Types of Hair Loss

The word “alopecia” is the medical term for hair loss. Alopecia does not refer to one specific hair loss disease — any form of hair loss is an alopecia. The word alopecia is Latin, but can be traced to the Greek “alopekia,” which itself comes from alopek, meaning “fox.” Literally translated, the word alopecia (alopekia) is the term for mange in foxes.Hair loss can be caused by any number of conditions, reflected in a specific diagnosis. Some diagnoses have alopecia in their title, such as alopecia areata or scarring alopecia, but many do not, such as telogen effluvium.

Alopecia can be caused by many factors from genetics to the environment. While androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness, AGA for short) is by far the most common form of hair loss, dermatologists also see many people with other forms of alopecia. Several hundred diseases have hair loss as a primary symptom.

Among the most frequent non-AGA alopecias seen by dermatologists are telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, ringworm, scarring alopecia, and hair loss due to excessive cosmetic treatment. Less common types of hair loss might pose diagnostic challenges, leading patients to wait for months, or even years, seeking consultations with multiple dermatologists until they find one knowledgeable about their condition. Moreover, for rare diseases, research motivation might be limited, hindering the development of treatments. Often, even after a correct diagnosis, dermatologists might have no known treatment to offer for the condition.

The field of hair biology and hair diseases constitutes a relatively small area of study, and even research on androgenetic alopecia is relatively constrained. Roughly 4 decades ago, there were likely fewer than 100 individuals worldwide significantly engaged in hair research. In recent years, this number might have multiplied by five. While this still pales in comparison to research in domains like diabetes, the increasing ranks of researchers investigating hair biology is an encouraging trend. Ultimately, this growth should yield a better comprehension of hair-related issues and greater assistance for those grappling with rare forms of alopecia.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male or female pattern baldness, is the most prevalent form of hair loss affecting both genders. This condition is characterized by a progressive thinning...


Certain hair loss conditions are known as "effluviums," a term denoting an outflow. Effluviums specifically impact various phases of the hair growth cycle. Hair follicles on the scalp don't maintain a continuous production of...

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata (AA) ranks as the third most common form of hair loss seen by dermatologists, following androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium. The lifetime risk of developing AA is nearly 2%, meaning that approximately...

Scarring Alopecia (Cicatricial Alopecia)

Scarring alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia, refers to a group of hair loss disorders that may affect up to 3% of individuals experiencing hair loss. It occurs worldwide, impacting otherwise healthy men and women of all ages...

Congenital Hypotrichosis

Hypotrichosis is a term dermatologists use to describe a condition of no hair growth. Unlike alopecia, which describes hair loss where there was formerly hair growth, hypotrichosis describes a situation where there wasn't any..

Hair Shaft Defects

There are numerous conditions in which physical damage to the hair fiber results in hair loss. Sometimes this damage occurs due to improper hair formation by the hair follicles...

Infectious Agents

Ringworm has nothing to do with worms; it is actually a fungal infection. Ringworm is primarily an infectious skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body. If it develops on the scalp, it can cause patches of hair loss...


This section merely scratches the surface of what can contribute to hair loss beyond the commonly known androgenetic alopecia. It serves to illuminate the complexity and diversity of alopecia, effectively underscoring the significant challenges that are faced in the diagnosis and treatment of various forms of hair loss. Despite these considerable hurdles, the growing interest and advancements in the field of hair biology research cast a ray of hope for a better understanding and the development of more effective treatments in the foreseeable future. As the field of hair loss research continues to evolve, buoyed by these scientific advancements, there is a burgeoning optimism. This optimism is founded on the belief that individuals suffering from both the common and the more rare forms of alopecia will find greater support and access to more innovative solutions designed to manage their conditions more effectively. The promise of these advancements not only offers new therapeutic options but also fosters a more inclusive understanding of hair loss, catering to the needs of a diverse patient population seeking solutions.

Hair Science

Hair is far more complex than it appears on the surface. We all know that it not only plays a vital role in the appearance of both men and women, but it also helps to transmit sensory information as well as create gender identification.

Learn More