Female Hair Loss

Hair Loss Glossary

Scientific terms can be confusing, to help you understand what we are talking about on our website we have created a glossary explaining what all those strange scientific terms mean.

Alopecia – Alopecia comes in different forms. Alopecia can be localised to the top and front of the head, as in common female and male pattern baldness, or it is sometimes patchy, a condition that is known as alopecia areata. Balding due to alopecia areata which affects the whole head is referred to as alopecia totalis; if it impacts upon the whole body then it is referred to as alopecia universalis. There are various causes of alopecia such as side-effects of drugs and medications; anaemia in women due to lack of iron, diseases, nutritional imbalance or deficiency; stress, genetic predisposition and age.

Anagen – Hair grows in particular cycles – telogen, catagen and anagen. Anagen is the growing stage of hair, lasting from 2 to 7 years.

Bonding – Bonding is a term which describes the attachment of additional strands of hair onto the head. This additional hair can be either artificial or human, and is attached to an individual’s hair and / or scalp.

Catagen – The middle phase between the telogen (resting) and anagen (growing) phases of the hair’s growth cycle.

Cortex – The cortex is the primary structure of the hair shaft. The cortex comprises ninety percent of the hair’s weight and determines the denier, texture and colour of every hair.

Cyproterone Acetate – This is a drug which is commonly prescribed to reduce excessive sex drive in men. It is also prescribed to address both hirsutism and alopecia in women.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – Testosterone is the male hormone that’s responsible for the development of the male secondary sexual characteristics, for example hair on the face, oily skin and male hair patterns on the body. Testosterone can be changed to dihydrotestosterone by the enzyme 5-apha-reductase in genetically-predisposed people. Studies actually have shown that 95% of male hair loss and baldness is induced by Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Female Pattern Baldness (FPB) – FPB is the female equivalent of male pattern baldness which is progressive hair thinning caused by age, hormones, and genetics. Usually the condition develops at a much slower rate than male pattern baldness. Unlike with male pattern baldness, most women with FPB do not experience a receding hairline. Often the original hairline remains virtually unmodified, yet the hair on the top and crown of the head thins equally all over whereas hair in the sides and back of the head normally doesn’t thin out and maintains its original density.

Follicular Unit Transplantation – An innovative type of hair transplantation in which the surgeon collects hair roots or little plugs of 2 to 3 hair roots from the donor area of an individual’s scalp, usually the back or nape of the neck and grafts them onto the balding parts of the scalp, generally this is on the top, frontal and vertex areas of the head.

Frontal Alopecia – Frontal alopecia is hair loss at the front of the head.

Gene Therapy – Gene Therapy is a treatment method that entails the modifications of an individual’s genetic makeup to try and correct the malfunctioning gene.

Hair Weaving – Hair weaving is a process through which a wig (human hair or synthetic) is affixed to existing hair via braiding or an additional interweaving process.

Hypothyroid – Hypothyroidism is a condition which develops as a result of a lack of the thyroid hormone in the body, it can result in thinning of the hair, a change of the hair’s texture to dry and brittle, or hair loss.

Ludwig Scale – A scale for the classification of hair loss, developed by hair transplant surgeons. There are seven levels of hair loss in the Norwood scale: I – Regular head of hair without apparent hair loss. II – The hair is starting to recede in a wedge shaped pattern. III – The same as the second, yet it’s now a lot more prominent as the hairline actually has receded a lot further into the frontal and the temporal area. lV – The hairline actually has continued to recede from stage three in the frontal and the temporal area and a bald spot has started to appear at the back of the head. V – Same as four, paired with thinner hair coverage. VI – The bridge of hair over the head is gone yet numerous strands of short-fine hair may remain. VII – The hair is receding right back to the base of the head and the sides are just above the ears.

Minoxidil – This is a prescription or over-the-counter medication available from pharmacies which when topically applied to the areas of scalp with thinning hair, may in the majority of cases, slow down or stop hair loss and could even promote hair regrowth. Minoxidil was developed initially as a drug for hypertension, it was discovered that individuals who were using the medication often grew extra hair. From this discovery, topical Minoxidil was created.

Retin-A – A trademark name for a prescription acne drug. It has been shown to be effective against hair loss in particular cases. However, for some people it can cause extreme scalp irritation hence making the hair loss worse. It is also called Tretinoin and it is the carboxylic acid form of Vitamin A.

Senescent Alopecia – Often it’s called ‘Involutional Alopecia’ since it is the sort of hair loss that naturally happens with growing old. This takes place in varying degrees in both males and females; and is identified by the general thinning of both hair’s diameter and thickness.

Telogen – Telogen is the resting phase of the hair growth cycle that usually lasts approximately three months.

Telogen Loss – Occasionally called telogen effluvium; Loss of hair during the resting phase of hair or “natural” loss. This is usually identified by the thinning or shedding of hair which results from the early entry of hair in to the telogen phase. This can be due to exposure to high temperature, eating disorders, psychological or emotional stress, major surgical procedures, medications or anaemia.

Temporal Recession – Loss of hair in the temple region. This is the most difficult area of hair loss to rectify, and is most common in men.

Traction Alopecia – This refers to hair loss that takes place as a result of traction placed on the hair. Traction alopecia typically is seen with tight braids, pony tails, and lots of other different hairstyles that create traction on the scalp. Traction alopecia is a significant threat in hair weaves and is one of the most common causes of hair loss in African and African-American females.

Vellus Hair – Vellus Hair is the fine, non pigmented hair that covers the body of both children and grown-ups, yet is not always apparent as the hairs lack a central medulla.

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