Question: What causes patchy hair loss?
Hi Sam. Patchy hair loss is generally associated with the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata.
Alopecia Areata presents as smooth patches, often round or oval in shape, which can be located anywhere on the head. Assuming the hair loss is confined to the scalp, it is likely to be this form of alopecia.
This means that hair production is suddenly suspended, usually following a shock or trauma, and the hair follicles lie dormant, waiting for the body to give the signal to resume. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing when, or indeed if, this signal will come.
Alopecia Areata can also recur and, should regrowth come through, the hair may grow back white or a pale yellow colour, as can be seen in Peter's Success Story, pictured right.
Treatment for alopecia areata can be successful in shocking the hair follicles back into production in the mild-to-moderate stages of the condition.
If the patches of hair loss are more irregular, they could be caused by another hair loss condition which is frequently brought on by a severe kind of styling damage.
Traction Alopecia occurs where excessive tension is placed on the hair shafts, damaging them to the point where hair production is stopped.
This is usually temporary but - if the source of the problem is not addressed - this can be permanent.
Triggers generally include over-use of hair extensions and wigs, particularly if they are badly fitted, as well as frequently wearing too-tight hairstyles such as braids, or plaits, ponytails and buns.
Hair loss from traction alopecia is generally focussed around the hairline and temples as they tend to bear the brunt of the tension. However, additional patches may be found around the areas of the scalp where extreme pressure has been applied.
Traction Alopecia treatment uses a daily application of high strength minoxidil rubbed directly into the affected areas to promote regrowth where needed. The cause of the hair loss, in this case most likely a favourite hairstyle, must be removed at least temporarily in order to allow the treatment to work to its optimum capacity.
If you are experiencing patchy hair loss, we recommend you visit a specialist as soon as possible for a professional diagnosis and expert hair loss advice about how to deal with your condition.
If you are unable to visit one of our Central London clinics, you can use our Online Consultation form instead.
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.