Non-Scarring Types of Hair Loss
There are a number of types of hair loss. The non-scarring hair loss types consist of female/male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), telogen effluvium (stress hair loss) and alopecia areata.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss.
In men it is called balding, and may be first manifested by a receding hairline or loss on the crown of the scalp. In women it typically shows up as a wider hair part, receding hair line or area of thinning on the top of the head in a circle starting just behind the hair line. The main cause of this is thought to be hormonal and genetic. The main treatments are minoxidil (Rogaine) and Propecia (oral medication approved for men only). Often this type of hair loss can be arrested and in some cases reversed by addition of one or both of these medications.
Telogen Effluvium can be caused by many things.
It can be caused by childbirth, low thyroid, low iron storage, severe stress, and occasionally by certain drugs. Typically this type starts suddenly and the loss is all over, with increased shedding of hairs from the root. This usually goes on for approximately 3-6 months, then stops for 3 months, then the hair grows back. In the case of low thyroid or low iron, replacement to normal levels is necessary to restore hair growth.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease.
The immune system attacks a portion of the hair follicle mistakenly thinking it is a bacteria or virus. This results in circular areas of complete hair loss. Sometimes there are broad patches or even loss of all hair on the head. This is treated with anti-inflammatory creams and injections as well as minoxidil.