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Alopecia in Women

WHAT IS ALOPECIA?

Alopecia is the medical term used to describe hair loss. This single word encompasses a broad spectrum of hair loss issues. While most sources provide a narrow descriptor beneath this umbrella term, we aim to bring awareness and education to Alopecia symptoms, diagnosis and treatments, in all its forms, which affect both men and women.

In simple terms, Alopecia hair loss is a medical condition in which sudden hair fall occurs. Hair can fall out or diffuse across the scalp, or it can shed in large patches. The most common Alopecia type is Androgenetic Alopecia, otherwise known as Genetic Hair Loss or Female Pattern Hair Loss which accounts for half of hair loss cases for women. But what about the other half?

In this article, we will share facts and information on the various types of Alopecia, and expand on new diagnostic technology that will impact the way genetic hair loss – the most prevalent form of hair loss – can now be identified and best treated based on one’s personal biology.

FACTS ABOUT ALOPECIA

  • There are seven types of Alopecia (Androgenetic (genetic), Areata, Totalis, Universalis, Diffuse (hair shedding), Postpartum, and Traction). We will provide an overview of each type in this article.
  • 60% of women will experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime – of those women, 50% will have Androgenetic Alopecia – most commonly referred to as genetic hair loss.
  • Alopecia Areata (the type of hair loss affecting Jada Pinkett Smith) affects nearly 7 million people in the United States, and 147 million people worldwide, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
  • Scarring forms of Alopecia are not curable, and hair is unable to regrow due to irreversible damage to the hair follicle, as seen in advanced stages of Traction Alopecia.

What do these facts reveal? Alopecia, or in layman terms hair loss, is a widespread issue that millions of people face and the experience can be emotionally devastating. Despite this condition, most people with signs of hair loss are in overall good health. The myths and misconceptions around Alopecia/hair loss lead to isolation and frustration by the person experiencing it. We are here to empower you with knowledge, resources, and solutions, starting with a comprehensive overview of each type of Alopecia.

TYPES OF ALOPECIA

The most common types of Alopecia are Androgenetic (referred to as Genetic, Hereditary, or Female Pattern Hair Loss and Alopecia Areata – the same type celebrity Jada Pinkett Smith has. 

In addition, there are rare types of Alopecia, as well as conditions that accompany specific life phases and events. Following are some of the more rare types or conditional forms of Alopecia:

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune response typically defined by patchy hair loss the size of a quarter. Onset begins before age 30, and may also link to genetics as 1-in-5 cases have a family member with the condition. Regrowth may occur within one year for about 50% of cases but can be accelerated with Tyrosine, or with prescribed topical or oral steroids.

Alopecia Totalis

This is a more advanced form of Alopecia Areata. Rather than patchy hair loss, Totalis results in complete hair loss on the entire scalp. It is also triggered by an autoimmune response where the body attacks the hair follicles, creating inflammation that results in hair loss. It can be temporary or permanent and is thought to be triggered by stress or a family history.

Alopecia Universalis

This is one of the rarest forms of hair loss in which all scalp, facial (lashes and eyebrows), and body hair falls out. The cause for this type of overall hair loss is an autoimmune response in which the immune system attacks its cells and hair follicles, mistaking them as foreign bodies. The resulting hair loss is an exacerbated response to extreme environmental stress and is the body’s way of trying to flush out a foreign invader.

Who’s affected: 1 in 4,000 people, yet ongoing research is still striving to find the exact demographic of this rare hair loss condition.

Scarring Alopecia

While several types of Alopecia are treatable, Scarring Alopecia, also known as Cicatricial Alopecia, cannot be cured. This rare hair loss disorder causes permanent damage to hair follicles, and the resulting scar tissue disables hair from regrowing. Symptoms include redness, itching, and a shabby look to the hair. Scarring Alopecia can occur from fungal infections on the scalp that are left untreated or from Traction Alopecia that is left untreated. Scarring Alopecia can also result from radiation treatment directed on the scalp.

Who’s affected:  3% of hair loss cases, and some cases of chronic illness such as lupus.

Postpartum Alopecia

The female body is capable of miraculous fetes, yet the natural ability to reproduce can generate cataclysmic shifts on the body. Have you recently given birth, and if so, are you noticing excessive hair shedding since then? Postpartum Alopecia can occur 2-4 months after childbirth and is a result of a drastic shift in hormones that disrupt the hair growth cycle. During pregnancy, hair remains in the growth phase and changes into the shedding phase after birth. Fortunately, the body will resume its scheduled programming about 6-months after delivery.

Who’s affected:  Women who have recently given birth.

Diffuse Alopecia

Commonly known as hair shedding. This is shedding beyond the normal 100-150 hairs that are typically shed each day as part of the natural hair growth cycle. This excessive hair shedding, which is defined by 200+ hairs a day can be the first signs of Androgenic Alopecia. It can also be a result from acute, sudden stress, extreme dieting or aggressive hair styling practices. Shedding can be temporary or progress to more extreme and permanent hair loss if it is due to an underlying condition. The onset of genetic hair loss is often preceded by an increase in diffuse shedding, where there is a noticeable amount of hair fall.

Traction Alopecia

Traction Alopecia is hair loss due to the result of stress and pulling on the hair follicle. It can be induced from wearing hair in tight buns, braids and ponytails. Traction Alopecia can also be caused by wearing clips from hair toppers or from the pulling and weight of weaves and hair extensions. Overtime, these styling practices repeatedly place pulling, stress and strain on the hair follicles causing damage. One of the first symptoms or signs of Traction Alopecia is soreness and tenderness at the follicle and itching. Traction Alopecia can be reversed if caught early, otherwise it can lead to permanent damage where the follicle can’t recover, regeneration ceases and the follicle becomes scarred, resulting in Scarring Alopecia.

ALOPECIA DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing hair loss is not easy. It is complex and the trigger can be an underlying medical condition or self-induced. Despite these various types of Alopecia, the most common diagnoses are Androgenetic Alopecia also referred to as Genetic Hair Loss. 

The rarer types of Alopecia are typically diagnosed under the care of a doctor, requiring observation of medical and family history and the type of hair loss happening (pattern, patches, diffuse). Microscopic analysis of the scalp and biopsies can also reveal what kind of Alopecia is present. A dermatologist can diagnose most forms of Alopecia during a consultation and exam.

New technology launching in April 2022 by Daniel Alain will offer a far less invasive way to detect Genetic Hair Loss by analyzing your DNA for the genetic markers of Androgentic Alopecia. There are no other tests available in the market that can test for genetic hair loss in the comfort of your home.

CAN ALOPECIA BE PREVENTED

Unfortunately, the majority of hair loss is caused by genetics and therefore prevention is not in the cards.

Certain types of Alopecia can be self-induced and therefore can be prevented or minimized. Traction Alopecia can be prevented by eliminating tension on the hair follicles and wearing looser hairstyles. However, repeated stress on the follicles can lead to irreversible Scarring Alopecia. 

Minimizing stress may help with hair loss prevention, as stress is a great trigger to the immune system. Some types of hair loss are stress-related and may go into remission or cease once the source of stress is addressed, however, if the hair follicle is compromised, it will not regenerate to grow hair. 

If your genes are pre-wired for Androgentic Alopecia (genetic hair loss) you may still have a chance to hold onto your hair if you catch diagnosis early to try to prevent losing your hair. This form of hair loss is progressive, however there are two FDA-approved treatments available, Minoxidil and Finasteride, to deter loss and promote new hair growth for those that have the necessary, natural biological response to these treatments. These approved treatments have limitations and potential side effects. It is always recommended to speaking with a doctor prior to use. 

HOW TO TREAT ALOPECIA

To treat Alopecia requires casting a wide net of solutions to find which ones work best for your condition. With this in mind, your best treatment for Alopecia will involve some trial-and-error, particularly if you are dealing with one of the rarer forms of hair loss. 

If you have Androgenetic Alopecia (Genetic Hair Loss) there is a new test available to determine if you are a responder to Minoxidil, the only FDA-approved topical treatment to regrow hair. 

In addition, there will soon be a test made available to determine if Finasteride is likely to work for you by testing Androgen Sensitivity. Both novel tests will help save time, money and emotional stress should you find out they are not the right solutions for you. 

Get Tested to See what Hair loss treatments may work for you

Hair Loss TestingLEARN MORE

When treatments don’t work as anticipated, it’s natural to feel emotionally disheartened. At times, you’ll feel crestfallen and helpless to find the right solution for your condition. It’s natural to feel disheartened, but it’s important to stay proactive because there are solutions to empower you to fall in love with your hair again. It just takes a little experimentation to find the right one.

There are four main categories of Alopecia hair treatment: Cosmetic, Medicinal, Alternative Hair and Procedural.

Cosmetic Solutions

Cosmetic solutions are topical ointments, serums, and hair beauty products created to enhance the natural appearance of hair. While they contain nutrients like keratin, biotin, zinc, panthenol, and botanicals to improve the appearance of hair health, they don’t alter hair on an anatomical level. In other words, they cannot grow hair, but they can provide a volume enhancement and a boost of confidence.

Cosmetic solutions and supplements for Alopecia include:
• Thickening shampooing and conditioners
• Hair shedding treatments
• Tonics
• Styling aid
• Hair Building fiber
•Strategic styling and color solutions to enhance shine and volume

Medicinal

Medicinal treatments aims to re-stimulate growth on the follicular level with daily topical application. There are two FDA-approved treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia (genetic hair loss) – however only one, Minoxidil, is approved for women:

Minoxidil:
A non-prescription, topical solution designed for regular application to the scalp. Initially marketed to only men under the brand name Rogaine, it became available to women in 1991. Today, it’s available at various concentration levels (2% and 5% are most common) and sold under multiple brand names. It can take 6-9 months to see results. Only with consistent, ongoing, and indefinite application will regrowth sustain long term. Minoxidil does not work for everyone. You need a specific enzyme present in the hair follicle to convert Minoxidil to its active form. Without adequate levels of this SULT1A1 enzyme, you will not respond successfully to Minoxidil.

find out if Minoxidil will work for you

Minoxidil Response Test
SHOP WOMEN'S MRTSHOP MEN'S MRT

Finasteride:
Known commercially as Propecia®, this prescription medication is a pill form approved for men’s hair loss. However, some physicians will prescribe it off-label to women. The reason doctors don’t readily prescribe this drug to women as it is not safe for pregnant women or women planning to conceive as it will harm the fetus. For this reason, most doctors only prescribe Finasteride to post-menopausal women on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to medicinal treatment, there are also supplemental vitamins and minerals to boost hair health, including B-vitamins, Biotin and Folate. It’s important to note that dietary supplementation is more effective for hair loss due to poor nutrition or stress. Supplements are not approved by the FDA to grow hair, prevent or cure Alopecia.

For Alopecia Areata – the second most common type of hair loss - treatment for patients is anti-inflammatory drugs called corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system through injections, oral supplements, or topical applications, according to Medical News Today.

Alternative Solutions

In some cases, cosmetic or medicinal treatment aren’t useful or take too long to work. Meanwhile you’re left to watch your hair thin before your eyes. Hair loss takes an emotional toll, and many women are left feeling like a shadow of their former selves. That’s why it’s paramount to find a solution that enables women to either enhance their natural hair or emulate the appearance of full, healthy, bouncy hair. 

Alternative hair solutions provide a newfound sense of confidence, empowerment, and beauty--inside and out. Wearing hair like a wig or topper can offer newfound confidence to women and help them feel in control of their hair loss.

• Human hair wigs, toppers, and hair pieces
• Clip-in extensions and halos/wires

Not Sure If Wearing Hair Is Right For You? Discover Everything You Need To Know About Wearing Wigs.

Wig Buying GuideWig Buying Guide

Procedural Solutions

The last category of hair loss solutions is procedural and oftentimes is a more intense approach to treating hair loss. Each of these solutions is either non-invasive or elective surgery options:

• Hair transplants
• Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
• Laser Phototherapy
• Scalp Micro-pigmentation

No matter where you're at your hair loss journey, Daniel Alain is with you every step of the way.

Want to learn more about minoxidil - the #1 treatment for alopecia? Download our comprehensive guide to Minoxidil.

Women's Guide to MinoxidilWomen's Guide to Minoxidil
Based on 45 reviews
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Daniel Alain
Jennifer Rose
Love my Follea Rene - and the amazing customer service!

I considered purchasing a wig for years as my hair became increasingly thin. I finally decided the time was right and I’m so thankful to have found Follea. I purchased the Rene 12 inch in Caramel Latte and I absolutely love it – both the color and style are perfect. Stylist consultant, Tracy Romo, was so incredibly supportive and knowledgeable -- she walked me through every step of the process. She assisted with measurements and answered all of my questions via video calls. I can’t say enough about the amazing customer service I experienced from beginning to end. Tracy guided me in the right direction every step of the way, even sending me helpful videos and styling tips. I honestly couldn’t be happier with my experience.

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Daniel Alain
M. Terese Weir
Easy Beauty!

My Follea Style (6-11) is in all honesty the most comfortable wig I've ever worn - and I hate anything on my head! This wig just... goes where it's supposed to, no pulling it this way or that, no realizing your doggone wig is crooked.. AFTER you walk in to work. This success is in no small part to the Fit Kit I was sent to make sure of my size. 😊

Also, to say the hair is beautiful gives beauty a bad name. The hair is stunning. (I wear color Latte.) My consultant, Ashley, virtually took my hand to guide me through the process of buying my wig. Her help was and still is invaluable.

My hairdresser is very comfortable styling wigs. She created just the right "style" for my Style. That said, even straight from the box, Follea rocks!

Reading your Follea experience warms our hearts, our goal and mission is to help women all over the world feel beautiful, confident and like their best self. Ashley is an amazing and knowlegable guide, that will continue to be with you on your hair journey!

We invite you to join our @Follea community on Instagram, to learn best practices for your new Follea.

Thank you very much!

Love,

Daniel Alain Team

K
Daniel Alain
Kimberlee Bluhm
Wig #6

The ready to wear wig I received from Daniel Alain is beautiful. The packaging was so respectful of the wig. So impressed. I called with questions before purchasing and the staff was very kind and respectful as Loosing my hair was so unexpected and stressful. Thank you for wonderful customer service and a beautiful wig. So many compliments on how it makes me look. Thank you.

We are honored and so glad to hear you had a pleasant experience! Thank you or trusting us to help you during your hair-loss journey.

Thank you !

I had an amazing experience with purchasing a wig with Follea.
I can’t say enough about Tracy and the VIP service I got from her. She was always there on the other side of the phone , no matter what day or time and help me every step of the way!
I have never had such great customer service in any of the other leading wig companies I bought wigs from. Hands down the best!
Thank you

Thank you very much for sharing - it means the world to know that you had an exceptional experience with Tracy.

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Daniel Alain
Patty McKenna
Amazing Personalized treatment

What a wonderful experience I had. Tracy was so sweet and kind and found me the perfect wig. Her patience and understanding when I couldn't decide exactly what I wanted , and finding me the perfect wig and answering all my crazy questions. I left with such a beautiful wig. Thank you again Tracy ♥️♥️

Thank you so much for your kind words. We are so happy Tracy was able to assist you on your hair journey!

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Daniel Alain
Kim sissons
Tracy Romo is a life changer!

When you first go through your personal hair loss journey, you go through so many emotions and sometimes you get desperate. People like to take advantage of those searching for an answer. After making a very costly mistake, Tracy was a game changer for me! She was amazing, very knowledgeable and helped me understand what to look for, how to ensure I got the right size, face timed me to measure and ensure it was correct. I cannot say enough amazing things about Tracy, and my amazing Follea wig.

Kim, Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience Daniel Alain. It warms our heart to hear to Tracy was such a positive impact. We would love to see your new hair debut, tag us on instagram @Follea.

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Mercedes
Style 10 Inch Color 5005 Macchiato (comes with a soft rooting)

This is my first wig but not my first attempt with alternative hair. Its been a journey and one I knew I wanted to take with Follea. I was not wrong. The hair is silky soft and beautifully shiny. The staff is great and wonderful to work with. Their online consultation process is just what I needed. I received sample caps to try on to determine which size is the right size for me. I received color swatches as well to make the color selection process was a breeze. It does make a difference to see to the colors in person, dont be afraid to ask for color swatches. To see them against the light or while your home is worth it. All this happened after the online consultation, which was simple and fun. The rep provided samples of everything, explained the differences with each one. This helped me make a decision on what was right for me. Getting the samples of the wig caps and color swatches was a fun part of the experience but it also made me feel good about my decisions. I often worry about getting the wrong size and color. Once I was set ( and yes I changed my mind a bit) we went forward with the order. After I received my wig and cut the lace, the team was still there to help me with any questions I had.

Overall a great online purchasing experience. Once I received my Follea, I instantly knew this was it for me. I loved it and I was confident to wear it out.

Feeling Myself and Happy with a beautiful Follea Style, 10", Irish Cream

There are no words to fully express how grateful I am for finding Follea and meeting Janet. Her kindness combined with a professional, yet so gentle, advice helped me to find my beautiful natural looking European hair. Janet patiently showed me different styles and sizes (my head is so small!). She has never pushed me to anything. Only offered support and help on the way to my decision, and eventually ordered (incredibly urgently) the right size. I wish all patients to meet someone like Janet on their way! Before I found Follea, I faced a few horrible pushy people who wanted to make money of my sensitive, fragile situation of suddenly losing hair.
Today, I can face the Universe with a smile, again. I am back to work and normal life, interacting with people, attending important business meetings. Letting my health recover in calm confident state.
Thank You to Follea and Janet. May the Blessing and Kindness come back to You Multiplied Million Times.
I am already thinking of ordering a second Follea Style (bit longer this time). Every girl needs a special occasion HAIR! I have found mine.

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erin graff
Looooove me some FOLLEA!!!

Girl I love my new wig!!!!!! I feel like Beyoncé wearing it, you can’t even tell that it’s a wig! My confidence is an all new high and I feel fierce. Thanks to Janet for making my hair dreams come true. Xoxoxo

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Daniel Alain
Heather L
Follea's Petite

Recently, I bought the Petite in Chai Latte blonde with a natural-looking darker root and customized my piece by adding a few wispy bangs. If you are like me and try to stretch the length of time between washes to prevent an itchy scalp and breakage, this little priceless gem is a quick four clips away from a good hair day.

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Daniel Alain
Diane B.
Great Customer Services

Great customer services! Received in a timely manner. Very happy with my topper, especially after I trimmed bangs and length to fix my own hair.

Hello Diane,

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