Hair Loss Explained
STAGES OF HAIR LOSS
We use scales to identify the level of hair loss in both men and women.
The Norwood Scale classifies the various stages of hair loss in men whilst the Ludwig Scale identifies the level of thinning which occurs in women.
TYPES OF HAIR LOSS
Male Pattern Baldness
This is by far the most common type of hair loss and can be split into 3 categories:
- Androgenetic Alopecia – this affects 98% of men who experience hair loss in their lifetime and follows a pattern of a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples.
Although the condition is thought to be hereditary, running in families, what we know for certain is that male-pattern baldness is caused by oversensitive hair follicles. Follicles which are sensitive to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), become thinner and thinner over time, gradually shedding permanently. The balding process is gradual because different follicles are affected at different times.
The hair at the back of the head beneath the crown is not affected by DHT and that is why men with this condition always retain the hair in that area – this is the area from which hair is taken during a hair transplant, the donor area.
- Telogen Effluvium – this is hair loss that is usually caused by the likes of medication, diet patterns, stress, and hormonal changes. This is often described as ‘Diffuse Thinning’ as there is usually a widespread thinning of the hair rather than a specific pattern or bald patches.
- Non Pattern Hair Loss – this relates to any random and rare hair loss experienced, such as scarring alopecia and compulsive hair pulling (also known as trichotillomania).
Female Pattern Baldness
Female pattern baldness exhibits a different pattern from that of male pattern baldness. In female pattern baldness hair thins mainly on the top and crown of the scalp. It usually starts with a widening through the centre hair part. The reason for female pattern baldness is not well understood, but may be related to ageing, a genetic history of pattern baldness or hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause.
EFFECTS OF HAIR LOSS
The emotional aspects of living with hair loss can be challenging and stressful for both men and women. The society we live in today is image focused and as a result many of us feel we want to look our best at all times. Hair is a big part of our image and losing it can have a very negative impact on self-esteem and confidence.
Today’s men are expected to look just as well-groomed as ladies and with advances in hair transplantation producing life changing results, hair loss can be a worry of the past for many sufferers.