What is Alopecia? And What Can I Do?
Alopecia is a general, catchall medical name for hair loss, something which can affect men and women of all ages. Of course, losing your hair can be emotionally challenging and upsetting. For many, unfortunately, there’s often a sense of stigma attached to it.
One of the most common types of alopecia is pattern baldness which occurs in about half of men over the age of 50 and, perhaps surprisingly, half of women over the age of 65. While some forms of alopecia might indicate an underlying health problem, the majority of people who suffer from thinning hair or bald patches are not under any immediate medical threat.
It’s generally the physical appearance of bald patches and thinning hair that causes the distress and many people affected want to do something about it.
Over the years there have been many professed ‘cures’ for reversing hair loss, not all of which were based on exact science and many of which were overly expensive. The good news is that there are also some excellent cosmetic products on the market today that are designed to naturally conceal the presence of thinning hair.
Types of Alopecia
There are about ten different types of alopecia, some of which are quite rare. Hair loss can actually occur on any part of the body. For example, alopecia barbae generally affects the beard area in men. There’s alopecia universalis that means total hair loss across the entire body, including the eyebrows and even eyelashes.
Male or female pattern baldness is probably the most common form of hair loss and has the technical name of androgenetic alopecia. This generally happens simply as a result of the ageing process and may well have a genetic component – in other words, if your dad suffered from hair loss, you probably will too. In some cases it can begin to occur very early on when someone is in their 20s or 30s.
Other forms of hair loss are not permanent. Telogen effluvium, for example, is a form of alopecia where more hair starts to fall out than you would normally expect, causing a general thinning of the scalp area. Although scientist aren’t quite sure why it happens, this is not usually permanent and the hair soon grows back. Of course, there are other examples of hair loss because of medical treatment, most commonly with patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
What To Do About Alopecia
Hair loss affects people in different ways. Someone who is older and noticing a bald patch might just simply put it down to the ageing process and get on with their life.
Others, particularly younger sufferers, might feel self-conscious or awkward when they notice their hair thinning or a bald patch developing. It can also impact in different ways depending on whether you are a male or female. With androgenetic alopecia, for example, men will most likely notice a receding hairline while women tend to see a thinning of the hair around the crown.
There are a variety of different measures that you can take from simply living with the condition to having a full hair transplant. In between are a number of cosmetic measures that have proved to be very useful.
One of these is Toppik Hair Building Fibres, basically a way of making any balding or thinning area look like it still has natural hair. The fibres are simply sprayed on and will bind with even the finest hairs, lasting for the whole day.