Paulina Nelega is a registered clinical herbalist with Hair Essentials. September is National Alopecia Areata Awareness Month, so it's the perfect time to look at this condition, why it happens and how you can help clients who are impacted. Paulina Nelega, a registered clinical herbalist with Hair Essentials recently addressed SALON TODAY's questions about Alopecia.
SALON TODAY: What is Alocpecia?
Alopecia is a general term that means loss of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows. When alopecia occurs on the scalp, it may be a result of:
Androgenic alopecia. This is the most common type of hair loss in both men and women, and is a result of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is also known as androgenetic alopecia, hereditary hair loss, or female/male pattern hair loss, and is very common in women after menopause. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, by the time a woman reaches 40 years old, 40 percent will experience hair loss - and this number increases with each passing decade.
Telogen effluvium. According to the American Hair Loss Association, alopecia areata is probably the second most common form of hair loss. This type of hair loss occurs when a higher-than-usual number of hairs enter the resting (telogen) phase, which then results in dramatic shedding when those follicles cycle back into the anagen phase again. This may occur a few weeks or months after a stressful event such as major surgery, drastic weight loss, infection or high fever, certain medications, physical trauma or emotional causes, or major hormonal fluctuations such as after giving birth. The body attempts to conserve energy for what it considers vital, life-preserving functions, by diverting energy away from the demands of less important functions, such as hair growth. The good news is that this type of hair loss will usually grow back normally over the course of the next few months.
Alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune condition where our body’s immune system no longer recognizes its own tissues as ‘self,’ but sees them as foreign and mounts an immune response against them. In alopecia areata, there is a proliferation of immune-fighting cells that invade the hair follicles and create inflammation and damage to the follicles. This leads to round, coin-shaped patches of hair loss on the scalp. Hair loss can also occur on other parts of the body.
Nutritional deficiencies, notably iron. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency, and is especially prevalent amongst women with heavy monthly flow, fibroids (which can cause heavy bleeding), and those following a vegetarian/vegan diet.
Alopecia can also occur with: