Because it affects a large number of people worldwide, baldness is still a relatively unexplained phenomenon. Although we know that some factors like stress, trauma, and hormonal changes can trigger alopecia, we’re still not entirely sure about what causes it.
However, we do know about different types of alopecia and the way they look.
Alopecia Areata – Spot Baldness
The most common form of autoimmune hair loss, alopecia areata affects only the scalp. Its tell-tale signs are bald spots that appear on the head that vary from the size of a penny to far larger patches. It happens fast, and hair growth usually resumes within a year.
Alopecia Totalis – Complete Loss of Hair on the Head
Alopecia totalis is a condition characterized by a sudden hair fall from the whole head. Like alopecia areata, it happens fast, but it can also affect other facial hair like the beard, eyebrows, and even eyelashes.
Alopecia Universalis – Complete Baldness on the Whole Body
One of the rarest and most extreme types of alopecia, alopecia universalis leaves the person completely hairless. It’s a result of a genetic mutation, but it can sometimes take years for the condition to activate, which is why it’s sometimes not visible from birth.
Ophiasic Alopecia Areata – Baldness around the Hairline
Like alopecia areata, ophiasic alopecia also affects only the head. However, this form of autoimmune hair loss doesn’t present itself in patches, but in a band of baldness around the hairline.
Alopecia Barbae – Spot Baldness of the Beard
Alopecia Barbae usually accompanies some of the other types of alopecia, but can sometimes show up on its own. Rounded bald patches on the beard characterize it and often follows alopecia areata.
If you suspect you may be developing one of these types of alopecia, contact your doctor. He or she will help you determine which type of alopecia you might have, what is the underlining cause, and possible treatment options.