The most common form of hair loss, predominantly affecting men but also common in women, is Androgenetic Alopecia. Known as Male Pattern Balding or Male Pattern Alopecia it occurs as men age. The hairline recedes at the front and thins on top with a bald patch gradually developing in the middle of the scalp with the receding front and top bald patch eventually merging together.
A rim of hair might remain around the back and sides of the scalp, which can also thin out leaving a completely bald scalp and near- baldness by the time a man reaches his sixties. For some men balding begins in their twenties and is down to the luck of the (gene) draw. In women, Androgenetic Alopecia is related to hormone levels in the body and a large genetic predisposition. A woman's hair begins to thin all over the head, with loss predominantly over the top and sides of the head, rarely resulting in full baldness.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease and because the only symptoms are patches of hair falling out your friends, family, or your hairdresser may notice the condition before you do. It can be inherited and is caused by hair follicles being attacked by white blood cells, making the follicles very small and slowing down hair production, resulting in no visible hair growth for a long period of time. The hair follicles are not permanently damaged so steroid injections or creams can help encourage the hair to grow back but many hair experts believe that in most cases alopecia areata resolves itself, after about a year without need for treatment.
Alopecia Totalis means a total loss of scalp hair and Alopecia Universalis is when hairs across the whole body have been shed including eye brows/lashes.
With Telogen Effluvium hairs start shedding around the scalp, as well as over the body as a result of extreme stress, or as a side effect to medication. This condition can affect both men and women, and is often seen in middle aged women. It causes more of a 'thinning out' of hair, rather than a specific bald patch and can get better on its own provided the stress or trigger which started it is dealt with. It is thought to be caused by a deficiency in nutrients like iron (anaemia), hormones (menstruation, giving birth, breast-feeding), certain medication or a psychological shock such as a death or accident. Hair loss can also be caused by fungal infections, thyroid problems as well as chemotherapy (treatment for cancer) but treating the infection/condition may prevent further hair loss and in some cases - including after cancer treatment - the hair may start to grow again.