Watching clumps of hair fall out of your scalp can never be something you can take lightly. When it gets to the point where you can see bald spots appear on your scalp, it can induce real fear in your heart. After all, anything that affects your hair can hit hard on your self confidence. So, it’s no wonder that alopecia is a hair condition that distresses everyone who is affected by it. But, what is alopecia, you ask? Well, let’s take a closer look…
What Is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a hair condition in which clumps of hair start to fall out. This then causes spots of smooth and completely hairless patches to start appearing on your scalp and other parts of your body. In some cases, you may notice your hair getting visibly thinner or breaking off a few inches above the roots (resulting in “exclamation point” hair, without actually causing bald spots. The hair loss caused by alopecia tends to come and go and the hair usually grows back within a few months. However, it can also so happen that the hair may grow back in only one area or the hair that grows back could be fine textured and white.
While alopecia can affect as many 50% of the men in the US, 25% of women can experience it by the age of 50. Out of these people, 10% may never regrow hair.
Now you must be wondering what could possibly cause your hair to fall out by the handfuls. There are a number of possible reasons, actually. So, let’s check them out…
What Are The Causes Of Alopecia?
If the question “How do you get alopecia?” has been troubling you, let me tell you that there’s no straight answer for that. Though it is still not totally understood, it could be any one of the following reasons:
- While the hormone dihydrotestosterone could be a cause for alopecia in men, there’s no hormone in women that could be held responsible for it.
- Infections like tinea capitis, dissecting cellulitis, secondary syphilis, folliculitis, and demodex folliculorum could damage hair follicles and cause your hair to fall out.
- Medications for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, birth control, steroids, acne medication, and hormone replacement therapy can lead to alopecia.
- The fall in estrogen levels after childbirth could cause hair loss.
- Tying your hair in tight ponytails or cornrows, heat styling it too much, or brushing it roughly can cause it to fall out in clumps.
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer can cause 90% of your hair to fall out.
- Hypothyroidism and its related medication can also lead to alopecia.
Besides these factors – and the many others not listed here – you can be at a higher risk of developing alopecia if there are other people in your family who have it, if you have had the symptoms since before puberty, have an autoimmune disease or you have nails that are abnormal in color, texture, or shape.
You may think that you can lose hair just one way when you have alopecia. However, there are actually many different types of alopecia that are caused by different factors and have their own unique characteristics. So. let’s take a quick look at them…
What Are The Different Types Of Alopecia?
- Alopecia Areata: Alopecia Areata is caused by an autoimmune condition that makes your immune system attack your hair follicles, damaging them, and making your hair fall out as a result. This can cause a single bald patch or several bald patches to appear on your head.