I Have Alopecia - What Type of Hair Loss is This?

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Question: I have thinning hair around my crown and my friend who's a hairdresser said I have alopecia. I can't find any treatments for alopecia so wondered if this is right? When I look up alopecia on the internet it doesn't look the same as the type of hair loss I have.

Answer: Hi, Bryn. This is a common problem and is due to confusion regarding use of the word 'alopecia'.

Technically the term 'alopecia' used on its own simply means hair loss - it does not refer to a specific condition, it just relates to the fact that someone is losing their hair.

Definition of AlopeciaColloquially, however, the word 'alopecia' is often used as shorthand for the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata or its sister conditions, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis. These cause sudden hair fall in patches from the scalp, complete baldness of the scalp and potential loss of all facial hair including eyelashes and eyebrows, and total hair loss from head to toe, respectively. So, understandably, if someone is told they have 'alopecia' simply meaning a form of hair loss then google the term and have images appear of people who have lost all their hair, it can be incredibly disconcerting, even though there are effective Alopecia Areata treatments available.

The most popular hair loss conditions in men and women are Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, which come under the umbrella term of Androgenic Alopecia (AGA). The media often refer to this hereditary condition, that causes thinning hair rather than sudden bald patches, as 'alopecia' which tends to add to the general confusion.

These conditions only affect the hair around the top of the head and, whilst they often affect distinct areas in men - such as a thinning crown or a receding hairline - in women this tends to cause a more overall thinning at the top of the head and around the temples.

There are other conditions including Telogen Effluvium - which encompasses Post-Partum Alopecia whereby women shed the extra hair they have accumulated during pregnancy, after giving birth - and Chronic Telogen Effluvium, which also cause thinning hair. These predominantly affect women and are temporary in nature, often linked to an underlying cause such as medication, hormones or dietary deficiencies, but whereas genetic hair loss only affects the top of the head, these conditions cause thinning from all over the scalp.

Whilst the primary cause of thinning around the top of the head in both sexes is genetic hair loss, the best thing to do is to visit a hair loss specialist who can diagnose your precise condition. They will then also be able to recommend clinically-proven hair loss treatments suited to your precise needs.

Belgravia offers a range of high strength minoxidil products which are suitable for both men and women and can help to accelerate regrowth and can be used in conjunction with hair growth boosters to improve the hair's general condition and vitality. You can see the kind of results following our highly-targeted, bespoke treatment plans can achieve by checking out our Success Stories gallery.

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The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.

View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.