blood, hormone and autoimmune related.
Blood related hair loss can be triggered by events such as iron deficiency, coriander medications, crash dieting, stress and anxiety, heavy menstrual cycles and many more. These impacts can trigger excessive shedding patterns known as Telogen Effluvium or Chronic Telogen Effluvium.
Hormone related thinning is often associated with elevation of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is produced by the interaction of testosterone and the enzyme a alpha 5-reductase or Thyroid function issues resulting in Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism. These hormonal impacts can create a process of follicle miniaturisation which gradually reduces hair density to baldness.
Autoimmune hair loss is often represented with conditions such as Alopecia Areata, Lichen Planopilaris, Folliculitis DeCalvans, Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia and other Cicatricial Alopecia’s. These are known as inflammatory hair loss conditions that cause distress and damage to the hair follicle and surrounding scalp tissue.
Treatment for hair thinning and loss will entirely depend on the cause of the condition. For example, in Androgenic Alopecia, Low Level Light Therapy(LLLT) and vasodilation can help stimulate the blood supply to the follicle and assist growth.
Telogen Effluvium associated with iron deficiency for instance will be treated by your Trichologist assessing your Ferritin numbers and working with a nutrition plan and possibly supplementation to optimise your iron storage capacity.
Why see a trichologist?
Differentiating the aetiology of hair loss is crucial to the selection of treatment plan. A trichologist will examine the hair and scalp, and give an opinion on the causes of the hair loss, together with advice on what the options for treatment are.
We understand of hair loss of any type can have a devastating emotional impact. In all cases, your trichologist will be able to give knowledgeable and trusted reassurance and advice.