Baldness affects both men and women, but it is widespread among men and is still quite uncommon in women.
There are several types of baldness:
This is the most common form of baldness in men and women. It is caused by a hormonal disruption, in other words excess production of the male androgen hormone, which causes hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia affects around 70% of men and generally starts around age 40. There are also many cases where baldness starts from the age of 18-20.
In general, and particularly in men, androgenetic alopecia involves more or less severe hair loss at the temples and on top of the scalp. The crown, above the nape of the neck, is never affected by baldness: it is called the everlasting area.
Men can experience more or less severe hair loss and there are different stages defined in order of gravity by the Hamilton-Norwood scale: there are around 7 stages of alopecia.
Women never actually go bald as the hair loss is much less dramatic and more widespread across the head. Thinning hair and a visible scalp through the hair is rather more common. The four stages of baldness in women are listed in the Ludwig scale.
Seborrheic alopecia affects lots of men and women, appears in the same form (temples, top of the head, etc.) and can be more or less severe.
It is similar to androgenetic baldness but has a different cause: the hair loss is due to excess sebum production, which suffocates the hair and kills it.
Other unpleasant side effects occur with this hair loss:
- Oily scalp and hair
- Loss of hair shine
- Heavy hair
- Loss of volume
- Weakening hair
- Irritation, itching and dandruff
Cicatricial baldness affects both men and women and is completely different from “ordinary” androgenetic baldness. In fact, it appears as patches or uneven hair loss on the head. It does not follow the same pattern as ordinary baldness, which is concentrated on the temples and top of the head, and can affect any area of the scalp. It can also occur with red patches and other scalp inflammation.
The causes of cicatricial alopecia are varied, but they are all a result of external aggression or trauma:
- Viral, infectious or bacterial diseases (Syphilis, favus, planus follicularis, cancers, cutaneous lupus)
- Congenital causes (aplasia cutis congenita)
- An auto-immune response following an illness
- Metabolic deterioration (caused by a tumor or other diseases)
- External aggression (serious burn, radiodermatitis)
Cicatricial alopecia destroys the hair bulb and makes the scalp look smooth and shiny.
Other causes of baldness
The causes of baldness vary greatly. Here is a list of other, more or less frequent, causes of hair loss.
Change in seasons:
Just like trees, we all tend to lose more hair than usual when autumn arrives and into winter. This hair loss can be quite significant in some people, and the scalp may even become visible.
Stress is a common cause of hair loss, especially in women. Whether due to psychological shock or everyday pressure (at work, for example), stress stimulates the production of androgen hormones, which cause hair loss.
Similarly to aandrogenetic alopecia, some cases of baldness are caused by hormonal disruptions. There are several hormonal disorders that can cause it:
– Menopause (decrease in estrogen)
– Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
– Pituitary disorder
– Polycystic ovary syndrome (production of androgens)
Trichotillomania is a mental disorder when someone instinctively pulls their hair out, to eat or fiddle with it in order to calm their nerves. This disorder is considered to be an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Long-term dieting or eating disorders such as anorexia cause nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies prevent the hair system from functioning properly, as it needs vitamins and minerals to produce the cells that are responsible for good-quality hair and its growth. An over-rich diet can also have the same effect.
Poor hair care:
Poor hair care can kill the hair. Hairdryers, straighteners, perms, dye, harsh shampoos, too tight buns, and cornrows can cause alopecia.
There are some medical treatments that slow down hair loss but do not prevent it, such as Minoxidil or Propecia. Despite giving good results, Propecia also causes annoying side effects such as erectile dysfunction.
Currently, the only real solution to combat baldness is hair micrografts. There are several micrograft methods, and the most effective in terms of its cosmetic appearance is the FUE micrograft technique, which involves removing each graft and transplanting them into the hair loss area.
The results are natural and aesthetically pleasing without leaving any scars. The finished result is particularly effective on mild to moderate baldness, or on female alopecia.