It’s my mission to take away the stigma behind female hair loss though I make wigs I am a proud bald woman who confidently wears wigs not to hide but to highlight the many versions of myself. Wigs are recommended over other hair replacement services such as weaves or extensions. A properly fitted wig not only helps to protect your hair and scalp but also effectivity cover hair loss without causing further damage.
There are many different forms of hair loss, often each can be devastating as the next. I urge anyone suffering from hair loss to consult your GP or seek advice from a dermatologist or trichologist.
Types of hair loss
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss on the scalp, face and other areas of the body. Alopecia areata can occur in multiple family members, suggesting genetics play a part in this condition. It affects both men and women and often first appears in childhood.
There are several forms of alopecia areata, including:
Alopecia areata (patchy hair loss) - This is the most common form of alopecia areata, resulting in one or more round patches of hair loss.
Alopecia totalis - This form of alopecia areata is characterized by the complete loss of scalp hair.
Alopecia universalis - This condition is the most advanced form of alopecia areata and results in the total loss of hair on the scalp and body.
Ophiasis - This form of alopecia areata occurs in a wave pattern around the edge of the scalp, typically at the back of the head.
Cicatricial alopecia, also called scarring alopecia, refers to a group of rare disorders that destroy hair follicles and replace them with scar tissue. Most forms of the condition first appear as small patches of hair loss that may expand over time. Many African-American women suffer from this condition. While these disorders affect a small number of the population, they can result in permanent hair loss.
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA)
CCCA primarily occurs at the crown. The hair loss is usually gradual and radiates outward in a circular pattern. It’s linked to harsh styling practices such as chemical relaxers and excessive pulling on the hair from tight braids and weaves. However, research now suggests that CCCA may also be due to a genetic predisposition. This form of scarring alopecia is most common in African-American women, though it can present in men and women of all ethnicities.
Lichen planopilaris is a type of scarring hair loss that occurs when a skin infection called lichen planus affects the scalp. The condition typically causes intense itching and may be accompanied by burning and tenderness. The cause of lichen planopilaris is not known, but is thought to have a genetic link.
Anagen effluvium is the sudden loss of hairs in the growing (anagen) phase. This condition may be caused by exposure to chemicals or toxins such as those found in chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment. The condition is generally reversible and hair typically regrows within 1-3 months, but some hair loss can be permanent.
Involutional alopecia is the gradual thinning and loss of hair that comes with age. Over time, a greater number of hair follicles move into the resting phase and remaining hairs become shorter, finer and fewer in number. After androgenetic alopecia, aging is the second most common type of hair loss.
Hypotrichosis is a condition where there is no hair growth from the time of birth. Rather than having hair and losing it over time, people with hypotrichosis never grow any hair. This condition is thought to be caused by a genetic deviation during fetal development.
Scalp folliculitis is usually due to a bacterial infection and occurs when hair follicles become inflamed due to blockage or damage. Follicles may be surrounded by a ring of inflammation and look like acne. In the early stages, hair may still be present in the follicle, but as the condition progresses, it will fall out. In severe cases, the inflammation can permanently damage hair follicles and result in hair loss.
Telogen effluvium occurs when hair follicles are prematurely pushed into the resting (telogen) phase of hair growth. This condition is usually due to an acute external factor such as physical trauma, surgery, major illness or other intense stressors on the body. It typically appears as diffuse thinning across all areas of the scalp, and in many cases, is temporary and reversible.
Traction alopecia results from damaged hair follicles due to constant tension or pulling over a long period of time. Repeatedly wearing tight hair styles, such as ponytails, buns or braids, can cause traction alopecia. This condition typically occurs near the temples or along the hairline. African-American women often experience this type of hair loss at their edges, which is the hairline area that goes from ear to ear and frames the face.