National Hair Loss Awareness Month with Trichologist Eva Proudman
Chairman of the Institute of Trichologists, Eva Proudman MIT IAT, talks us through the different types of hair loss and what can be done about them in this blog post to mark National Hair Loss Awareness Month.
Hello to all you Absoluters out there! August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month so I thought that it would be good to share information about different types of hair loss, how to seek help and what treatments can help.
Hair loss is a catch-all term for various different conditions that affect the hair and scalp. There are various different causes and types of hair loss, and these can be divided into five different areas which we’ll be discussing today:
- Scarring Alopecia (Frontal Fibrosing, Lichen Planopilaris, Traumatic)
- Non-Scarring Alopecia (Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis, Alopecia Universalis)
- Androgenetic Alopecia (Male and Female Pattern)
- Telogen Effluvium (excessive hair shedding and thinning)
- Scalp Issues
With both of these types of hair loss, the hair miniaturises, becoming thinner and finer each time it is naturally shed and regrows. This leads to a thinning in the pattern area and eventually leads to hair loss.
There are 3 causes: genetic inheritance, sensitivity to androgens (male hormones), and age.
The good news is that this condition can be treated and managed very effectively once diagnosed. If you are experiencing hair thinning, hairline recession or hair loss, see a professional and get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. The sooner you confirm the condition and start treatment the better the outcome can be.
This type of hair loss occurs in stages. Patchy hair loss on the head is called Alopecia Areata, but this can move to Alopecia Totalis (loss of all hair on the head) and in some cases progress to Alopecia Universalis (a loss of all hair over the whole body).
These conditions are caused by an autoimmune disorder and have several different supportive treatments.
They are spontaneous, and can clear and recur many times, although it’s also worth noting that they never recur in some people once treated. It is always best to have a diagnosis confirmed by a specialist to understand the condition and the possible supportive treatments that are available.
Scarring Alopecia is the term given to conditions that destroy the hair's ability to grow, leaving scar tissue preventing any further hair growth from the area of loss.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, (FFA) sees the hairline, predominantly in females, attacked. This causes a loss of hair and recession of the hairline. This condition is very distressing and can progress as far back as the crown, leaving a full frontal hair loss.
In terms of the causes, it is an autoimmune condition and can be managed with a topical and oral treatment regime.
Lichen Planopilaris causes diffuse hair loss, and patients may also feel that the scalp can be very itchy, tingly, or have a burning sensation. As with FFA, the hair is destroyed and scarring is left at the site of loss. A combination treatment plan can slow this condition and limit the hair loss.
Traumatic scarring is caused by either traction, heat, or injury. Each type of traumatic loss can have a different presentation, so it is important to have the condition diagnosed.
This is where the patient experiences excessive hair shedding and thinning, and it is the most common condition that I see in clinic. It can, understandably, be distressing and frightening, especially as the amount of hair that can fall can sometimes make you feel as if you are losing all your hair, but the good news is it can be managed and treated.
Telogen Effluvium is a disruption to the hair's natural growing and shedding cycle. It causes more hair fall, which does regrow, but then falls again, which gives an overall thinning to the hair.
There are multiple factors that cause this condition, and once they are identified and treated the hair will return to its normal growing and shedding cycle. As this happens the hair density gradually, over time, increases back to normal.
My key message here is that if you are concerned at all, seek professional advice and take control of your hair health.
It is easy to forget that the scalp is the all-important growing medium for the hair and needs to be healthy and balanced to support shiny healthy hair growth. Your scalp health definitely affects and impacts the health and condition of your hair.
If your scalp is flaky, itchy, inflamed, or has burning sensations, see a professional to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Using a treatment shampoo every day or every other day is often essential to manage the many different scalp conditions and is an easy way to manage them to best effect - but these work best on a case by case basis, so you will need to see a professional for a specific diagnosis.
My key message for Hair Loss Awareness Month is to take care of your hair health, if you are worried or concerned see a Trichologist who will be able to diagnose your condition, and can explain what is happening, how it can be helped and, more importantly, can put you back in control.