Significant Hair Loss and Thinning

Significant Hair Loss and Thinning

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is one of the most common causes of hair loss. This is an autoimmune condition where patches of hair are generally lost on the scalp. Though it can be more widespread or affect virtually any area of the body that has hair including the beard in men or eyebrows\eyelashes of females. The condition can afflict a very broad spectrum of the population. Hands-down, alopecia areata is the most common cause of hair loss in children, but it also may affect individuals at any point during their life.

Significant Hair Loss and Thinning

As we mentioned, alopecia areata hair disorder is autoimmune. This means that the immune system’s white blood cells which normally function as a sort of security guard in the body to fight infection, cancer, or other foreign invaders, instead start to fight us. Specifically, in alopecia areata these white blood cells (known as T lymphocytes) attack the hairs causing patchy bald spots. No one yet knows for certain why some people suffer from this medical condition, whereas others do not.

What causes alopecia areata?

We do know that certain people are more predisposed to autoimmune conditions in general. We also know that stress can trigger episodes of alopecia areata in men and women. In fact, the classic wives’ tale of a person having their hair “turn white overnight” could perhaps be caused by alopecia areata.

Generally, with alopecia areata, the pigmented hairs are preferentially attacked by the immune system. This means that with outbreaks of the condition, gray or white hairs may remain. Also, when we start to see hair growth in the areas, the first hair follicles to return may be gray or white.

What to expect

Though we can see very severe widespread involvement with hair loss due to alopecia areata, usually it is just one or a few patches where the hair is lost. The hair loss typically leaves a completely smooth and circular area with no hair. Rarely the condition may spread to involve the entire scalp, which is known as alopecia totalis. In extremely rare circumstances it may involve all the hair on the body, and that we call alopecia universalis.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium (TE) is a type of hair loss that is triggered by stress. This can be physical stress due to a medical condition, psychological stress (anxiety), or a combination of both. In most cases, the hair loss is temporary and will stop once the underlying problem is resolved. However, in some cases the hair loss can persist for an extended period of time, causing anxiety and potentially leading to further hair loss.


TE first appears as a thinning of hair on the scalp and may be limited to one area or all over. However, more often than not, TE affects the top of the scalp. In rare cases, telogen effluvium will cause a receding hairline or for you to lose all of your hair.

Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a common condition characterized by progressive thinning of hair on the scalp in a specific pattern. Typically, it begins with a receding hairline at the temples and thinning at the crown, eventually leading to partial or complete baldness in some cases.

This condition is primarily caused by genetic factors and the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which leads to the miniaturization of hair follicles, shortening their lifespan and inhibiting new hair growth. While male pattern hair loss is not a medical concern, it can have significant psychological and emotional impacts on individuals, affecting self-esteem and quality of life.

Treatment Options

Various treatment options, including medications like minoxidil and finasteride, as well as surgical interventions like hair transplantation, are available to manage the progression of the condition and promote hair regrowth.

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female pattern hair loss, also known as female pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, is a prevalent condition characterized by the gradual thinning of hair on the scalp, primarily in a diffuse pattern rather than the distinct receding hairline seen in males. While it shares similarities with male pattern hair loss, the presentation in women tends to be more diffuse, with widening part lines and overall thinning rather than bald spots.

Like its male counterpart, female pattern hair loss is influenced by genetic predisposition and hormonal factors, particularly the presence of androgens such as DHT. While less commonly discussed than male pattern hair loss, it can still have significant emotional and psychological effects on affected individuals.

Treatment Options

Treatment options may include topical minoxidil, anti-androgen medications, and low-level laser therapy, aimed at slowing down the progression of hair loss and promoting regrowth, although results may vary from person to person.

Hair Loss and Hair Thinning Dermatologists

The best Omaha dermatologists know that in most minor cases of alopecia areata, the hair may spontaneously regrow on its own with no treatment. However, if this is not the case, we do have several treatments available that we use for patients in our clinics at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands.

For mild, localized cases, certain applied or injected medicines can be quite effective at triggering hair growth cycles. These hair growth treatments are also quite safe. The medications work by quieting down the T-lymphocyte cells which are directly triggering the hairs to fall.

Hair Loss and Thinning Treatments

Breakthrough treatments are on the horizon for more severe cases of alopecia areata. For the longest time, we’ve had no FDA-approved treatments for this condition. However, we believe these are coming soon.

Dermatology pharmaceutical studies are getting underway to investigate an entirely new category of medications that are already being successfully used to treat other diseases. These specific medications are also showing promise for patients suffering from alopecia areata.

Anxiety with Hair Loss

Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Best Dermatologist Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists

We hope you find this information helpful, especially if you or someone you know is suffering from hair loss. If you have questions regarding what type of hair loss you may have or treatments for hair loss you may benefit from, please know that we have vast experience in our clinics at diagnosing and treating all forms of hair loss. If we may be of further assistance, please contact us to schedule consultation to discuss your hair loss problem as well as upcoming clinical trials for new medications to treat alopecia areata.

For any information or to make an appointment please contact us today.