Alopecia refers to baldness or hair loss. Men are most common to develop alopecia areata, but some women also suffer from alopecia. This also applies to American actress Jada Pinkett SmithWill Smith’s wife. But what is this disease? What are the causes and is there a treatment?
Definition: Was she an alopezi?
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Men are affected much more than women. It is estimated that hair loss affects 20% of men in their twenties, 30% of men in their thirties, 40% of men over the age of forty, etc. Androgenetic alopecia is less common in women: it affects one in five women around the age of 40, and one in four around the age of 60.
The natural growth cycle of hair consists of three different phases. It lasts between two and five years. The first stage, which is called the anagen phase, is the hair growth phase. It is the longest stage and extends over several years.
In the regression phase, which lasts only about three weeks, the hair stops growing. The last stage is the telogen stage. It ends when the hair falls out and the hair cycle begins again.
In alopecia, the anagen phase is significantly shortened. Hair grows shorter and falls out more often. This leads to bald patches appearing on the head, especially on the temples and/or the medulla.
Alopecia: causes of hair loss
The most important factor in the development of alopecia is heredity. Because men or women who have a family member with hair loss have a higher risk of affecting themselves. Certain genes are said to play a role in the inheritance of androgenetic alopecia.
High levels of stress can also play a role in the severity or appearance of hair loss. Similarly, there are other causes associated with alopecia such as:
- Excessive UV rays
- Side effects of some medications (chemotherapy, anticoagulants, retinoids, contraceptives in the form of tablets, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, lithium, thyroid medications, anticonvulsants, hypervitaminosis A …).
- an infection (such as ringworm of the scalp)
- hormonal changes
- nutritional deficiency
- Genetic diseases
In women, iron deficiency caused by heavy menstrual periods or multiple pregnancies can lead to hair loss. This is also the case with some diseases that lead to an overproduction of male hormones.
Alopecia treatment: how to fight hair loss?
In order to effectively treat alopecia, it is first important to determine the causes of hair loss. Treatment is not always necessary, especially in the case of temporary hair loss.
Medications can help slow hair loss and stimulate hair growth without restoring the original head of hair. This applies to minoxidil in the form of a lotion and finasteride in the form of tablets. Can be used with hair supplements.
Another option is surgery. Scalp micrografts can be performed. The hair is removed and then transplanted to the balding areas. This technique is highly not recommended for young people, as hair loss can still develop.
In women, treatment depends on the cause of hair loss. It can be aimed at correcting iron deficiency or combating excess male hormones.
translation from french Janeside France