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What Causes Hair Loss

Genetic Hair Loss, Alopecia Areata, or Something Else?

Question:

I've had a bald patch on the back of my scalp for about 4 months now. What could be causing this?

Answer:

It really depends on the position of the bald patch. Is it toward the top back of the head, known as the crown? Or somewhere else?

Typical male pattern genetic baldness (androgenic alopecia) can start with thinning hair and/or a bald spot in the crown. On the other hand, alopecia areata can cause a bald spot to form rapidly and in random areas of the scalp or body. Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmunity deficiency where the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Whereas genetic hair loss is progressive and worsens over time without proven medical treatments such as Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil), balding from alopecia areata will sometimes reverse itself with time and/or proper treatment.

Bald spots can also be caused by excessive pulling of the hair, either accidental (traction alopecia) or purposeful (trichotillomania).

If you'd like some additional input as to what appears to be causing the bald spot, feel free to send me some photos and additional information based on the above. However, it would also be a good idea to consult a dermatologist for a professional medical opinion.

Bill - Managing Publisher of the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
To share ideas with other hair loss sufferers visit our Hair Restoration Discussion Forum.