Hair Loss Glossary

Glossary of Medical Terminology

Understanding Hair Loss Related Terms

Alopecia – a term used to describe baldness. Alopecia is expressed in various ways. It usually affects the top and the front parts of the head. Men are most prone to suffering from Alopecia. Alopecia may be caused by various factors, such as ageing, genetics, stress (emotional or psychological), drugs or medications, different types of diseases, etc.

Anagen – a term used to describe hair growth cycles. Based on genetic preconditions, the anagen hair growth phase occurs between 2 and 7 years. As for these phases, they are as follows – anagen, catagen, and telogen.

Bonding – a term used to describe the process of attaching natural or synthetic hair to existing hair. These additional strands of hair are fixed to the scalp.

Catagen – a term used to describe the second phase of hair growth cycles – anagen, catagen, telogen.

Chemotherapy – a term to describe a procedure for fighting cancer cells with the help of chemotherapy drugs. These drugs are rather powerful. Quite naturally, when being applied, they affect hair roots, thus damaging them quite easily. This, in turn, results in temporary alopecia (hair loss).

Cortex – a term to describe the basic structural part of hair shaft (non-growing part of the hair coming out of the skin), which counts for 90% of hair weight, hair texture and hair colour.

Cyproterone Acetate – a term used to describe a medication used to lower a man’s sexual libido. Moreover, it is often used to treat women’s alopecia and hirsutism.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – a term used to describe male hormones that count for the secondary sexual features in males. These are male hair growth (on the face, and body), and oiliness in the skin. According to recent studies, 95% of male hair loss and baldness is caused by Dihydrotestosterone.

Female Pattern Baldness (FPB) – a term used to describe the excessive deterioration of hair quality (thinning). The causes for this are different – ageing, hormones and genetics. As compared with male pattern baldness, the process is much more gradual.

Flap Surgery – a term used to describe a type of hair replacement surgery – replacing hair from the side hairline area to the front part of the head.

Follicular Unit Transplantation – a term to describe a recently developed method of hair transplants. According to this method, hair should be gathered and grafted to the bald parts of the head.

Frontal Alopecia – a term used to describe the baldness of the front part of the head.

Gene Therapy - a term used to describe a medical method applied for the improvement of the defective genes.

Hair Weaving – a term used to describe the process of attaching natural or synthetic hair to the hair on the head by braiding.

Hypothyroidism – a term used to describe the situation in which the thyroid gland does not produce a sufficient amount of the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, thus causing baldness, thinning, dryness and breakability.

Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenic Alopecia) – a term used to describe male hair loss. It counts for 95% of hair loss among males. It develops rather rapidly, and is conditioned by genetics, hormones, and ageing. This kind of baldness results in hair loss from the sides of the forehead, and may be characterized by its U-type shape on the head.

Minoxidil – a term used to describe the type of medication that is prescribed for preventing hair loss. Apart from this, it is prescribed to fight high blood pressure. Minoxidil usage results in the regrowth of hair.

Norwood Scale – a term used to describe hair loss classification. According to Norwood scale, hair loss is classified under the following levels:

  • Normal hair growth without any symptoms of vivid hair loss.
  • Wedge-shape pattern of hair loss.
  • Wedge-shape pattern of hair loss developing much faster (as compared with the 2nd level), and is more apparently expressed on the front part and the temporal area of the head.
  • Wedge-shape pattern of hair loss causing hair loss on the front, temporal, and the back part of the head. As for the back side of the head, a bald spot appears on it.
  • Wedge-shape hair loss accompanied by hair thinning.
  • There is no hair bridge on the head. Only some short and thin hair is found on the head.
  • Hair loss affects almost the whole area of the head (towards the base of the head); the sides are left above the ears.
Retin-A – a term used to describe a brand of acne medication. Statistics show it may be helpful in stopping the hair loss. The side effects include scalp irritation, which can accelerate hair loss.

Senescent Alopecia (Involutional Alopecia) – a term used to describe a type of hair loss that develops with age. It is typical of both women and men. It causes hair thinning.

Telogen – a term used to describe the 3rd phase of hair growth cycles (anagen, catagen, and telogen). It lasts about 3 months.

Telogen Loss – a term used to describe hair loss (or natural loss) in the 3rd stage of hair growth. It results in hair shedding or thinning. Telogen loss is preconditioned by stress (psychological or emotional), drugs or medications, surgery, fever, eating problems, anemia, etc.

Temporal Recession – a term used to describe hair loss that affects the temple part of the head (the hardest part of the head). It is more typical of males.

Traction Alopecia – a term used to describe the type of hair loss caused by hair stretching. Hairstyles, like pony tails, braids, etc. are the main reasons for this type of hair loss to occur. It is most commonly found among African American women.

Vellus Hair – a term used to describe a non-pigmented hair cover (peach fuzz) on kids’ and adults’ body. It is invisible because of the lack of central medulla.

Wig – a term used to describe hair covering made of natural or artificial hair to hide baldness.