Hair loss can happen to any and everyone. Don't worry we've got you covered, literally!
Let's go over everything you need to know about Alopecia and hairstyles that you can rock to still feel beautiful despite hair loss.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is the partial or complete loss of hair from where it typically grows on the scalp or body. The most common forms of alopecia are alopecia areata and traction alopecia.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease where your immune system begins to attack your hair follicles, which is where your hair starts to grow.
Alopecia areata occurs because your immune system mistakes the hair follicles for harmful bacteria and viruses.
Traction alopecia happens when you have excessive pulling on the hair shaft. Traction alopecia occurs mainly in women and men with highly textured hair.
This form of hair loss can occur when you have braids that are too tight on your edges. The prolonged tension can cause the hair follicle to stop growing, inciting permanent hair loss. Putting your hair up in in super tight ponytails or buns can also cause traction alopecia.
You may want to become a Cranial Prothesis Specialist if you are interested in hair loss, alopecia, and other medical-related issues.
How Do You Get Alopecia
There is not just one way to get alopecia. Some other causes include hormonal or chemical imbalances within your body or external things such as hairstyles. Extreme stress can even ignite alopecia in some cases. When suffering from severe stress, specific systems in the body can shut down, which causes hair loss.
Other autoimmune diseases such as cancer, can indirectly cause alopecia due to the chemicals used during chemotherapy.
Pregnancy may also lead to alopecia. During pregnancy, your hair can become thicker due to hormonal changes, and about two to four months after giving birth, this hair begins to shed as
your hormones change again, commonly referred to as postpartum alopecia.
Different Types of Alopecia
Most people know of alopecia areata and traction alopecia, but there are also a few other forms of alopecia.
● Alopecia Totalis: a progressive form of alopecia areata that results in permanent hair loss.
● Alopecia Universalis: This is the most advanced form where all the hair on your body is lost.
● Androgenetic Alopecia: This form is known as male or female pattern baldness. This type of alopecia is where your hair thins to the point where it almost seems transparent. It is genetic and also the most common form of progressive hair loss.
● Postpartum Alopecia: This temporary hair loss occurs at the end of pregnancy. This form of alopecia is usually sudden, sometimes excessive, and is caused by hormone imbalances due to giving birth. In the salon, I see many new moms experience postpartum hair loss around their hairline.
The primary symptom of alopecia is hair loss, but other symptoms may be present depending on the severity. Though hair loss is the primary symptom, patterns of hair loss may vary.
Sometimes clumps at a time may fall out, or you may find strands on your pillow, or several strands may fall out while washing your hair.
Your fingernails and toenails may become pitted. They may also change shape or color and may have a sandpaper texture. In some cases, a person's eyebrow hairs and eyelashes will begin to shed as well.
Alopecia is diagnosed through a physical examination and a look through your medical history. In addition, your doctor will ask questions about your hair loss, look at patterns of hair loss on your scalp, and analyze your scalp.
They may also conduct another test, such as a hair analysis and a blood test. During the hair analysis, doctors look at hair strands under a microscope and may even take a sample of your scalp.
How Is It Treated
Alopecia may cause permanent hair loss; in other cases, the hair grows back within a year or so. Your physician may prescribe treatments and medications to aid in hair growth.
In 10% of cases, the hair will never grow back. Permanent hair loss or damage occurs when you have a family history of alopecia, get alopecia before puberty, or already have another autoimmune disease, such as lupus.
There are no "cures" for alopecia, but there are treatments.
One of the most common treatments is injecting the steroid corticosteroids into the scalp or skin every four to six weeks. There is also a topical corticosteroid, an ointment applied to the skin or scalp.
There is also Minoxidil or Rogaine which is the only FDA-approved drug for hair loss. Rogaine is an over-the-counter drug available in two and five-percent formulas. Higher doses can sometimes cause facial hair growth, so doctors don't usually recommend it for women.
You use it by massaging the ointment into your scalp twice daily, and regrowth usually appears within six months. However, the effects of this medication only last as long as you are using it as directed.
Finasteride (Propecia and Proscar) is another oral medication used to treat alopecia. Most doctors prescribe it to postmenopausal patients because this drug is also used to treat an enlarged
Increased hair growth is a side effect of Finasteride. Proscar has a higher dosage and is usually more efficient than Propecia.
It is usually not given to women of childbearing age because this medication can sometimes cause congenital disabilities. In addition, it slows down hair loss by up to 75%. This medicine works as long as you are taking the medication.
Other Forms of Treatment
Lasers are an alternative for patients without success with Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Some doctors will prescribe a Laser Comb, which costs between $100-$800. This comb works to repair the damage, stop and prevent thinning, and speed up hair growth. The HairMax Laser Comb is the only laser comb that is FDA-approved, but there are several other combs that you can buy much cheaper online and over the counter. You use it by gliding it through your hair for fifteen minutes. Results are usually seen within six months.
Hair transplants are used when hair loss is concentrated in specific areas. This operation is done by removing hair follicles from more dense areas to thinning areas. But this procedure is rarely used because most cases of alopecia spread throughout the entire scalp.
If you remember those Bosley commercials from back in the day, this company restores customers' hair through transplants. They create a personalized solution to restore your hair by transplanting healthy hair follicles to thinning areas in your hair.
There are also thickening tricks that can be used to make your hair appear as though no loss has occurred. Some people choose to use specific serums and oils that stimulate hair growth. You can even create a DIY mixture of oils rather than buy something from the store.
Trying to cover up your hair loss with wigs and other low-tension hairstyles is an option if you would rather wait for your hair to grow back instead of taking medications. However, while
going through this transition, please remember beautiful your beauty does not only lie within your hair.
It's important to remember that beauty is not only what's on the outside but starts internally first. And no matter your hair, you can still look and feel beautiful. But if your hair ever has you
feeling down, girl, treat yourself, buy a cute outfit or splurge on some makeup, or go out and buy those shoes you've been wanting.
These things will not cure or even treat your alopecia, but they may help boost your confidence which is especially important. But if you are looking for a way to hide your hair loss or want a new look, here are a few hairstyles that will make you look and feel beautiful inside and out.
Going bald is a very bold move. Women often hide behind their hair, and going bald definitely goes against society's "rules."
Going bold can boost your confidence as you learn to become more comfortable with yourself.
The Bald Babe community is currently trending too. Celebrities from Sanaa Lathan to Jada Pinkett Smith are all shaving their heads.
Going bald makes a very bold statement and looks great on every and anyone. You can even accessorize with earrings, scarves, hats, and of course, a gorgeous face beat.
Temporary Color Spray
The color spray is perfect if you have traction alopecia around your edges or if you already wear a short style. The temporary color spray has fibers that mirror your hair and is perfect for men and women.
The color spray is a natural temporary fix, and you can buy this from almost any drugstore or beauty supply.
TWA or a teeny weeny afro is also perfect when you want a low cut but don't want to be completely bald. You can even use temporary color spray on less dense areas.
This style is effortless to maintain and is perfect for anyone who does not want to invest a ton of time taking care of their hair.
Transitioning to natural is a massive change when you have been relaxed for so long. Changing the way you do your hair is a big decision and should be well thought out before taking any action.
Though you may be crying over losing your length, it will be worth it in the end. In addition, if you are suffering from damaged or over-processed hair, going natural may help to treat your alopecia.
Relaxers can cause alopecia because, in some instances, the chemicals in relaxers can make your hair thinner or weaken your hair shafts.
Even if your hair remains thin after going natural, it will be easier to hide balding or thinning areas with natural hair. Throughout the transitioning process, take extra good care of your hair to help stimulate hair growth and prevent more thinning.
Switch Up Your Part
Thinning parts are usually one of the first signs of alopecia. A thinning part is when you notice fewer hair strands where you part your hair.
An easy way to combat this issue is by alternating your part. For example, if you are used to the middle part, you can switch it up to a side part for something new.
You also get bangs or put your hair up in a ponytail. There are even some root touch-up products that will make your roots appear fuller.
Wigs are a hot item right now and one of the most convenient protective styles. A wig is perfect when you're trying to hide your hair loss. Wigs give the illusion that you have a head full of hair and provide the same versatility.
You can cornow your hair and easily treat the affected areas with oils or ointments.
And the best part is wigs come in a plethora of options.
You can get virgin, crochet, and synthetic wigs. You can even get a half wig or three-quarters wig. These wigs allow you to leave your natural hair out.
Half wigs usually lay from the crown of your head to your nape.
There are also U-part wigs. U-part and half wigs come in synthetic and human hair with several different colors or textures that look similar to how your natural hair looks.
You are not only limited to wigs that mirror natural hair, but you can also get wigs that have cornrows, single braids, faux locs, and twist hairstyles.
The best part about a wig is that you can take it off every day to treat your alopecia daily or as directed by your doctor.
Weaves are another great protective style many people use to grow their hair. You can create a preferred braiding pattern and attach a netting weave cap. The net creates a barrier between your natural hair and tracks, preventing damage to your natural hair. Using a netting cap also will enable you to keep your sew-in longer, and there are even caps infused with oils to keep your hair hydrated.
You can have leave out if you are not yet comfortable with wearing a closure and frontal
Frontals and closures are great options because they allow you to cover and protect your hair and offer maximum styling versatility.
This style is perfect when you want single braids but do not want the added tension to your hair or edges. The best part about crochet braids is that they come in several different colors and textures, making it possible to achieve almost any hairstyle.
Some styles include box braids, Senegalese twists, faux locs, jerry curls, and many others.
If you suffer from alopecia in the center of your head and want braids, some hair stylists will create single braids along the perimeter of your head and then cornrow the center and add the crochet braids so that your braids can still appear to be full.
Ponytails and Buns
Ponytails and buns are super easy and cute styles to achieve. These styles are also perfect for any occasion from going to the gym to a fancy dinner.
And if you want a longer ponytail or a ponytail of a different texture you can always add a clip-in ponytail and Bun. Or you can add leftover tracks and clips-ins to add extra volume to your hair.
Just make sure that you do not pull your hair back to tight because this can cause your edges to become thinner. But if you want a sleeker look without the added tension you can always use gel or edge control to have your updo looking snatched.
This style will make it look like you have not lost a strand of hair. You may need a professional to achieve this style, but it always looks bomb.
Hairstylists created camouflage cornrows for women who suffered from alopecia or hair loss but still want to achieve specific cornrow styles such as straight backs and more intricate styles like lemonade braids, buns, or ponytails.
Hairstylists achieve these looks by braiding the cornrows close together and then stitching them to ensure that the braids stay in place.
Clip-ins and Tape-ins
Clip-ins and tape-ins are great ways to add extra volume. These are perfect if you are uncomfortable wearing a weave or wig. You can apply it easily to disguise your thinning areas.
They come in several different colors and textures. If you can not find your exact color, you can always color your clip-ins as long as you purchase some made of human hair.
You may be thinking, what if I do not want to wear a wig or weave? What are my other options?
Do not worry; you are not out of options. You can still hide your thinning spots by using
You can channel Rihanna's Wild Thoughts vibes with a super cute scarf. Or cover up your whole head with a faux bun in the front or back. But, please don't be mistaken; scarves should not only be worn to sleep; the girls are slaying in scarves as an everyday look.
Another way to completely cover your hair is by wearing a hat. Hats are a perfect accessory for working out or hanging out with friends. You will also be surprised how a hat complements even a more formal outfit.
Headbands are another great accessory. You can brush your hair back, which can help to hide bald spots, and add your favorite jeweled or subtle headband. These accessories don't work for every circumstance but are helpful when you need a quick fix.
We know that hair loss, especially alopecia, can be stressful and feel overwhelming. So we send you love, confidence, and support if you are on this journey. Hopefully, these tips can help ease the stress and let you know you are not alone.
Do you know some creative and helpful ways to combat hair loss? Or even some cute hairstyle ideas and confidence-boosting tips; please share them below in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!