Hair Loss

Detailed below is a list of specific hair loss types and possible causes. We highly recommend you visit your GP for a confirmed diagnosis of your hair loss condition, at which point you may be reffered to a Dermatologist for further analysis.

Alopecia Areata (AA)

Used to describe hair loss occuring in patches, and thought to be an auto-immune disease of the hair with the body's immune system attacking the hair follicles, causing the hair to stop growing and enter the telogen (resting) phase cycle of the hair. When this cycle is over, the hair will then fall out.  Only when the cells called T-lymphocytes stop attacking the follicles, will the hair regrow.

Alopecia Areata affects both men and women equally and is often experienced in childhood. Many sufferers affected by this type of hair loss may only have one experience of hair loss with a high possibility of regrowth occuring afterwards, however is some cases the hair loss may recur or become permanent.

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Alopecia Totalis (AT)

Total loss of hair on the scalp which has developed from Alopecia Areata.

It can also affect nails giving them a ridged and brittle appearance.

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Alopecia Universalis (AU)

A severe form of Alopecia Areata causing total loss of hair from all over the body, including eyebrows and eye lashes and other areas where hair would grow.

Affects less than 1% of cases.

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Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)

Also known as male pattern baldness. It is a thinning of the hair to an almost transparent state, in both men or women. It is thought to be an hereditary form of hair loss, and can account for 95% of all hair loss.

Although this type of hair loss affects both men and women, men experience a much greater degree of hair loss. In women Androgenetic Alopecia apears to diffuse hair loss occuring over most of the scalp, whilst the pattern of loss in men ususally starts with a receeding hairline which can advance further across the top of the head.

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Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is usually due to excessive pulling or tension on hair shafts as a result of certain hair styles. It is seen more often in women, particularly those of East Indian and Afro-Caribbean origin. Hair loss depends on the way the hair is being pulled. Prolonged traction alopecia can stop new hair follicles developing and lead to permanent hair loss.

Hair extensions may also cause traction alopecia but this risk is minimised providing the hair extensions have been applied by a professional, maintained correctly by the wearer and removed correctly by a professional. People removing their own hair extensions increase the risk of damaging their own hair shafts and follicles.

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Anagen Effluvium

Hair loss due to chemicals or radiation.

This hair loss is generally caused by chemicals such as those used to treat cancer. Initially is causes patchy hair loss, which often then becomes total hair loss. The good news is that when you stop using these chemicals the hair normally grows back (usually about 6 months later). Other drugs also can cause hair loss. Many medicines used to treat even common diseases can cause hair loss.

In Anagen Effluvium the hair does not enter the resting as it does with Telogen Effluvium. The hair loss usually occurs 2-3 weeks after exposure to the chemicals or radiation.

Although cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy are the most common cause of Anagen Effluvium, hair loss can occur through exposure to toxic chemicals such as arsenic. Not all drugs used in Chemotherapy cause hair loss.

In most cases the hair will regrow and return to normal once treatment is finished. Often, people claim that their hair has grown back thicker and healthier than before but sometimes the hair may grow back with a different texture and the possibility of being a different colour.

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Telogen Effluvium

A form of hair loss where more than normal amounts of hair fall out and there is a general ’thinning’ of the hair. Telogen Effluvium affects more women than men and can trigger hair loss due to sudden changes in hormone levels.

Telogen Effluvium occurs when sudden or severe stress causes an increase in the shedding of the hair. A stressful or traumatic event can cause the hair to stop growing and enter the telogen (resting) phase prematurely. Unlike some other hair and scalp conditions, it is temporary and the hair growth ususally recovers. However in some cases the hair loss continues until the underlying problem or cause is fixed.

Hair loss can give a diffuse thinning appearance.

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Scarring Alopecia

Scarring Alopecia can be caused by inflamation of the hair follicles, from the result of an infection. It can be easy to identify as it will appear as rough patches on the surface of the scalp.

Scarring Alopecia can have many causes including certain diseases and infections which should all be seen and diagnosed by a GP or Dermatologist.

If you are unsure of any type of infection on the scalp area, it is important to visit your GP immediately.

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A self induced form of hair loss where sufferers pull at their hair excessively, causing snapping and breakage at the root areas.

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Alopecia Barbae

Loss of facial hair (for a man) especially in the beard area. May start as small patches and develop further.

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Alopecia Mucinosa

A rare type of Alopecia which is referred to as Follicular Mucinosis.

It presents itself with scaly bald patches and the hair follicles are more prominent than usual.

The most common areas affected are the face, neck and scalp.

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"I've suffered hair loss for twenty years ever since my third child was born. My GP said my hair would recover but it never did. Then I saw a Dermatologist who confirmed it was hereditory alopecia. I went on to try wigs and other treatments but they were never successful. Going to the hairdressers became a mortifying and disappointing experience. Then I discovered Additional Lengths. I was desperate when I approached them and didnt really think they could help, but they were great. Vicky gave me lots of advice and at my initial fitting I cried when I saw the new me. I was due to start a new job and my new hair has given me so much confidence, I feel like the me I always wanted to be. Thank you Vicky, you are my fairy godmother !
Erica x"
Erica, Stockton on Tees, Oct 2009