The basic definition of baldness is “without the usual covering”. In terms of hair loss, baldness can be defined as the state of a scalp without the usual covering of hair. By definition then, the word baldness implies an unusual condition – a negative condition. Thus, baldness is an undesirable state. Baldness is the result of an abnormal loss of hair so nobody likes to be bald. Here, we discuss the risk factors regarding baldness and the causes thereof.
Aspects of Baldness
Baldness is associated with complete or partial lack of hair and is considered along with the category of “hair thinning”. The extent to which balding can occur is from mild to severe. The different degrees of balding are named differently.
- Alopecia Areata: As this type of baldness occurs in patches, it is also known as “spotty baldness”. It is commonly found in young adults and children. The hair loss occurs in patches and leaves the scalp smooth and bare. The cause of this kind of baldness is not known, but it is thought to be connected to some kind of nervous factor.
- Male-Pattern Baldness: This is the commonest category of baldness which affects men from 18 to 50 years of age. The hair loss starts in the front and moves gradually to the back of the scalp. This type of baldness is linked to male hormones which is how it gets its name.
- Female-Pattern Baldness: Here the pattern of hair loss is different from male-pattern baldness in so much as there is a thinning of hair but the frontal hairline remains. This category of baldness usually does not result in total baldness.
- Horseshoe Baldness: In this case, the complete scalp becomes bald but the hair left on the scalp forms the shape of a horseshoe from which it gets its name.
- Toxic Alopecia: This form of baldness occurs after a severe illness or high fever. The hair loss is usually temporary. It is caused due to deficiencies in the body. Once these deficiencies have been rectified, the hair usually gets restored.
- Scarring Alopecia: This is the baldness which is caused by an injury like a burn or cut. The baldness is due to destruction of hair follicles and is therefore usually localized to the scar site but the hair loss is permanent. This type of baldness can also be due to certain diseases like bacterial and skin infections and skin cancer.
- Telogen Effluvium: This category of hair loss happens very rapidly. Hair may come off in handfuls during washing or combing. The result of this kind of hair loss will be thinning of the hair but usually, no bald patches are formed.
- Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling): This is a common occurrence among children. Fidgety children may also twiddle with their hair which may result in hair loss. The solution is to discourage the child from indulging in such hair-pulling activities.