Different types of hair loss
Hair loss occurs in different varieties. Hair loss may be present on the scalp or other hairy areas.
Gray Hair & Hair Loss – 2022
How much hair is it common to lose?
You normally lose between 50-100 strands of hair a day, but many lose more than what allows the hair to be thinned out. The medical name for hair loss is alopecia.
Different types of hair loss
Hair loss occurs in different varieties. Hair loss may be present on the scalp or other hairy areas. It can be caused by direct hair loss, reduced hair quality or thinning of hair. There may be areas that are completely bald. It can be associated with skin disease or scarring. Unfortunately, hair loss is not always as easy to treat.
The most common cause is due to heredity and is androgenic alopecia, which is hereditary male pattern hair loss. Telogenic effluvium is transiently synchronized hair loss that often occurs during the breastfeeding period after birth, febrile diseases and more and alopecia areata which is patchy hair loss of unknown cause that can also affect young age. Alopecia may be localized to certain areas or diffusely widespread.
How does the hair grow?
The hair follicles form in the fetus. After birth, no more hair follicles form. The hair grows all over the skin surface, except in the palms, on the soles of the feet, the lips and the eyelids. Hair thickness and length vary from area to area:
- Vellus hair – short, fine and light in color.
- Terminal or androgenic hair is thicker, darker and longer.
- Some hair follicles are affected by sex hormones and will produce terminal hair (beard, armpit hair and genital area) from puberty onwards.
There are normally between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on the scalp. A hair grows about 1 cm per month. The hair grows by the cells in the lower part of the hair follicle dividing and pushing the older cells outwards, at the same time as the cells undergo a keratinization process which leads to them being completely filled with keratin (which is also the main structure in the skin and nails). The part of the hair that protrudes from the skin is dead material.
Hair growth follows a cycle. This cycle is not synchronized and each hair may be in a different phase.
The 3 main phases of the hair cycle are:
- Anagen phase – active growth phase
- Katagen – intermediate phase of 2-3 weeks where growth stops and the hair follicle shrinks, 1-3% of the hairs.
- Telogen – resting phase that lasts for 1-4 months, up to 10% of the hairs in a normal scalp.
Hair length depends on the length of the anagen phase. Short hair (eyelashes, eyebrows, hair on arms and legs) has a short anagen phase of about a month. The anagen phase lasts for 6 years or longer on scalp hair.
What causes hair loss?
Hair loss can be due to:
- Decreased hair growth, anagent hair loss.
- Increased hair loss, telogenic hair loss (telogenic effluvium).
- Transition from thick terminal hair to thin vellus hair; male and female hair loss.
- Congenital or acquired hair shaft disease where the hair breaks.
- Inflammatory skin disease that destroys or damages the hair follicle.
What are the different causes?
Different causes of hair loss lead to different findings. As a rule, there are no symptoms such as itching or soreness with sudden hair loss, but if the condition is due to a skin disease, you may have itching or soreness in the scalp. Some people experience a tingling discomfort, called trichodynia, which can accompany hair loss.
Anagent hair loss
Anagent hair narrows or breaks off. Agent hair loss can have variable duration. Anagent hair loss is known as anagent effluvium and is sudden onset. Anagent effluvium is caused by:
- Autoimmune disease such as alopecia areata.
- Medications, especially chemotherapy or chemotherapy.
- Hereditary or congenital cause such as short anagen syndrome. Children who have normal hair but who cannot get it long can have short anagen syndrome. This is a condition where hair does not grow out over a short length, due to an unusually short duration of active hair growth (anagen phase). Most cases are associated with fine blond hair.
Short, broken hair and empty hair follicles can be observed. If the cause is medicine or chemotherapy, the hair can grow back within 3-6 months if you stop taking the medicine.
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