Alopecia is the medical term for thinning hair or hair loss. It is a common disorder affecting both men and women. Hair is a vital part of an individual’s identity and scalp hair can indeed influence a person’s self-image. Hence, hair loss is a stress-provoking condition that can significantly diminish one’s quality of life.
Alopecia can cause deep psychological pain and lowered self-esteem, especially in females. Some women with alopecia feel so insecure that in order to conceal their hair loss, they avoid outside activities. Some even show signs of social anxiety. Studies show that alopecia can cause emotional debilitation, triggering interpersonal, social and work-related conflicts, especially in younger women.
The spectrum of hair loss is quite diverse. Scalp alopecias are commonly divided into two types: non-scarring and scarring.
Non-scarring alopecia: hair loss occurs but the follicle is not destroyed. Regrowth of the hair can occur. Common causes of non-scarring alopecia include female pattern hair loss, male pattern balding, telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
Scarring alopecia (also called cicatricial alopecia), refers to a group of uncommon conditions in which the hair follicle is severely damaged and replaced by scar tissue, potentially leading to permanent hair loss. Scarring alopecia includes such conditions as lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia, discoid lupus erythematosus and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA). CCCA is almost exclusively observed in women of African ancestry.
Treatment of alopecia is a specialty of Dr. Pearl Grimes.