Alopecia is a wide term that is used to describe hair loss. It is common to both men and women and may relate to a small, bald area on the head, or total hair loss all over the body. If you happen to live and/or work in London and you are looking for advice and treatment for your alopecia, you can use the walkin health screening services we provide here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
The main types of Alopecia
There are several different types of alopecia. The main ones include:
- Alopecia Areata
- Alopecia Barbae
- Alopecia Totalis
- Alopecia Universalis
- Anagen Effluvium
- Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)
- Scarring (Cicatricial) Alopecia
- Telogen Effluvium
- Traction Alopecia
There is no cure for Alopecia but there are certain treatments available that can help to slow down hair loss, and in some instances encourage re-growth. Those people who live and/or work in London can drop in without appointment to the walk-in facilities at Broadgate Clinic London Wall for a diagnosis, and if appropriate, for treatment.
Alopecia Areata is the most common form of temporary Alopecia. It is the one that we see most of here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall. It is an auto-immune condition (meaning a condition whereby the immune system attacks its own healthy body).
It can result in either a single bald patch being formed, or more extensive, but patchy hair loss. Hair loss can be total from the head (the eyebrows and eye lashes remain unaffected) and if this occurs, albeit temporarily, the condition is known as Alopecia Totalis.
Alopecia Areata affects men, women and young people, but because the hair follicles are not damaged, hair will eventually grow back, although if the condition develops into Alopecia Totalis, full re-growth may be limited.
People with Alopecia Areata often experience repeat episodes throughout their lives.
The most common form of progressive Alopecia is Androgenetic Alopecia. It is also known as male or female pattern baldness. This condition results in a thinning of the hair. It tends to affect people as they grow older but it can sometimes affect young men and women too.
Because Androgenetic Alopecia is caused by the hair follicles sensitivity to the male hormone Dihydrotestosterone, it affects mostly men, but women also develop the condition. On average 50% of men aged 50 years and over develop Androgenetic Alopecia, as do 50% of women over the age of 65.
With men the typical symptom of Androgenetic Alopecia is hair loss from the top and the front of the head causing a receding hairline. In women hair loss is typically at the crown of the head.
The most common form of treatment is Minoxidil.
Alopecia Barbae is a type of Alopecia Areata that is localised to the beard area. It may result in a single bald patch or more extensive loss of hair across the entire beard growth area. Further details are the same as those recorded under Alopecia Areata above.
This is the name given to the most advanced type of Alopecia Areata. Although hair loss is not permanent, once the condition has reached this advanced stage, full hair re-growth is often limited. Further details are the same as those recorded under Alopecia Areata above.
This is the most severe form of Alopecia; one which results in total hair loss from all parts of the body. Further details are the same as those recorded under Alopecia Areata above.
Hair goes through 3 distinct stages in its life and Anagen is the growth phase. Anagen Effluvium (Effluvium meaning – outflow) is a condition whereby hair is shed during its growth phase. The most common causes of this condition are chemotherapy, drugs, infections, radiation and toxins.
Normal hair growth will return once the underlying cause has been eliminated. After chemotherapy for example, full re-growth normally happens within 3 to 6 months.
Scarring or Cicatricial Alopecia is a disorder that attacks and kills hair follicles. Hair loss is therefore permanent. The damage done to the follicles results in scarring and it’s this that accounts for the condition’s name. Some people do not experience any symptoms at all and the gradual hair loss goes unnoticed for a long time. Others experience symptoms of burning, itching and discomfort. This type of Alopecia occurs in both men and women but rarely in young people
This type of Alopecia is related to Anagen Effluvium (see above) in as much as it is classed as an “Effluvium.” However, rather than occurring during the growth phase as the Anagen variety, Telogen Effluvium occurs during your hairs natural shedding process. The natural hair shedding process explains why you see loose hair in brushes and combs after use and is nothing to worry about.
With Telogen Effluvium, more hair than normal is shed. It is often not a uniform process but rather happens in various defined areas of the scalp, which results in thinning in those areas. The condition is however temporary and natural hair growth will return.
Little is known about this particular type of Alopecia but it is the second most common form of temporary hair loss after Alopecia Areata. Hair loss is often both sudden and rapid. Potential causes are shock, crash dieting, and in some people – a reaction to a recent vaccination. Mothers sometimes suffer from this condition after birth, as hormone levels re-adjust. This is called Post-partum Alopecia.
Traction alopecia is normally caused by excessive pulling or tension on hair shafts due to certain types of hair styles. It is therefore seen more often in women, particularly in women of East Indian and Afro-Caribbean origin. Actual hair loss varies with the way that the hair is being pulled. Prolonged Traction Alopecia can prevent new hair follicles forming and can therefore result in permanent hair loss.
Depending on the type of Alopecia diagnosed, there are various treatments available to help to manage the condition. (There is no out and out cure). Treatments can be chemical, surgical or a combination of both.
There are two varieties of chemical treatment most recommended here in the UK:
- Monoxidil (a topically applied treatment)
- Finasteride, an oral treatment administered in tablet form.
There are also a number of other proprietary off-the-shelf treatments (topical and oral). You can get advice about these, and if appropriate purchase them from our in-house pharmacy here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
Hair loss surgery
Hair loss surgery is the only hair loss treatment that works with certainty. It is not usually available via the NHS. The 3 most common types of surgery here in the UK are:
- Hair transplant surgery
- Scalp reduction surgery
- Implanting artificial hair surgery
You can advice about what surgery may be appropriate for your condition by dropping into our private walk-in clinic (no appointment necessary) here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
Make use of the well-man and well-women health services at Broadgate Clinic London Wall
If you are concerned about hair loss and you suspect some form of Alopecia to be responsible, why not drop in to the walk-in well-man or well-women health services that we offer here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall?
As no appointment is necessary, you can fit your visit in when there is a lull at work. We can check for Alopecia, diagnose which type you may have and recommend appropriate treatment
We are open 08:00 to 18:30 Monday to Thursday, and 08:00 to 17:30 on Fridays.