Types of Medical Related Hair Loss

Types of Medical Related Hair Loss You Should Know

Hair loss (Alopecia) is a normal body phenomenon with an average loss of 50-100 hair per day in humans.

The hair cycle is responsible for the constant hair production for this hair loss.

However, there can be issues with the normal hair cycle resulting in noticeable hair loss. Hair loss can affect the entire body's skin but is more common on the scalp. Many people suffer from medical related hair loss which is often treated with prescriptions or cranial prosthesis.


The scalp has up to 100,000 hair cycles running simultaneously, which is why the scalp is affected more by any interruption in the normal hair cycle of the body. Genetics may affect hair loss, although there are other causes, including behavioral or pathological causes.

In this article, we discuss the various types of hair loss briefly.

Common Types of Hair Loss in Males

In contrast to females, hair loss is more noticeable in males and is most commonly related to hormonal changes in men.

A few common types of hair loss in males include:

male hair loss

Common Types of Hair Loss in Females

Significant hair loss leading to baldness is usually not observed in women; women experience a diffused type of hair loss resulting in thinning of hair on the scalp.

Some common types of hair loss affecting females are:

Female Hair Loss

Common Types of Hair Loss in Children

Hair loss also affects children, although children experience less than adults. Some types of hair loss affecting children are:

  • Fungal Hair Loss
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Lichen Planopilaris

Androgenic Hair Loss

The hair loss caused by hormones (androgens) in our body is called androgenic hair loss, and it is the most frequent cause of hair loss in males in their twenties and females in their forties.

On average, about 50% of males are affected with this type of hair loss at the age of 50 years. Additionally, Caucasian people are more affected than African Americans, Japanese, and Chinese people.

It's a genetic problem, and some environmental factors contribute to this hair loss. However, this type of hair loss is stoppable and complete regrowth of hair is possible with medications. In males, it’s called ‘male pattern hair loss’ while in females, it’s called ‘female pattern hair loss.

Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern hair loss can occur any time after puberty in males and has a characteristic pattern of hair loss.

Initially, the hair loss starts from both temples, receding the hair line and giving a distinctive appearance of an ‘M’ shape. Later, overall hairs are also thin at the head top leading to partial or complete baldness in males.

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Different from males, female pattern hair loss usually occurs after menopause, although hair loss is reported at any age after getting into puberty.

The hairline is not affected in females. Instead, there is thinning of the hair all over the head. There are fewer chances of complete baldness in females with androgenic hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium

The hair cycle completes in three distinct phases, which include; anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting phase). When a large number of hair follicles enter the resting phase (telogen) and the subsequent growth phase does not begin, shedding hair starts, called telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss can affect any age group in both sexes.

There is no specific pattern of telogen effluvium except that there is an increased amount of hair a person typically sheds. There are several causes of telogen effluvium, such as severe stress, poor diet, sudden weight loss, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, certain medications, poor health conditions, or metal toxicity.

With treatment, Telogen Effluvium is temporary. Once the diagnosis of the underlying cause gets treatment, hair can regrow within 3-6 months.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is a disease in which the immune system of the body attacks the hair follicles. This is an unpredictable type of hair loss that can begin in childhood or a teenager. According to National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF), approximately in the USA, 6.8 million people are affected by Alopecia Areata at some point in their life, and globally, this number reaches 147 million people.

Alopecia Areata can occur in any part of the skin on the entire body. However, the most affected area is the scalp. Hair loss occurs in patches on the scalp; otherwise, the person's health is normal with no other symptoms. This hair loss is not permanent, and hair follicles remain alive. In some people, hair from the entire body can be lost. However, hairs regrow within 12 months without any medications.

In severe, long-lasting, and entire body Alopecia Areata, the dermatologist may prescribe medications to deal stop the immune system from attacking the own body.

Alopecia Hair Loss

Scarring Alopecia

Scarring alopecia (cicatricial alopecia) is a permanent type of hair loss caused by any disease making scars on the skin. It counts for more than 3% of the total hair loss types and can affect males and females at any stage of life. The hair follicles are entirely lost from the area of inflammation leading to permanent hair loss.

The affected area may be itchy, burning, painful, and red, progressing from center to periphery. Hair loss occurs in patches that are slowly moving over the years. Scarring Alopecia differs from Alopecia Areata due to the pain, redness, and itch in the affected area that is not present in the alopecia areata.

Additionally, the hair loss patches are more ragged than those in the Alopecia Aareata. The treatment is limited to stopping the progression of hair loss according to the type of Scarring Alopecia. The hair does not regrow as the hair follicles are entirely lost in the affected area.

Fungal Hair Loss

Scalp ringworm, known as ‘Tinea capitis’, is the leading cause of fungal hair loss on the scalp and the entire body. As the name indicates, it usually occurs in the form of ring-shaped patches. It is most common in children but can infect at any age.

This type of hair loss is contagious and spreads via sharing combs, towels, hats, clothes, bedding, or pillows. Fungal hair loss starts as small patches with red or black spots and can spread and become more prominent if left untreated. The affected person may feel pain in the scalp along with low-grade fever.

In addition, the lymph nodes in the neck region may get swollen due to fungal infection. This infection is diagnosed by ‘Wood’s lamp,’ and dermatologists treat this type of infection with appropriate anti-fungal drugs and medicated shampoos. Ringworm heals at a plodding pace and usually takes 4-6 weeks for a complete cure.

The patches of hair can regrow once the treatment completes with the elimination of the infection.

Postpartum Alopecia

The hair loss in females right after childbirth is called postpartum alopecia. During the last month of pregnancy, maintenance of a high estrogen level is in the body, and these hormones are the culprits for keeping the hair in the growth phase (anagen).

During this phase, there is less hair loss and an increase in the diameter of hair too. Right after childbirth, when the elevated estrogen levels come to normal, the shedding of hair starts, referred to as postpartum alopecia.

Some dermatologists do not categorize this condition as alopecia; the reason is that this is the shedding of hairs that were grown during pregnancy under hormonal influence.

Alopecia Barbae

Alopecia Barbae is a particular form of Alopecia Areata affecting the beard in males. In this type of hair loss, the body's immune system starts attacking the hair follicles and damages them.

Alopecia Barbae

It occurs suddenly, and beard hairs start losing in small circular patches that are increasing in diameter. The skin in these patches is smooth and, in some cases, may be itchy and painful. Its treatment includes mediation to stop the immune system from attacking the hair follicles and improving the quality of life.

Lichen Planopilaris

Lichen Planopilaris is a permanent type of hair loss caused by damage to hair follicles by Lichen Planus. It is a patchy and progressive hair loss problem affecting the scalp and other hairy areas of the body.

It commonly affects young adult females and rarely affects males as well. The treatment for Lichen Planopilaris will slow down the progress of hair loss.

Traction Alopecia

When hair is tightly pulled repeatedly, the strands become weak and start falling off which is called Traction Alopecia. It begins as patches of non-scarring hair loss in the area under traction.

If noticed early, it can be reversible, and hair can regrow after removing traction or avoiding the tightly pulled hairstyles. However, later stages can lead to irreversible scarring alopecia with itching and pain. This is common when braiding hair too tight.

Dealing With Medical Related Hair Loss

Medical related hair loss is common and comes in many different varieties. There are many different treatments your dermatologist can recommend to help. You are not the first or will be the last to have these issues. Medical related hair loss is common.

If you are suffering from medical related hair loss and looking for help, please reach out to one of our Certified Cranial Prosthesis Specialists to go over your medical wig options.

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