Because hair loss to a certain degree is common among middle-aged women, it may prove difficult to determine whether or not the degree of your hair loss should be of major concern. Although hair loss will affect each person differently, the following are common hair loss symptoms:
• Loss of hair in large clumps during washing or showering
• Appearance of large snarls of hair in your comb or brush
• Appearance of small bald spots on your scalp
• Itchy, oily, red or otherwise irritated scalp
• Significant thinning of your hair on the sides, front or top of your head
If you are experience any combination of these side effects, it is probable that you are afflicted by chronic or significant hair loss.
Permanent hair loss
Permanent forms of hair loss can be classified into three major categories. Male pattern-baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, begins relatively early in life, sometimes beginning as early as the teens or early 20s. This condition is usually characterized by a hairline that begins to recede at the temples and balding that begins upon the top of the head. This condition can result in complete or partial baldness.
Female pattern-baldness is also called androgenetic alopecia, but women with this condition usually only experience hair loss at the crown, front and sides of the head. Women almost always retain their front hairline and very rarely are subject to total baldness.
Cicatricial, or scarring, alopecia is a relatively rare condition that causes inflammation of the scalp, resulting in scarred hair follicles. This results in permanent hair loss accompanied by pain, irritation and itchiness.
Temporary hair loss
There are also many types of temporary hair loss. Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that manifests as small, smooth, round patches that are about quarter-sized. This condition rarely progresses beyond several bare patches on your scalp, but it can induce hair loss on any surface that grows hair. Eyebrows, beards and eyelashes are not exempt from this condition, and sometimes this form of hair loss can affect your whole body. Alopecia areata that affects only the scalp is called alopecia totalis, and is called alopecia universalis when it affects your entire body. Side effects of this condition are usually minimal, but some mild itching and negligible soreness is experienced by some.
Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss that most often occurs suddenly, preceded by a major illness or stressful life event. This condition is characterized by the loss of clumps of hair while washing, combing or brushing. Gentle tugging easily removes clumps of hair as well. This form of temporary hair loss usually results in an overall thinning of your hair rather than the bald patches that accompany many other forms of alopecia.
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