What is Alopecia? Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment of Hair Loss

Keren P.
Alopecia | What is Alopecia | Signs of Alopecia

Alopecia, aka hair loss, is a common problem experienced by men and women, old or young, across all regions of the world. In the United States alone, about 6.8 million people suffer from alopecia. At the same time, one in a thousand people worldwide suffer from the condition.

Alopecia is a source of great concern to most people for cosmetic and health reasons. It occurs on various obvious body parts, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, face, underarms, and, most commonly, the scalp. There are different ways to treat balding spots to regrow hair. 

This article comprehensively discusses alopecia, the symptoms associated with its various types, and cost-effective ways to treat or manage the condition.

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is the medical terminology for hair loss or baldness. It is a polygenic autoimmune condition where the body mistakes hair follicles for bacteria or infections. Hair loss begins when your immune systems attack your hair follicles, causing the hairs within that area to fall off and not grow again.
Alopecia is a miscommunication between the body and the immune system because the body ends up attacking itself.

It often presents itself as round patches of bald spots. In the early stages, alopecia may not be noticeable. But when left untreated, the various areas affected may join and become visible to anyone looking.

Alopecia is primarily asymptomatic, and many scientists believe the trait sometimes gets triggered by a bacterial or fungal infection. 


a man looking at his hairline in the mirror


Common Types of Alopecia and Their Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

There are about five different types of alopecia. Here, we subdivide them into two main categories: scarring and non-scarring alopecia.

Scarring Alopecia

Medically known as Cicatricial alopecia. This type of hair loss occurs when an inflammation permanently destroys hair follicles. Scar tissues take the place of the hair follicles. Dermatologists say that this condition is associated with major injuries and tight hairstyles. It mainly affects women of African origins. 
If you suspect scarring alopecia, performing a scalp examination or biopsy is best.

Scarring Alopecia Signs: Major signs of scarring alopecia are pain, itching, and burning sensation.

Alopecia Treatment: when caught early, you may use topical, oral, and injected medicines to reverse the effects of the disease. A hair transplant surgery is the only way to manage scarring alopecia after permanent damage occurs.

Non-Scarring Alopecia

If you're suffering from non-scarring alopecia, be assured that your hair may regrow. In cases of non-scarring alopecia, there are no scar tissues or destroyed hair follicles. What actually occurs is an alteration in the capillary cycle. 


a man's head with bald patches


Types of alopecia under this subdivision include:

Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia affects at least 10% of women and 50% of men worldwide. It is commonly known as male or female pattern baldness. This baldness typically starts to manifest mildly or extensively in middle-aged men and women. However, young adults may suffer this hair loss in their late teens or early 20s.

Hormones and genetics are common causal agents of androgenic alopecia. The genetic cause was formerly thought to be a result of maternal genetics. Still, it has subsequently been established that polygenic inheritance makes this genetic cause unpredictable. Whereas the hormonal cause affects genetically predisposed hair follicles, gradually causing their atrophy until the hair entirely vanishes.

Androgenic Alopecia Signs: thinning hair, receding hairline

Treatments: topical and oral treatments like minoxidil, steroids, finasteride, and spironolactone.

Alopecia Areata

After androgenic alopecia, alopecia areata is the most common form of alopecia. Areata starts as patches of hair loss and may extend to the entire scalp or other body areas. Most times, alopecia areata resolves after little treatment, but it recurs in the event of a future relapse. 

Dermatologists say this hair loss could be a symptom of an autoimmune condition like arthritis, diabetes, and celiac disease.

Alopecia Areata Signs: oval patches of hair loss in eyebrows, beards, genitals, and scalp.

Treatment: corticosteroid injections every four weeks, over-the-counter topical and oral medications.


a woman taking out hair out of a brush


Traction Alopecia

Excess chemicals or heat on your scalp accelerates hair loss due to traction alopecia. This condition occurs when you tug on your hair repeatedly. You can also acquire this condition if you frequently keep your hair in a tight ponytail, braids, or bun. 
It is possible to quickly reverse traction alopecia if you quit tugging your hair backward or in one direction. The later it takes to quit pulling, the more likely your hair loss becomes irreversible.

Traction Alopecia Signs: scaling, bumps, pus-filled blisters, redness, and itching.

Treatment: Stop tugging hair, minimize heat and chemicals, and change hairstyles.

Alopecia Totalis

This is a more advanced form of hair loss. It results in total scalp hair loss, leaving the infected person bald. It starts off as mild alopecia areata and progresses until the entire scalp is bald. It begins and progresses rapidly. Researchers and doctors say Totalis occurs when the immune system attacks healthy hair follicles.

Alopecia Totalis Signs: multiple patches of hair loss, pitted nails

Treatment: corticosteroids, topical therapy, minoxidil, hair transplant, and ultraviolet light treatments.


gloved hands checking a man's bald head


Other Alopecia Signs That You Need to Know

Early identification of alopecia gives you a better chance of fighting and halting the spread of alopecia. Here are other signs and symptoms to detect any alopecia:

Excess hair in your brush or drain

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, we lose between fifty to one hundred hair strands daily. However, when you notice excessive hair in your brush after styling or washing your hair, there may be a problem.

Thinner ponytails and receding hairline

Women may experience a sudden reduction in the size or length of ponytails. It could be a warning sign if you keep noticing your frontal hairline moving inward.

White lines on nails

If you notice white patches, pitting, or tiny craters on your nails accompanied by hair loss, it's best to consult a dermatologist.

Do you suspect you're living with alopecia?

If you suspect you're living with alopecia, the next step will be getting an official diagnosis from a licensed dermatologist or medical hair technician. 

You should contact us at HairTransplantPro to schedule a session with our hair transplant experts across 25 clinics in Turkey, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Greece.

Each doctor and clinic has their own alopecia specialty and skills to resolve your hair loss before it becomes irreversible. HairTransplantPro also offers discounted agency prices, flight tickets, and VIP airport transfers to our hair treatment clinics. 

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