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What is alopecia or baldness?

We understand alopecia or baldness as a process in which abnormal hair loss occurs, this term is understood as baldness.

Alopecia can appear in other areas with hair on the body such as the face (eyelashes, beard), legs, arms, genital region and armpits. 

Alopecia can be classified into two groups: scarring and non-scarring.

  • Scarring alopecia: destruction of the hair follicle and irreversible.
  • Non-scarring alopecia: the hair follicle is not destroyed and they are reversible.

In men over 40 years of age, alopecia is seen in 50% of the population. In 30-year-old men, the percentage of alopecia cases is reduced by 20%.

One of the most common hair diseases is androgenic alopecia, also called common alopecia. Its main cause is genetic.

Why does alopecia appear?

When the hair completes its life cycle, it is detached from the scalp to make way for a new, younger and healthier one. 

Alopecia appears with the irreversible or reversible loss of hair follicles that do not regenerate, achieving low capillary density., these hair becomes finer and shorter than normal. 

Over time, hair follicles stop producing hair. In many cases this last part of the hair process becomes very visible and annoying.

There are other types of alopecia called effluvia, defined by a hair loss greater than the physiological one, and that can cause, as in common alopecia, a reduction in hair volume.

Alopecia is a common dermatological condition in people, although sometimes it can be related to diseases. The origin of alopecia is usually hormonal despite the fact that there are different origins that cause hair loss.

Hereditary baldness is it possible?

Hereditary alopecia is one of the biggest concerns a person can have. There is a belief that leads us to think that if our father is bald we will also be bald in the future.

Hereditary baldness responds to a question of genes, this type of alopecia is known as androgenetic alopecia. There are people with a high predominance of testosterone (DHT) that causes hair loss. Androgenic alopecia can affect both men and women.

Will I inherit my baldness from my father and my grandfather?

Androgenic alopecia appears to be related to the X chromosome (inherited from the mother, not the father) from a genetic point of view. You are more likely to suffer from hereditary alopecia if your mother's father is bald.

Those who have a maternal grandfather with baldness symptoms are likely to suffer from alopecia, rather than their father or paternal grandfather.

Other studies suggest that the gene that promotes hair loss may also come from the maternal grandmother.

How is alopecia diagnosed?

Thanks to the medical advance in trichology we can diagnose alopecia and the cause in order to contain and reverse it. 

In our hair clinic in Spain, our trichologist will carry out a meticulous hair study observing and collecting all the information about the scalp. 

Thanks to the hair analysis performed on the patient, the reason for hair loss can be detected and the dermatologist trichologist will be able to choose the most effective hair treatment plan. 

Advanced alopecia can be solved with a hair graft depending on the donor capital of each patient and how stabilized the alopecia is.

Degrees of alopecia

When we diagnose alopecia, we must identify the degree of alopecia that we have simply by seeing how advanced it is, they are key factors for a diagnosis before hair graft surgery.

Hamilton-Norwood scale

The Hamilton-Norwood scale is used to determine the degree of androgenetic alopecia in men. It goes from the least advanced and almost imperceptible grade to the crown and the entrances.

Ludwig scale

The Ludwig scale, on the other hand, is used to determine the degree of progress in female alopecia, starting from the entrances and the crown.

Causes for which you can suffer alopecia

The main factors that cause alopecia are genetic (hereditary) and hormonal. There is a hereditary component, but the gene responsible for hair loss is not known.

The hormonal factor depends mainly on the male hormones that act directly on the hair follicles. The effect it causes on the follicle is the miniaturization of the hair causing atrophy and fibrosis.

There are several causes that cause hair loss, a diet low in essential nutrients for hair growth, thyroid problems, iron deficiency or deficiency, infections, stress, anemia, or an excess of cosmetics such as hair dyes or shampoos aggressive.

Intense, temporary or permanent hair loss can occur due to several factors, we summarize them as:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Traumatic
  • Radiation
  • Surgeries
  • Medications (various drugs)
  • Hereditary (Androgenetic alopecia, which is the most common)
  • Chemicals (per exposure)
  • Nutritional alterations
  • Hormonal disorders (thyroid, androgenic diseases)
  • Systemic and localized diseases

How many hairs do we lose per day?

An average loss of 50-100 hairs per day is considered normal.

This hair loss is within a normal physiological process of the biological cycle of hair, where 10-15% of our hair is in the telogen phase.

Daily hair loss varies from person to person, since it is proportional to the number of hairs and the duration of the anagen phase.

Hair loss becomes visible when it exceeds 50%. On average, a person has 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on the entire head with a daily loss of 100 hair / day.

The anagen phase lasts about 3-7 years depending on race and each person. In this time the total change of the follicular cycle (hair) will occur, randomly.

Hair loss can be combated with hair treatments.

The hairs or hairs are grouped in the form of follicular units. We have approximately 90,000 - 150,000 hairs on our scalp.

This number varies from person to person according to density.

  • Blonde hair: 150,000
  • Brown hair: 115,000
  • Black hair: 100,000 - 109,000
  • Red hair: 90,000

The human being has approximately 120 to 260 hairs per cm2 (60-120 follicles cm2) with a total of 90,000 - 150,000 throughout the head.