alopecia(hair loss) is the absence of hair from areas where it normally grows. Non-scarring alopecias include male-pattern balding, which is familial, and androgenetic alopecia in women, in which the hair loss is associated with increasing age. Acute hair fall (telogen effluvium), in which much or all of the hair is shed but may start to regrow at once, may occur after pregnancy or a serious illness. Alopecia areata consists of bald patches that may regrow; it is an example of an organ-specific autoimmune disease.
Alopecia totalis is loss of all the scalp hair, due to an autoimmune condition; in some 70% of cases it regrows within a few years. Alopecia universalis is loss of all body hair. In scarring (or cicatricial) alopecias the hair does not regrow; examples include lichen planus and discoid lupus erythematosus.
Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or medications. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some people prefer to let their baldness run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss and to restore growth.

Before pursuing hair loss treatment, talk with your doctor about the cause of the hair loss and the best treatment options.

SYMPTOMS

Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what's causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Some types of hair loss are temporary, and others are permanent.

Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:

Gradual thinning on top of head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter M. Women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
Circular or patchy bald spots. Some people experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some cases, your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
Sudden loosening of hair.
  A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back.
Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.
CAUSES

Most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when this cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.

The exact cause of hair loss may not be fully understood, but it's usually related to one or more of the following factors:

Family history (heredity)
Hormonal changes
Medical conditions
Medications
Family history (heredity)

The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair in women.

Heredity also affects the age at which you begin to lose hair, the rate of hair loss and the extent of baldness. Pattern baldness is most common in men and can begin as early as puberty. This type of hair loss may involve both hair thinning and miniaturization (hair becomes soft, fine and short).

Hormonal changes and medical conditions

A variety of conditions can cause hair loss, including:

Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause temporary hair loss. This could be due to pregnancy, childbirth or the onset of menopause. Hormone levels are also affected by the thyroid gland, so thyroid problems may cause hair loss.
Patchy hair loss. This type of nonscarring hair loss is called alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh). It occurs when the body's immune system attacks hair follicles — causing sudden hair loss that leaves smooth, roundish bald patches on the skin.
Scalp infections. Infections, such as ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to scaly patches and hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back.
Other skin disorders. Diseases that cause scarring alopecia may result in permanent loss at the scarred areas. These conditions include lichen planus, some types of lupus and sarcoidosis.
Hair-pulling disorder. This condition, also called trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it's from the scalp, the eyebrows or other areas of the body.

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