It's probably safe to say that you know—or at least that you've crossed paths with—someone living with alopecia. But what is alopecia, and how can you spot early warning signs if you're worried about it? Here are a few answers that might help you out.
Alopecia is defined more generally as hair loss. While there are countless reasons for hair loss, it most typically involves hair growing at a slower rate than it is falling out.
While alopecia doesn't discriminate, the biggest contributing factor is usually age. As we get older, bodily processes like hair growth slow down, which can contribute to hair loss. But if you're worried about premature hair loss, here are a few warning signs you should look out for.
This is one of the most common symptoms of premature hair loss. Hair at the top of the head will gradually begin thinning out until there's no hair left.
In men, this typically includes thinning closer to the forehead and a receding hairline. In women, this manifests as a widening of the area where hair is parted. Fortunately, a broadening hair part or receding hairline can be treated if they're caught early enough.
While hair thinning at the top of the head is most common, it's also possible to have small sections of hair fall out at once. Patients have reported these areas—typically on the scalp—even feel itchy and dry before the hair falls out. It's also possible for this to occur in the eyebrows or with facial hair.
If you notice patches of hair on your pillow when you wake up in the morning, or that more hair than normal is getting caught in the shower drain, it could be a sign of premature hair loss.
In some cases, hair may suddenly begin to loosen. When this happens, hair may fall out at the slightest touch or tug. Even combing or washing hair could result in large patches of hair falling out. This can occur as a result of emotional trauma, stress, hormonal issues, or even physical trauma.
The good news is that this type of hair loss may be temporary if it is the result of emotional or hormonal influences. Either way, this is still a sign that you may want to seek our hair loss treatment.
Leading up to full-on hair loss, hair health can take a turn for the worse. Hair may become dry, brittle, and thin as it continues to grow. If you're noticing more hair loss than normal in your daily brushing or shampooing, be sure to check the hair around that area.
In most cases, hair around the area of your scalp where there's been hair loss can be thinner and less healthy than on the rest of your head. If you've ruled out an environmental factor like heat styling or scalp sensitivity to a certain product, it could be time to see a doctor.
Understanding the early warning signs of alopecia can be the key in finding the alopecia treatment you need. If you're noticing early signs of hair loss and want to find answers and a treatment program that works for you, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology and schedule an appointment today.