This glossary will assist in explaining some of the terms used in this website.
Note: Hit any of the FAQs to reveal the answer.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is the medical description of the loss of hair from the head or body, sometimes to the extent of baldness. Unlike the common aesthetic depilation of body hair, alopecia tends to be involuntary and unwelcome.
However, it may also be caused by a psychological compulsion to pull out one’s own hair (trichotillomania) or the unforeseen consequences of voluntary hairstyling routines (traction alopecia) from excessively tight ponytails or braids, or burns to the scalp from caustic hair relaxer solutions or hot hair irons. In some cases, alopecia is an indication of an underlying medical concern, such as iron deficiency.
When hair loss occurs in only one section, it is known as alopecia areata. Alopecia universalis is when complete hair loss on the body occurs.
Hair loss or baldness due to inflammation of hair follicles.
Baldness following a nervous disorder or injury to the nervous system.
Alopecia Senilis is baldness due to old age.
This is the complete loss of scalp hair often combined with the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes.
Alopecia Universalis is the term for hair loss which occurs over the entire body.
5 Alpha reductase is the enzyme which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that triggers Androgenetic Alopecia in individuals who are genetically susceptible. Type 1 5-Alpha reductase is found primarily in the skin and Type 2 5-Alpha reductase is found primarily in the prostate and inner sheath of the hair follicle.
This is the growing phase of the hair cycle which lasts about seven years in a healthy person.
The most commonly used word to describe the loss of scalp hair.
This is baldness due to scarring. The follicles are absent in scar tissue. Cicatricial alopecia presents clinically with the effacement/scarring of follicular orifices, always in a patchy or focal distribution.
Crown Laser ® System
The Crown Laser ® System is a high-tech form of low-level laser treatment designed to stimulate the blood flow and enzyme creation within individual hair follicles which have become dormant. It reinvigorates the follicle and encourages it to grow hair naturally.
The dermal papilla is situated at the base of the hair follicle. The dermal papilla contains nerves and blood vessels which supply glucose for energy and amino acids to make keratin.
DHT is a male hormone that is suggested to be the main cause for the miniaturisation of the hair follicle and for hair loss. DHT is formed when the male hormone testosterone interacts with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.
Female hair loss
Many women experience hair loss but it is usually very different to the hair loss experienced by men. Very few women experience pattern baldness or indeed any form of baldness that results in significant areas of the scalp becoming free of hair. The most common form of hair loss in women is thinning of existing hair. This can result from a number of causes including hormone imbalance, pregnancy, long-term stress and anxiety or the use of orally taken birth control.
A hair follicle is a part of the skin that grows hair by packing old cells together. Attached to the follicle is a sebaceous gland, a tiny sebum-producing gland found on the coxics and the putella and everywhere except on the palms, lips and soles of the feet.
The thicker the density of the hair, the more the number of sebaceous glands that are found. Also attached to the follicle is a tiny bundle of muscle fibre called the arrector pilus that are responsible for causing the follicle lissis to become more perpendicular to the surface of the skin, and causing the follicle to protrude slightly above the surrounding skin (piloerection).
This process results in goose bumps (or goose flesh). Stem cells are located at the junction of the arrector and the follicle, and are principally responsible for the ongoing hair production during a process known as the Anagen stage.
The average growth rate of healthy hair follicles on the scalp is half an inch per month.
Male pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Hair is lost in a pattern beginning above both temples. Hair also thins at the crown of the head. Often a rim of hair around the sides and rear of the head is all that’s left.
Norwood Scale for Hair Loss Classification
The progression of male pattern baldness is generally classified on the Hamilton-Norwood scale, which ranges from stages I to VII. This measurement scale was first introduced by Dr. James Hamilton in the 1950s and later revised and updated by Dr. O’Tar Norwood in the 1970s
The small area at the base of the hair root which provides nutrients needed for growth.
The scalp is the anatomical area bordered by the face anteriorly and the neck to the sides and posteriorly. It is usually described as having five layers. The scalp is the anatomical area bordered by the face anteriorly and the neck to the sides and posteriorly.
Fatty or greasy, usually referring to the oil-secrating glans of the scalp. The sebaceous glands are microscopic glands in the skin which secrete an oily/waxy matter, called sebum, to lubricate the skin and hair of animals.
In humans, they are found in greatest abundance on the face and scalp, though they are distributed throughout all skin sites except the palms and soles. In the eyelids, meibomian sebaceous glands secrete sebum into tears.
There are several related medical conditions, including: acne, sebaceous cysts, hyperplasia, sebaceous adenoma and sebaceous gland carcinoma.
The oily secretion of the sebaceous glands of the scalp, composed of keratin, fat or cellular debris.
The resting phase in the hair cycle. The telogen phase is the resting phase of the hair follicle. The club hair is the final product of a hair follicle in the telogen stage, and is a dead, fully keratinized hair. Fifty to one-hundred club hairs are shed daily from a normal scalp.
Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia, or gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair.
This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing his/her hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids. It is also seen occasionally in long-haired toy dogs whose owners use barrettes to keep hair out of the dogs’ faces.
Traction alopecia is a substantial risk in hair weaves, which can be worn either to conceal hair loss, or purely for cosmetic purposes.
The former, such as those sold in the U.S. by Hair Club, involve creating a braid around the head below the existing hairline, to which an extended-wear hairpiece, or wig, is attached. Since the hair of the braid is still growing, it requires frequent maintenance, which involves the hairpiece being removed, the natural hair braided again, and the piece snugly reattached.
The tight braiding and snug hairpiece cause tension on the hair that is already at risk for falling out.
Trichotillomania (TTM, also known as trichotillosis, or more commonly as trich) is defined as “hair loss from a patient’s repetitive self-pulling of hair” and is characterised by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, facial hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair, sometimes resulting in noticeable bald patches.
The top of the head towards the posterior position, including the area at which the hair grows in a spiral pattern.