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Types of Alopecia


Dr. Christina Ring, a dermatologist in Philadelphia, who struggles with hair loss herself, reviews the different types of hair loss.

Hair loss can have many causes, including medical conditions such as lupus, thyroid disease, hormonal disorders, or skin disease such as psoriasis. It is important to see a physician to better understand the cause of your hair loss, as the treatment options may vary.



Traction alopecia


Traction alopecia is caused by repetitive pulling forces of braids, weaves, tight ponytails, hair extensions or repeated use of chemical relaxers which ultimately damages or destroys the hair follicle. The hair will be thinned at the hairline or area of pulling, and sometimes the scalp may be red and itchy. It is prevented by loosening hairstyles.


Androgenetic alopecia (Female pattern hair loss)


This type of hair loss is genetic and usually progresses as a person ages. Hair loss is diffuse from all areas of the scalp. Topical minoxidil (Rogaine) can help with regrowth or progression of hair loss in some patients, but it must be used consistently for life. Minoxidil helps increase blood flow to the scalp. Nutritional supplements may also be of some benefit.


Telogen Effluvium


This condition is a temporary loss or shedding of hair due an an illness, stressor, a new medication, or after pregnancy. Many patients will have full re-growth over time, but Minoxidil and nutritional supplements may help to speed up the process.


Alopecia Areata


This is an autoimmune condition which causes well-defined, often round, patches of complete baldness anywhere on the scalp. This condition can come and go throughout a person's life and cannot be prevented. It may resolve over time on its own, but it can also be treated with steroids in the form of an injection or topical cream. Steroids help decrease the inflammation in the skin that is responsible for the hair loss.


Alopecia Universalis


Alopecia Universalis is a more severe form of alopecia areata. It is an autoimmune condition that causes loss of all body hair. There are a few different emerging treatment options for this condition that must be taken as a pill or as an injection.


Hope this helps!


Dr. Christina Ring


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