Alopecia refers to the different types of hair loss that people experience. There are nine basic types of Alopecia, but even more subsets of some of these types. Some types of Alopecia are permanent, while others are only temporary. The causes can range anywhere from genetics to the way you style your hair. Read below to learn about the basic types of Alopecia.

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Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is one of the most common types of alopecia. It is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles, leading to hair loss. This hair loss is typically patchy, and can result in a single bald patch or extensive patchy hair loss. This type of alopecia is not typically permanent, and often results in full hair regrowth. Those who experience alopecia areata often experience periods of hair loss throughout their lives.

Alopecia Totalis

This type of alopecia is a more advanced form of alopecia areata that results in the total loss of all hair on the scalp. This hair loss starts with patchiness and eventually leads to full hair loss. When alopecia areata reaches this stage, the chances of regrowth are much smaller, but regrowth is not impossible.

Alopecia Universalis

Alopecia universalis is the most advanced form of alopecia areata. It results in total loss of hair on the body, including eyelashes and eyebrows. The hair follicles are not destroyed even in this advanced stage, meaning that chances of regrowth are not impossible. However, the chances are very small.

Alopecia Barbae

This type of alopecia is unique because it is localized in the beard area. It can manifest itself as a single bald patch or more extensive hair loss of the entire beard area. This type of alopecia is not permanent and often results in regrowth. It is common to experience this type of alopecia on and off throughout one’s life.

Androgenetic Alopecia

This form of alopecia is also known as male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. It is the most common type of progressive hair loss and results in the thinning of the hair to an almost transparent state. Androgenetic alopecia is thought to be hereditary but is caused by a number of genetic and hormonal factors. This hair loss involves permanent damage to the follicles, meaning that the hair loss is permanent and regrowth is not possible.

Scarring Alopecia

This type of alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia is made up of a group of rare disorders that cause permanent hair loss. Hair follicles are replaced by scar tissue. In some cases, this hair loss has no symptoms and in others the hair loss is accompanied by burning, itching, and pain. Scarring alopecia occurs in both men and women but is uncommon in children. Because the process involves permanent replacement of hair follicles, this hair loss is permanent and regrowth is not possible. The cause of this type of hair loss is unknown.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is typically caused by excessive pulling or tension on the hair shafts, usually as a result of certain hairstyles such as tight braids. This type of hair loss is more common in women than men and is more common in African American women than women of other races. Prolonged traction alopecia can stop new hair follicles from developing which can lead to permanent hair loss. However, adjustment or variation of hair styling before reaching this stage of damage can combat hair loss.

Anagen Effluvium

This type of hair loss is caused by chemicals such as those from certain medications. A common cause of this type of hair loss is medication used to treat cancer. Anagen effluvium starts with patchy hair loss but can result in more advanced hair loss. This type of alopecia is not permanent and your hair will typically grow back when you stop using these chemicals.

Telogen Effluvium

This type of alopecia involves extra hair loss during your hair’s natural shedding phase. It results in a general thinning of the hair and decreased volume. This type of hair loss is typically the result of extreme stress, brought on by events such as childbirth, illness, severe trauma, extreme weight loss, and many others. This type of hair loss is not permanent, and your hair will typically regrow 3-6 months after the initial hair loss.