The Many Types of Alopecia

girl with alopecia

Whether you attempt to hide it, treat it, or tacitly accept it, hair loss can disrupt your lifestyle and drastically impact your feelings about yourself. 

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, but many different forms exist. Trying to learn about alopecia can be overwhelming, especially because there’s a lot of misinformation circulating about it and how it happens. 

Together, we’ll explore the different types of alopecia and what causes them. We’ll also talk about current treatment options and a newly discovered solution that approaches hair health in a fresh way. 

What Is Alopecia?

The word alopecia comes from the Greek term for fox, alopex. It came to be associated with hair loss by referring to the fur loss seen in foxes suffering from mange. Alopecia can take several forms, however, so let’s go over a few.

Alopecia Areata (AA)

Unlike the other presentations of alopecia, alopecia areata stems from an underlying autoimmune condition that may or may not be genetic in nature. The word areata is Latin for area, and refers to the small, patchy areas that see hair loss in patients with this form of alopecia. Hair loss from alopecia areata can occur anywhere on the body and often presents in tiny circular patches.

As alopecia areata is caused by an autoimmune response, hair loss is only a symptom—without treating the root cause, hair loss may continue. Oral immunosuppressants, corticosteroid injections, and topical treatments may be useful in addressing the autoimmune issue.

Alopecia areata has three main types of presentations that narrowly define the parts of the body targeted by the autoimmune response, though narrower subtypes also exist.

Alopecia Focalis (AF)

Though alopecia areata is often used to refer to patchy, autoimmune-influenced hair loss on the scalp, the precise terminology for this type of hair loss on the scalp is alopecia focalis, with focalis meaning focused.

Alopecia Totalis (AT)

Alopecia totalis is defined as complete hair loss on the skull and scalp. It often presents as a severe progression in a small number of patients suffering from alopecia areata. Like alopecia areata, it is thought to be the result of an autoimmune disorder and likely genetic in nature.

Alopecia Universalis (AU)

Where alopecia totalis is limited to complete hair loss on the skull and scalp, alopecia universalis (AU) is defined as a universal loss of hair on the entire body. 

Alopecia Areata Onset

Alopecia areata usually presents during childhood and adolescence, but it may occur at any age. Left untreated, hair regrowth typically occurs within a year, and it’s possible that the hair may never fall out again; however, unpredictable cycles of hair loss and regrowth are not unheard of over the years.

Alopecia Barbae (AB)

Experiencing patchy hair loss on your beard? It’s possible that you’re dealing with a case of alopecia barbae, where the small, circular patches that are characteristic of alopecia areata present themselves as bald spots amidst your facial hair.

Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)

Androgenetic, or pattern, alopecia can occur in both men and women alike.

In the case of androgenetic alopecia, hair follicles shrink and stop producing hair as a result of hormones known as androgens like DHT. In women, thinning tends to occur at the crown of the head, while in men, it starts at the hairline above the forehead and starts to spread from front to back.

Left untreated, men can experience baldness, while women tend to experience more moderate hair thinning. A certified dermatologist can help to diagnose your condition by evaluating your scalp before determining what treatment options may be available to treat any presentations of androgenetic alopecia.

Scarring Alopecia

Another form of hair loss involves damage to the hair follicle that results in scar tissue. This scar tissue causes the hair follicle to become unhealthy and damaged. In this state, the follicle can’t support hair growth. 

  • Frontal fibrosing alopecia. If scarring alopecia occurs on the hairline (toward the front of the scalp), the person is said to have frontal fibrosing alopecia. 
  • Lichen planopilaris. With this type of scarring alopecia, hair is lost initially from the sides of the scalp. 

Once a hair follicle is damaged by scar tissue, it can’t support hair growth. Taking steps to support healthy hair follicles is crucial if you suffer from this type of alopecia.  

Postpartum Alopecia

Also known as postpartum telogen effluvium, postpartum alopecia is a form of hair loss that can occur in women after giving birth. This type of hair loss is common and, fortunately, temporary, often resolving itself within two to three months after delivery. In more extreme cases, severe hormonal imbalances following pregnancy can cause hair loss to persist for up to a year.

If you’re experiencing hair loss due to postpartum alopecia, our Hair Revival Serum can help! It reawakens hair follicles and aids in supporting healthier, fuller-looking hair—keep an eye out for our testimonial from Sisanie, co-host of “On-Air with Ryan Seacrest”, to hear how Revela’s Hair Revival Serum helped her fight back against postpartum hair loss!

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia means hair loss as a result of tension, or traction, from tight hairstyles like braids, buns, and ponytails. While an occasional braid or ponytail won’t result in traction alopecia, consistently wearing hairstyles that are too tight can put excess strain on the hair follicles. If left unaddressed, it can lead to permanent damage.

Trichotillomania (TTM)

Though not a form of alopecia areata, trichotillomania—a psychological disorder that manifests as persistent hair-pulling—can appear similar in some cases. Trichotillomania is a complex disorder that often results from unresolved mental stressors. It can be treated with certain medications that address the underlying compulsions or anxiety, while cognitive behavioral therapy can help address the behavioral component and self-control.

What To Do About Hair Loss?

At least 50% of women will experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime, and androgenic alopecia alone impacts 50% of males and females

Experiencing hair loss can understandably cause emotional distress, but fortunately many modern options are available to address both the causes and symptoms of hair loss to help support healthier hair.

How Can I Regrow My Hair Despite Alopecia?

Until now, treatments for hair loss and restoration treatments have been fairly limited (not to mention a little outdated). Ingredients in popular products can cause unwanted hormonal changes and many other not-so-desirable side effects.  At Revela, we think it’s time to normalize the conversation about hair loss and give those dealing with it better, safer options.

Revela Hair Revival Serum

Our Hair Revival Serum works in two different ways:

  1. Hair follicle stimulation. The serum contains ProCelinyl™, our proprietary breakthrough ingredient that targets the dermal papilla, reawakening the root.
  2. Hair follicle health. By incorporating natural, hypoallergenic ingredients that have been researched and proven to deliver blood flow and nutrients to the hair follicle, our Hair Revival Serum ensures your follicles are capable of supporting healthy hair. 

It has been proven to support thicker, fuller hair in 97% of women in our clinical trial. Just one dropper-full of serum applied to your scalp daily is enough to get dramatic results in as little as six weeks. 

Vitamin Supplements

We’ve discussed it in other posts, but optimal nutrition is key for both overall health and the health of your hair. A few essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients include iron, zinc, niacin, biotin, and collagen, as well as vitamins A, C, and D.

Getting nutrients through your diet is ideal, and foods like lean protein, spinach, nuts, seeds, and legumes are excellent sources of some of the nutrients listed above. If you’re concerned about the state of your diet, talk to your doctor or dermatologist to see if any adjustments should be made. If necessary, beginning a daily regimen with a dietary supplement may be right for you.

Summing It Up

Both men and women can suffer from a variety of different types of hair loss. Though the symptoms of hair loss can often be minimized with proper nutrition, topical treatments, and oral supplements, it’s always important to diagnose the underlying cause of any hair loss you fear you may be experiencing.

Whether you struggle with alopecia areata, traction alopecia, or a more temporary form of hair loss like telogen effluvium, give our Hair Revival Serum a try. Not only is it scientifically proven to support fuller hair, we back it with a 60-day money-back guarantee. At Revela, we understand that hair loss of any kind is frustrating—we’ve got your back in the fight against hair loss.
Profile photo for Evan Zhao

Reviewed by: Evan Zhao, PhD

Evan is a synthetic biologist and chemical engineer. He completed his BS from Caltech, and his MA and PhD from Princeton University. He received the prestigious Schmidt Science Fellowship as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT/Harvard and has published in the world's top scientific journals including Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Chemical Biology, and more.

Written by: Revela Editorial Team

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