Hair loss is a condition that can impact both men and women for various reasons. It is broadly categorised into scarring and non-scarring types. Understanding the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for managing this condition effectively.

Types of Hair Loss

Scarring Alopecia

In scarring alopecia, the hair follicles are destroyed, resulting in permanent hair loss. The most common forms of this condition include cutaneous lupus erythematosus and fungal kerions.

Non-Scarring Alopecia

Non-scarring alopecia involves loss of hair while keeping the follicles intact. One prevalent type is alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition with an unidentified cause. Since the follicles remain, the condition is often reversible, though it can evolve into a scarring type.

Causes of Hair Loss

  • Emotional and psychological stress
  • Health conditions like prolonged fever, illness, or surgery
  • Hormonal imbalances such as hyper or hypo-thyroidism
  • Reaction to certain medications
  • Radiation therapy
  • Infections like fungal infections, syphilis, HIV, and herpes simplex
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Systemic and discoid lupus erythematosus
  • Anemia
  • Physical factors like hair being pulled too tightly
  • Psychiatric issues causing hair to be twisted and pulled
  • Genetic predisposition

Risk Factors

  • Family history of baldness or hair loss
  • Advancing age (primarily related to male-pattern baldness)
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Poor nutrition

Symptoms of Hair Loss

The symptoms can vary depending on the type of alopecia:

  • Receding hairline
  • Hair thinning
  • Loss of hair at the crown
  • Gradual hair shedding
  • Hair coming out upon gentle pulling
  • Rapid loss of hair, often in round or oval patches for Alopecia Areata
  • Brittle and discoloured fingernails and toenails with ridges


A comprehensive diagnosis may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Hair tug test
  • Biopsy of the scalp
  • Examination of hair loss in other body areas
  • Blood tests to identify underlying conditions

Treatment Options

Medication and Topical Treatments

  • Medication such as anti-fungal shampoos and steroid injections.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Be gentle with your hair and learn stress-management techniques.

Surgical Treatments

  • Hair Transplant: Transferring hair from denser regions to bald areas.
  • Scalp Reduction with Flaps: Removal of bald scalp areas and pulling the hair-bearing regions closer together.