What are the different types of hair loss and their causes?

Different types of hair loss are caused by different things. Here is a look at various types and their causes.

  • Androgenetic Alopecia: This is by far the leading type of hair loss in men and women and is a result of genetics. This genetic hair loss is hereditary and can be inherited from either side of the family. Commonly known as male and female pattern baldness, this type of hair loss is due to the action of a chemical known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which attacks the hair follicles and causes hair loss.
  • Telogen Effluvium: This condition is also referred to as diffuse hair loss. In this type of hair loss, a lot of hair is lost in a short span of time. Leading causes for this condition are pregnancy, chemotherapy for cancer treatment, very high fevers, severe illnesses, and sometimes even high levels of stress can result in telogen effluvium. This is not a permanent condition and most of the lost hair does grow back within a few months. Some sudden events that can contribute to this condition are childbirth, surgery, and severe emotional stress (death of loved ones, abuse, accidents, or other traumatic events.
  • Alopecia Areata: Any sudden loss of hair resulting in bald patches is the condition of alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune disease where the hair follicles are attacked by the body. Why it happens has not yet been discovered. It can be a mild case and result in bald patches on the head or if it is severe it can affect the entire body hair. This condition usually treats itself without any medication although some doctors may prescribe certain steroid injections for repeated occurrence of localized alopecia areata.
  • Traction Alpoecia: This type of hair loss occurs in people who routinely pull on their hair through harsh brushing or hairstyles such as a tight ponytail that pull on the hair. One prime example of this condition is the braided hair popular with African-americans.
  • Medication Related Hair Loss: Certain medicines such as accutane, allopurinol, and anti-thyroid medicines are known to cause hair loss.
  • Diet Related Hair Loss: Temporary hair loss and hair shedding can result from poor nutrition and an unbalanced diet. If your body is deficient in certain minerals, vitamins, and/or iron, it can cause you to lose hair.