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Different Types of Alopecia Explained

There are many different types of hair loss, and whilst you may hear the term ‘alopecia’ referred to as if it is just one condition, there are actually a number of different types of alopecia. The four most common types are: androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern balding), alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and traction alopecia. Today, we look at some of the different forms of alopecia and the treatment options available.

Androgenic alopecia

More often referred to as ‘male/female pattern baldness’, androgenic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss. This genetic condition presents the classic signs associated with hair loss – thinning around the vertex area and crown, and a receding hairline. Caused when the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blocks the growth of new cells around the top of the head, androgenic alopecia can be treated successfully; courses to reverse this kind of hair loss are the most popular treatment programmes here at The Belgravia Centre.

Sufferers of various forms of alopecia and their resulting hair lossAlopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a condition which causes sudden, patchy hair loss. Thought to be an immune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles, it is most common in those under 20, although men, women and children of any age may be affected.

Those experiencing alopecia areata may notice clumps of hair falling out or hair thinning, with round bald patches or areas of ‘stubs’ where hair has snapped off. Although the damage caused to hair follicles is not permanent, around 10% of those affected by the condition may never regrow hair.

It is thought that chronic, long-term stress, sudden stressful events, physical trauma or even genetic predisposition could cause alopecia areata to develop, and the condition can be successfully treated by a hair loss specialist, using a tailored hair loss program.

Left unchecked, alopecia areata can progress to alopecia totalis.

Alopecia totalis

Alopecia totalis is where all hair on the head is lost. One of the most famous women to be open about her experience with the condition is celebrity Gail Porter (pictured, right), who refuses to wear a wig and has helped raise awareness of alopecia. Those experiencing patchy hair loss should see a hair loss specialist straight away, as hair loss treatment could prevent the condition progressing into alopecia totalis.

Traction alopecia

There are other forms of alopecia which are less well-known. Traction alopecia, caused by excessive tension on the hair shaft, is caused by tight hairstyles, including braids, or wearing hair extensions.

It most commonly affects women of Afro-Caribbean origin, and many celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Naomi Campbell (pictured) have experienced the condition due to long-term wear of hair extensions. Left untreated, it could lead to permanent hair loss, but hair will begin to grow back when extensions are removed and tight hairstyles are avoided.

Alopecia mucinosa

Alopecia mucinosa, a condition which most commonly affects children or adults in middle age, leads to a build-up of ‘mucin’ around hair follicles. This causes lesions, scarring and hair loss. Although there is no cure for the condition, it can be treated using light therapy and topical medicines.

If you are experiencing any kind of unusual hair loss, it’s vital to see a hair loss specialist as soon as possible, to get to the root cause of the issue. Children experiencing hair loss should always see their GP.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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