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Symptoms and Signs of Hair Loss (Alopecia)

Doctor's Notes on Hair Loss (Alopecia)

Hair loss (alopecia) becomes a cosmetic problem when it occurs in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong individual. Cosmetically significant hair loss falls into two categories:

  • Scarring alopecia, which is irreversible hair loss characterized by damage to the underlying skin which results in scarring that destroys the hair follicle and its potential for regeneration; and
  • non-scarring alopecia, which is a common and potentially reversible type of hair loss.

Common causes of hair loss include

Hair loss is a symptom itself that is usually noticed by individuals when they look at themselves in a mirror or when others bring it to their attention. Hairs on the pillow in the morning or more hairs in the hairbrush or comb can be signs of hair loss. Women may notice less hair in their ponytails or widening parts.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 5/25/2020


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.