What Are the Different Types of Alopecia?

What Are the Different Types of Alopecia?

Alopecia is a broad diagnosis that can cause hair loss on the scalp, face, and body. With each type, you can experience different symptoms and variable chances of growing your hair back.

Find out more about these different alopecia types and how you can help your hair grow back if you have alopecia.

The 11 Alopecia Types

The medical definition of alopecia is hair thinning or loss. Here are 11 of the most common types of alopecia. 

1. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder and presents as a single patch of hair loss, with additional patches occurring in the following months. Regrowth can occur without pigment, making your hair silvery-white in the affected areas, or the disorder can turn into persistent patchy alopecia, alopecia totalis, or alopecia universalis. Both men and women can be equally affected by alopecia areata.

2. Persistent Patchy Alopecia Areata

This is a form of alopecia areata characterized by patchy hair loss on the head. Occasionally, persistent patchy alopecia areata is a starting point for alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis.

3. Alopecia Totalis

Unlike localized alopecia areata that only causes round patches of hair loss on the scalp, alopecia totalis affects the entire scalp. 

4. Alopecia Universalis

The final progression of alopecia areata, alopecia universalis affects the entire body. People who have alopecia universalis lose all hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, and body hair. 

5. Alopecia Barbae

Alopecia barbae is a specific form of alopecia areata that only affects and targets the hair follicles in facial hair. Small, circular patches characterize this alopecia. 

6. Diffuse Alopecia Areata

Diffuse alopecia areata is a rare form of alopecia areata, most commonly found in young women. Instead of the slow thinning and gradual loss normal for alopecia areata, abrupt and intense hair loss characterizes diffuse alopecia areata. 

7. Ophiasis Alopecia Areata

Ophiasis is characterized by the shape of hair loss. Patches of hair loss are typically circular in other forms of alopecia areata. With ophiasis, the hair loss is in the shape of a wave or a snake. 

8. Androgenic Alopecia

This form of alopecia is better known as male pattern baldness, though it can also occur in women. 

Is alopecia genetic? In this case, yes. Genetic factors can play a role in causing androgenetic alopecia, but environmental factors like stress and diet are also responsible. In most cases, androgenic alopecia is caused by a lack of hormones called androgens, present in both men and women during puberty. Androgens can lead to a shorter cycle of hair growth, shorter or thinner strands of hair, and a delay in new hair growth to replace missing strands of hair. 

9. Traction Alopecia

This form of alopecia is caused by a patient repeatedly pulling or tugging on their hair. This can be the result of frequently wearing tight hairstyles like ponytails, pigtails, or braids. If caught early enough, you can reverse this alopecia by changing your hairstyle. 

10. Cicatricial Alopecia

Also known as scarring hair loss, this is a rare disorder that destroys the hair follicle, replaces it with scar tissue, and causes permanent hair loss. It can be gradual and go unnoticed for long periods, and is irreversible once it occurs. 

11. Postpartum Alopecia

Some women experience postpartum alopecia two to five months after giving birth. It can last a few weeks or a few months, but in most cases the hair will grow back.

Can You Grow Your Hair Back If You Have Alopecia? 

With some cases of alopecia, you can stop further hair loss and even regrow your hair. However, in some cases, like cicatricial alopecia, your hair follicles have been damaged or modified, so it is impossible to regrow hair. It really depends on the cause of your hair loss.

How Can I Grow My Hair Back? 

If you try to grow your hair back, remember to treat your hair kindly and be patient with the process. When it starts to grow back, it’s going to be thin and fragile. Here are a few tips to make growing your hair back a bit easier. 

  • Eat a balanced diet. Your hair follicles need the proper nutrients to create hair, so eat a well-rounded diet high in protein, iron, and vitamin C. 
  • Avoid heat or harsh chemicals on your hair. New hair is fragile. By exposing it to harsh treatments too early, you can cause severe damage to your hair. 
  • Use relaxed, natural hairstyles. Avoid pulling on your hair with tight ponytails or braids. 
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can affect your skin and hair follicles, which makes it harder for your hair to grow. 


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