4 common types of hair loss to know [Video]

Hair loss is not uncommon – we’d be surprised if there isn’t someone in your life who hasn’t experienced it at one time or another. Whether there’s an obvious reason for hair loss, such as estrogen levels dropping after having a baby, or it happens without warning, hair loss is frustrating. But you’re alone — in fact, more than 80 percent of men and nearly 50 percent of women experience significant hair loss in their lifetime, according to NYU Langone.

If you’re looking to better understand your hair loss or want to do research for a loved one, we’re here to help. Ahead, we’ve put together a guide to the most common types of hair loss, with expert insight from certified trichologist William Gaunitz, WTS.

Androgenetic alopecia

Hair loss in men and women, known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of hair loss, says Gaunitz. “It is driven by genetics and a sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Your body basically knows that androgenetic alopecia is part of your genetics, so it doesn’t invest the energy to regrow it. This can happen at any point in your life after puberty and is usually characterized by a widening of the midsection in women and a receding hairline in men.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is “trauma-based loss caused by an event that is physical or emotional,” says Gaunitz. He notes that this will cause you to lose excess hair in a short period of time, but it’s reversible. “If you don’t have underlying androgenetic alopecia, nutritional alopecia, or inflammation, the hair loss will be temporary and grow back,” says Gaunitz.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks your hair follicles. “That causes the hair to break off—usually in little quarter-sized round patches—about 3 millimeters from the top of the scalp and create what is called ‘exclamation point hair’ in trichology,” says Gaunitz. “It looks like almost nothing or peach fuzz to the naked eye.”

Alopecia areata can turn into an advanced form called alopecia totalis, which spreads from a circle to the entire head, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair. If left untreated, it can go a step further and affect the entire body, turning into something called alopecia universalis.

Nutritional alopecia

Nutritional alopecia is not technically a medical term, but according to Gaunitz, it’s becoming more common among patients and should be on the radar of the public. He characterizes it by low blood levels in three key areas: vitamin D3, serum zinc and ferritin. “If any of these three are on the low side of normal or below normal, it can cause significant dilution in most people,” he says. He adds that it shouldn’t be overlooked, especially since it can exacerbate a predisposition to alopecia areata or DHT-related androgenetic alopecia.

What to do with hair loss

First of all, don’t worry, you have plenty of options. Once you have a better understanding of the type of hair loss you’re dealing with, it’s best to see a trichologist to get a confirmed diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan. From Minoxidil (an FDA-approved drug) to PRP injections (an in-office procedure in which your own blood is separated to remove platelet-rich plasma and injected into the scalp) to OTC scalp products and hair oils, there are many remedies for hair loss that can reap results in a matter of a few months.

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4 common types of hair loss to know [Video]

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