What is Alopecia?
Androgenic alopecia (also known as androgenetic alopecia, alopecia androgenetica, male pattern baldness) is hair loss that occurs due to an underlying susceptibility of hair follicles to androgenic miniaturisation. It is the most common cause of hair loss and will affect up to 70% of men and 40% of women at some point in their lifetime. Men typically present with hairline recession at the temples and vertex balding while women normally diffusely thin over the top of their scalps. Both genetic and environmental factors play a role, and many etiologies remain unknown.
Classic androgenic hair loss in males begins above the temples and vertex, or calvaria, of the scalp. As it progresses, a rim of hair at the sides and rear of the head remains. This has been referred to as a ‘Hippocratic wreath’, and rarely progresses to complete baldness. The Hamilton-Norwood scale has been developed to grade androgenic alopecia in males.
Female androgenic alopecia has been colloquially referred to as ‘female pattern baldness’, although its characteristics can occur in males as well. It more often causes diffuse thinning without hairline recession, and like its male counterpart rarely leads to total hair loss.
The Ludwig scale grades severity of androgenic alopecia in females.
Temporary or permanent hair loss can be caused by several medications, including those for blood pressure problems, diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol. Any that affect the body’s hormone balance can have a pronounced effect: these include the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy, steroids and acne medications.
Some treatments used to cure mycotic infections can cause massive hair loss.
Traction alopecia is most commonly found in people with ponytails or cornrows who pull on their hair with excessive force. In addition, rigorous brushing and heat styling, rough scalp massage can damage the cuticle, the hard outer casing of the hair. This causes individual strands to become weak and break off, reducing overall hair volume.
Trichotillomania is the loss of hair caused by compulsive pulling and bending of the hairs. Onset of this disorder tends to begin around the onset of puberty and usually continues through adulthood. Due to the constant extraction of the hair roots, permanent hair loss can occur.
Traumas such as childbirth, major surgery, poisoning, and severe stress may cause a hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium, in which a large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing shedding and subsequent thinning. The condition also presents as a side effect of chemotherapy – while targeting dividing cancer cells, this treatment also affects hair’s growth phase with the result that almost 90% of hairs fall out soon after chemotherapy starts.
Hair loss often follows childbirth without causing baldness. In this situation, the hair is actually thicker during pregnancy due to increased circulating oestrogens. After the baby is born, the oestrogen levels fall back to normal prepregnancy levels, and the additional hair foliage drops out. A similar situation occurs in women taking the fertility-stimulating drug clomiphene.
Micropigmentation can create the illusion of thicker hair as demonstrated in the before and after pictures and improve the hairline region. The confidence of our client has been greatly restored after just a two hour session when she attended one of our advanced training courses for scalp micropigmentation. The process involves numbing the area first for 30 mins with a topical numbing cream. Then we apply tiny follicle-like implants of pigment which match your existing hair to create the illusion of density.