Hair Loss (cont.)

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What is traction alopecia?

This is a small or localized hair loss area caused by repetitive or persistent pulling or force on hair roots. Tight braids and ponytails can pull hard enough on hairs to make them fall out. If this happens, it's best to choose hairstyles that put less tension on hair. The sooner this is done the better to avoid permanent damage.

What is trichotillomania?

This refers to the habit of someone voluntarily pulling at their own hairs or twisting them, sometimes without realizing it. The scalp and eyelashes are often affected. Unlike alopecia areata patches, which are perfectly smooth, hair patches in trichotillomania show broken-off hairs. Treatment is often entirely behavioral: You have to notice that you're doing it and then consciously stop. Severe or resistant cases may require stress counseling with a therapist or psychologist or medical treatment with a psychiatrist. Several antidepressant or anxiety medications have been shown to help with this condition.

What is tinea capitis?

Tinea is the medical word for fungal infection, and capitis means head. Tinea capitis is fungal infection of the scalp that for the most part affects school-age children. Tinea capitis is more common in black African or African-American scalps. This condition is rare in healthy adults. Bald spots usually show broken-off hairs and is accompanied by a dermatitis. Oral antifungals can penetrate the hair roots and cure the infection, after which hair grows back. Sharing hats or combs and brushes may transmit tinea capitis.

What is generalized (diffuse) hair loss?

This is an overall hair thinning without specific bald spots or patterns. While this type of hair loss may not be noticeable to others, often the individual will feel their hair is not as thick or full as it previously was. Common conditions in this category are

  • telogen effluvium (rapid shedding after childbirth, fever, or sudden weight loss);
  • androgenetic or androgenic hair loss ("male-pattern baldness," "female-pattern baldness").
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2014

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Hair Loss - Treatments Question: What hair loss treatments have worked well for you?
Hair Loss - Age and Pattern Question: How old were you when you first experienced hair loss? How would you describe or classify the pattern?
Hair Loss - Vitamins Question: What vitamins do you take for hair loss? Have you noticed an improvement since taking them?
Hair Loss - Options Question: What optional treatments have you tried for your hair loss? Are you happy with the results?
Hair Loss - Telogen Effuvium Question: Describe your experience with telogen effuvium, including the suspected cause for your "sudden" hair loss.
Hair Loss - Women Question: If you are a woman, describe your experience with hair loss, including any treatments.