Alopecia refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body, the most common of which occurs on the head. The severity of hair loss can vary from a small area to the entire body. This condition can cause some people psychological distress.
Common types include: male-pattern baldness, female-pattern hair loss, alopecia areata, and a thinning of hair known as telogen effluvium. Other causes of hair fall, without inflammation or scarring, include the pulling out of hair, potent medications including chemotherapy, and malnutrition including iron deficiency.
Treatment of alopecia is still ongoing, but FDA approved medications such as minoxidil or finasteride, can be used in an attempt to stop the shedding. Alopecia areata may be treated by steroid injections in the affected area but these need to be frequent, in order to be fully effective.
Over 60% of men suffer from baldness by the age of 40, and around 40% of women suffer from thinning hair by the age of 35. About 2% of people develop alopecia areata at some point in time.