Hair Loss Advice


Hair Problems

Male pattern baldness is the major cause of hair loss but there are a lot more hair problems as illustrated below.


This is a general term for baldness, of which there are a number of different varieties. Some types are permanent while others are only temporary, albeit the time scale can vary enormously.

Some people can have alopecia without it really affecting them at all whereas other sufferers go through a great deal emotionally trying to cope with it. Listed below are the main types of alopecia.

Alopecia Areata

alopecia This is normally first noticed as a small bald patch on the scalp. Usually a number of patches in an area of the scalp develop and eventually join up to form larger patches.

A patch can sometimes form overnight, so that the hairs that are shed are found on the pillow in the morning.

This can be a very frightening experience for someone when it happens for the first time.

The skin in the patch is usually pale and glossy, with no hairs present. The hairs around the patch are usually short and of a frayed appearance that can easily be pulled out, which is the last thing that should be done.

The cause of alopecia areata is not fully understood by doctors. Some people have a family history that could suggest a genetic link. However stress and shock have been blamed as reasons for the problem, while very often there is just no explanation at all.

Often the hair regrows on its own accord after about a month, while at other times the bald patch will clear up completely only to move to another area of the scalp.

Medical advice should be sought as worrying about the condition can actually make it worse. Whilst there is no actual cure for the condition, just being reassured that you are not suffering from some major disease, will help ease the distress this problem can cause.

Alopecia Totalis

This is the complete loss of scalp hair combined with the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as beard hair in men.

Regrowth is rare once the condition is established, so medical help should be sought as quickly as possible. However a cure is normally unlikely to be found.

Alopecia Universalis

This is the total loss of all body hair as well as all the scalp hair. Once this is established regrowth is extremely unusual.

This condition could be caused by severe shock, or even an accident such as falling out of a tree. Again medical advice should be sought as soon as possible, although very little can be done to regrow the hair.

Androgenic Alopecia

The popular name for this problem is male pattern baldness. This is the most common type of baldness and most men will suffer from it, although the degrees of severity can vary from trivial to very extreme.

It can start in the late teens, mid thirties or even at old age. The hair line recedes and there is loss from the crown until the whole vertex is void of hair. This may develop over a few years or it can span about ten years. There is a reduction in the length of time the anagen stage lasts and the hairs gradually become shorter and finer.

Eventually the hairs do not regrow, and the follicle closes. Hence baldness occurs.

Male pattern baldness has a definite genetic link. Increasing age can also be an influencing factor. After the menopause, androgenic alopecia develops in many women, this is often disguised by having the hair permed. You see rather a lot of women around the menopause age with permed hair which can help hide the problem that often clears up after treatment.

There are just as many bald women as bald men in geriatric wards of the hospitals.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is baldness due to placing to much tension on the hair, causing it to loosen in the follicle. If a pony tail is too tight there may be hair loss at the frontal hair line. Tight plaiting can result in hair loss at the sides of the base of the plait.

Attachment of hairpieces may cause hair loss at the point of attachment. The hair should grow back once this bad practice is discontinued, but can be permanent if the habit goes on too long.

Diffuse Alopecia


Diffuse alopecia is a gradual loss of hair across the whole scalp without any itching or scaling being present. It occurs in females for a variety of reasons.

Medical help should be sought in all cases because some of them may be serious. Below are some possible causes.

Telogen effluvium (moulting) following child birth, high fever or severe emotional stress.

Many scalp follicles enter catagen simultaneously, causing thinning of the scalp hair.

There should be regrowth within a few months. During pregnancy many women have a prolonged anagen period and as many as 95% of scalp hairs may be in anagen by the time they give birth. This is 10% more than normal.

Within three or four months of giving birth this figure may drop back down as low as 70%. Regrowth generally takes another three months.

Not all pregnant women lose their hair, so anyone who is pregnant should not worry about it.

Under activity of the thyroid or pituitary glands. This will decrease the rate at which the whole body uses energy and may be due to a tumour or, more rarely, a lack of iodine in the diet.

Iron deficiency. You do not have to be anemic. If you have increased hair loss monthly, it could be linked to the menstrual cycle. Tiredness is often a symptom.

The side effects of drugs. Ask your doctor if this is possible. Drugs which help to prevent cancer, are anti-mitotic and therefore slow down cell division in healthy cells such as hair.

Severe illness such as cancer, kidney or liver failure.

Cicatricial Alopecia

This is baldness due to scarring. The follicles are absent in scar tissue. The scarring may be due to wounds, burns or infection. Boils can cause scar tissue as may be seen on the necks of many men.

Great care must be taken by hairdressers with hair straightening chemicals that are highly alkaline and can burn and damage the skin. Nothing can be done once scarring has occurred.

Alopecia Senilis

Alopecia senilis is baldness due to old age. In most people the metabolism slows down with increasing age, and nutrients fail to reach the follicles.

A similar thing happens to the bones in old age, where even although enough calcium is taken in the diet, the bones lose it and become brittle. This occurs in the majority of old people. There is usually a general thinning on the head for which nothing can be done.

Alopecia Adnata

Congenital baldness or baldness at birth.

Alopecia Follicularis

Hair loss due to inflammation of hair follicles.

Alopecia Neurotica

Baldness following a nervous disorder or injury to the nervous system.


This form of hair loss is caused by pulling out one's own hair, usually without realising it. In young children it often occurs after the birth of a new child, to get the attention of the parents.

If the child is right-handed the baldness will tend to be greater on the right side of the head. It usually stops with the knowledge that one is pulling out one's own hair, but nervous" twiddling" of hair carries on throughout life in some individuals.

In older people, this habit can persist throughout the rest of their life, even though large areas of baldness can occur. In some cases psychiatric care may be required.

If you pluck a hair out of your head you are not actually pulling it out by the roots. The little bulb at the end is not the hair root. To pull your hair out by the roots would be extremely painful and your scalp would be bleeding badly, and more than likely you would pass out.

Mentally disturbed patients can often cause damage to themselves by pulling out their own hair, but they often have greatly exaggerated shows of strength.