Androgenic alopecia: Male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness are types of androgenic alopecia. Male pattern baldness is the most common form of alopecia.
- It can be genetic, but it is often due to hormonal imbalances.
- Scarring alopecia: Also called cicatrical alopecia, this is often caused by injury or autoimmune disorders (like lupus).
- Alopecia areata: When we hear the term “alopecia”, this is typically what people are referring to. Alopecia areata is “patchy” hair loss that comes and goes, and is often associated with an autoimmune response from the body. An autoimmune reaction is when the body’s immune system attacks itself (instead of attacking germs or antigens). In this case, the body attacks healthy hair follicles. In alopecia areata, areas of the scalp can become completely bald and then regain hair every few months.
- Traction alopecia: Traction alopecia occurs mostly in women or men with longer hair. It is caused by actions that put stress on the hair follicle, like pulling hair back into tight hairstyles, or tight braiding. Traction alopecia can also be caused by frequent use of chemicals on the hair, like frequent coloring / perms / relaxers.
Treatment for alopecia depends on the type of hair loss, and can range from cortisone shots and Minoxidil to hair follicle replacement surgery.
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for alopecia, or hair loss, of all kinds. If treated by a knowledgeable practitioner, acupuncture and herbs can reduce inflammation, improve follicle health, and stimulate hair growth by addressing the root cause. Hair growth relies upon several factors, but one of those factors is proper nutrition and blood flow to hair follicles. Acupuncture also has effects on the immune system, and can help regulate normal immune function and curb autoimmune reactions. For this reason, acupuncture for alopecia areata is particularly effective. The hair loss program lasts between 3 and 12 months, depending on the severity and stage of hair loss.