Hair Loss: What is Alopecia?

Hair Loss: What is Alopecia?

Rhonda M. Davis - Published June 19, 2022

Hair loss. We’ve all experienced some form of it and it can be DEVASTATING. Emotional spiral, constant worrying about your health, crying in the shower…. trust me, I’ve been there. And while some hair loss is normal, according to the American Academy of Dermatology it’s normal to shed approximately 50 - 100 hairs a day, excessive hair shedding/loss on the other hand is not normal. We’re talking about clumps, patches and baldness. So what’s really the cause of this?

Hair loss can be age specific, hereditary or caused by pregnancies, stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, illness, STI’s (e.g.- syphilis), autoimmune disease, medical treatments (e.g.- chemotherapy or some medications), scalp infection, scalp psoriasis and the list continues. Even the way we style our hair or the ingredients in the hair products we use can cause hair loss. Yeah, that’s a lot to process but today I will focus solely on alopecia.

Alopecia is a noncontagious, autoimmune disease where the cells in your immune system surround and attack the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out. There are three types of alopecia to be aware of. They are:

  1. Alopecia areata: This patchy baldness can develop anywhere on the body, including the scalp, beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, inside your nose and/or ears.

  2. Alopecia totalis: Complete hair loss/baldness on the scalp.

  3. Alopecia universalis: Complete hair loss on the entire body. This is type of alopecia is very rare.

While all of this can be scary, ironically, this autoimmune attack rarely destroys the hair follicles which means your hair may regrow on its own.

If you or someone you know is experiencing excessive hair loss and would like to find out the root cause, research a board certified dermatologist for further analysis and possible treatment solutions.

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