The hair loss it is a situation feared by both men and women. Endless “miracle” remedies spring up everywherehowever, they are of doubtful effectiveness. To delve into this topic, which by affecting the appearance of the person who suffers it can also generate self-esteem problems, we spoke with him Dr. Juan Erasmo González, dermatologist at Paitilla Hospital.
González points out “it is understood as alopecia, the absence or loss of hair in areas that normally have it. When it occurs on the scalp, it is known as baldness, but it can occur anywhere on our body. It is a common disease in adults”.
It is very important to know that not every case of alopecia or hair loss is the same as another. Six very clear types can be determined, which we detail here according to their frequency: androgenetic, areata, diffuse, fibrosing, scarring and universal.
“Androgenetic alopecia is the most frequent, better known as common or hereditary baldness. In some cases, it begins in adolescence, and affects half of men over fifty years of age. Approximately 13% of women have this type of alopecia before menopause, but its postmenopausal frequency increases. This alopecia is genetically determined by the action of male hormones on the hair follicle, causing miniaturization progressive hair loss and to treat it, most men will respond positively to oral finasteride, topical minoxidil, and hair transplants. The last 2 are also used for the treatment of women. ”, Says Doctor González.
Alopecia areata is also common, and its cause is autoimmune. This hair loss is asymptomatic, and in the form of circular or oval patches. It can also affect the eyebrows, eyelashes and beard. Its onset frequently coincides with situations of emotional trauma and corticosteroids are effective for its treatment, mainly those injected into the dermis of the affected site.
Diffuse alopecia is more common in women, and It is due to various diseases or disorders:
-Hormone changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, among others
-Nutritional (diseases or diets).
For this type of alopecia, also known as telogen effluvium, the underlying cause that triggered the hair loss must first be identified, to treat it and in this way the hair can be recovered.
We quickly see the remaining types of alopecia:
-Fibrosant: Its origin is not known for sure, it is estimated that it is a mixture of an autoimmune and hormonal condition.
-Cicatricial: which is produced by the destruction of the hair follicle either due to an infection or injury.
-Universal: It is an advanced form of alopecia areata in which the patient loses all of the hair, facial and body hair.
Women, as we have said, are not exempt from suffering from this condition, the causes can be several: hormonal imbalances, mainly after menopause due to the decrease in estrogens and increased testosterone. Also the genetic factor influences alopecia.
There have been cases of alopecia in patients recovered from COVID-19. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium, which we already pointed outs. It often occurs several weeks, or up to 3 months after an illness with high fever, hospitalization and / or acute stress.
“It is worth mentioning that, since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been treating more patients with alopecia areata and telogen effluvium in my office. Without a doubt, the majority of our population has been affected in their physical, mental and / or social well-being. There are multiple dermatological diseases triggered or exacerbated by pathological stress, in addition to hair loss ”, emphasizes Doctor González.
It is known that physical or emotional stress can contribute to hair loss by affecting the hormone levels, including cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. In these situations, the hair growth cycle can be stopped, and lead to increased hair loss and other dermatological conditions.
“In the market there are many products for hair growth, some appliances and procedures. It should be noted that most of these treatments that are approved and have a health registration, is because they are not dangerous to health, but they are not necessarily effective in treating alopecia. I recommend consulting your doctor for a specific treatment for your case ”. Dr. González concludes.