Whether you’re losing hair in circular patches or from the top of your hair outwards, it’s always worrying and stressful when you start noticing significant hair loss. The fact that some hair loss can be caused by medical conditions can send your anxiety levels through the roof, which is why it helps to know how to identify different forms of hair loss.

While baldness and alopecia areata may seem similar, they do have some key differences too. This is what you need to know about the two most common forms of hair loss affecting men and women across the country.

The Difference between Baldness and Alopecia Areata

Let’s start with alopecia areata.

This is a disease that results in complete hair loss across certain areas of the body and can be identified by the bald circular patches that it creates. These patches tend to appear on areas such as the scalp, chin, forehead and any other areas that are hairy. Some of the other symptoms to look out for include nail abnormalities, itching and burning on the affected area.

Unfortunately, there still isn’t a lot of information available about alopecia areata but stress, diabetes and psychological shock may be potential causes. Some studies also show that autoimmune reactions can also have an effect on healthy hair follicles because the immune system is compromised. The good news is that in most cases, the condition is temporary and your hair will eventually start to grow back – a relapse is possible though.

Male or female pattern baldness, on the other hand, is not a disease at all and can be treated at a hair clinic. Baldness is generally the result of genetics or hormonal fluctuations. General baldness is the most common type of alopecia and can be identified by hair that’s retreating from the top of the head or the forehead. As time passes, the receding hair becomes thinner and eventually, the hair follicles stop producing any hair at all. This generic form of alopecia accelerates the hair’s natural growth cycle until the hair follicles aren’t able to function normally anymore.

Treating Alopecia

As previously mentioned, there is, unfortunately, no definitive way to treat alopecia areata and there is no way to prevent a relapse. Managing your stress and anxiety is a good first step to reducing the effects of the condition though. Topical medications and LED light therapy treatments are other options that will help stimulate the hair follicles and encourage new hair growth.

In the case of baldness, a hair transplant is the best course of action since there isn’t much that can be done to fight genetics. During your consultation at a hair clinic, your doctor will take you through the two different hair transplant methods and the pros and cons of each, so that you can choose a method that suits your requirements – both methods are effective though and offer permanent results. With that being said, this doesn’t mean that your transplanted hair won’t eventually start to thin too but there are ways to slow down this process.