Alopecia Definition & Fact Sheet
Facts on female hair loss and thinning hair:
Although female hair loss or thinning hair affects such a large portion of the female population, it is still considered an embarrassing and awkward, taboo topic. You cannot allow that embarrassment or fear keep you from knowing the facts. Education is still the best way to overcome your challenges.
- Over 20 million women in the US currently suffer from a type of hair loss or hair thinning.
- Close to 95% of women who suffer from Alopecia are diagnosed with Androgenic Alopecia which in most cases is incurable.
- Nearly 40% of the female population in the US will experience some type of hair loss or hair thinning during their lifetime.
- Several medical studies have concluded that although Alopecia is a distressing illness and time for both genders, its affects are much more problematic for women.
- In the US about half of men and women show signs of this illness by the age of 40.
- Hair loss can come from either parent’s gene pool.
- True hair loss occurs when lost hairs aren’t regrown or when daily hair shed exceeds 125 hairs.
- It’s estimated of women suffering from hair loss or hair thinning is 20% of women prior to menopause and up to 40% after that.
Description of Alopecia Terms
Terms commonly used to describe an illness may appear foreign to us non-doctors. Before you can begin to take control of the challenged of Alopecia it is wise to educate yourself on the common jargon.
- Alopecia Areata – mild, patchy hair loss on the scalp. Alopecia Areata is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system perceives the hair follicles as a foreign object and attacks them. There are a number of treatments for this condition, but there is no known cure.
- Alopecia Totalis – a condition in which all or most of the hair on the scalp falls out.
- Alopecia Universalis – a condition in which all or most of the hair on the scalp and body falls out.
- Androgenic Alopecia – a genetic disorder and the most common form of women’s hair loss. Androgenic Alopecia is characterizes by diffused hair loss over most of the scalp. It is a progressive condition for which there is no known cure.
- Anagen Effluvium – Hair loss caused by exposure to certain chemicals and radioactive substances. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment often experience this temporary disorder. When treatment is stopped, the hair follicles recover and the hair grows back.
- Crown – The area behind the highest point on the head. This is the area where the horizontal plane of the top of the head abruptly changes to a sloping, more vertical plane. In many people, it is a rather flattened region roughly the size of the palm of the hand.
- Follicles or Follicular Units – The anatomical and physiological unit we have come to call “follicular units.” These units are easy to see emerging from the skin under slight magnification on cross sections through the skin of when the hair is clipped short.
- Hair growth & rest phases – hair growth and rest occurs in three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen phase is the period of active growth and at any time, 85-91% of hairs are in this active, anagen phase which may last from 2-7 years. The catagen phase is considered a transitional phase and is also considered the dormant or resting phase. When hair enters the telogen stage, it is either pulled out during normal grooming, or is pushed out when new hair growth begins.
- Hair layers – hair is made up of three layers: the protective cuticle, the cortex (which is responsible for strength, elasticity, and color), and the medulla (the spongy center).
- Telogen effluvium – an acute disorder caused by sudden and severe stress. The hair may stop growing for a period of time and then begin to fall out again. Telogen Effluvium is a temporary condition often precipitate by childbirth, birth control pills, medication, or severe emotional distress.
- Terminal hair – the terminal hairs are the thick, strong, and usually pigmented ones that constitute the greatest volume of our hair.
- Trichotillomania – self-induced hair loss resulting from continuous pulling of the hair. It may be consciously or unconsciously self-inflicted. Trichotillomania occurs most commonly among young children, adolescents, and women. Treatment may involve counseling and psychiatric help. Anti-depressants may be prescribed as well.
- Vellus hair – the vellus hairs are the very fine, short, lightly pigmented hairs, sometimes called “baby hairs,” which can be often detected around the hairline, face, and throughout the scalp, as well as the light “fuzz” elsewhere on the body.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by any form of hair loss please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start your journey to feeling like yourself again!