8 Early Signs Of Alopecia, Diagnosis, And How To Deal With It

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS
Written by Annie Jangam

Natural hair loss is a common occurrence, but that does not mean we should embrace it. The good news is you can detect early signs of alopecia or hair loss. In other words, you can potentially stop any imminent hair loss. Common signs of this condition include fragile nails and sparse eyebrows. But what else might signal a hair loss crisis? Read this article to learn more.

Spotting The Early Signs Of Hair Loss

According to The American Academy of Dermatology Association, it is normal to lose 50-100 strands of hair every day (1). But, according to anecdotal reports, there are a few warning signs you should look out for if you suspect you are losing more hair than usual:

  • Sudden Or Excessive Hair Loss

If you notice excess hair on your brush or clogging the drain regularly, it is recommended to consult a doctor. This early diagnosis can help in preventing or slowing down further hair loss.

  • Receding Hairline

Loss of hair along the hairline in men is an early sign of alopecia. Just pull your hair back from the forehead to check your hairline. If it looks further back than usual along the front or around the temples, it means your hairline is receding.

  • Hair Thinning

Hair thinning is another sign of alopecia. If you notice sparse hair on the top of your head or circular patches of thinning hair, it could be the start of alopecia.

  • Thinning Ponytail

Sudden or excessive hair loss usually results in loss of hair volume. Women experience hair loss all over the scalp. So if your ponytail is looking thinner than usual, or you can see your scalp through your hair €“ it is time to see a healthcare provider.

  • Bald Patches

If you are losing patches of hair suddenly accompanied by itching or a burning sensation, you need immediate medical attention. Scalp tenderness or losing clumps of hair can indicate an underlying infection. For instance, in a ringworm infection, you will experience patchy scales on your scalp along with redness, swelling, and hair loss.

  • Patchy Beard

Men with one or more bald patches in their beard area can be at risk for alopecia.

  • Sparse Eyebrows And Eyelashes

Losing hair from the eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic area, beard, and other parts of the body is also considered an early sign of alopecia. Such full body hair loss is known as alopecia universal is. This can also happen due to cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

  • Brittle Or Red Nails

If your nails have pits, craters, or small white spots or lines, it could be an early sign of alopecia. Red nails or brittle nails can also be a warning sign for hair loss.

These are a few tell-tale signs of alopecia. Spotting them on time can help you treat them quickly. Scroll down to learn more about this condition.

Do I Have Alopecia?

If you noticed two or more of the above signs, you must consult a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. Physical examination, laboratory tests, and biopsy will determine if you have alopecia.

There are different types of hair loss, depending on your:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Genetic factors
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Autoimmune reaction

The treatment will differ from one type of alopecia to another. Find out in the next section the different ways to cope with alopecia.

How To Deal With It?

There are different ways to deal with hair loss.

  1. Medications: Some medications €“ such as minoxidil and finasteride €“ promote hair regrowth (2).
  2. Therapies: Laser therapy and micro-needling can activate hair follicles and trigger hair growth (2).
  3. Hair Transplant: You can use wigs or get a hair transplant to cover hair loss in extreme cases (2).
  4. Diet: Following a healthy diet with adequate proteins and nutrients may help in reducing hair loss (2).
  5. Hormone Replacement: If the hair loss is triggered by hormonal disturbances, you can consult a doctor for treatment (2).

If you have lost a lot of hair, you are probably one of the millions of people dealing with alopecia. It is a distressing condition for many people. Thinning hair, abrupt hair loss in patches, and brittle nails are all early indicators of alopecia. If you experience excessive hair loss, contact a dermatologist for diagnosis and to determine the best treatment strategy for moving forward with certainty. Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a widespread issue with various causes. However, a healthy diet, medicines, wearing wigs, or getting a hair transplant can help deal with the condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does alopecia start?

Alopecia starts with sudden hair loss, especially if it is triggered by an autoimmune reaction. Your body starts attacking your hair follicles, causing you to lose hair.

How long does it take for alopecia to go away?

Alopecia can reoccur over a period of time. It is observed that it lasts a few months and can worsen without treatment.

Can your hair grow back if you have alopecia?

Yes, your hair can grow back if the hair follicles are still active.

Key Takeaways

  • Sudden or excessive hair loss, receding hairline, hair thinning, bald patches, and brittle nails are a few of the warning signs of alopecia.
  • You can treat alopecia through medications, therapies, hair transplants, diet, or hormone replacement.
  • Consulting a dermatologist will be the best idea if you think you have alopecia symptoms.


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  1. Do You Have Hair Loss Or Hair Shedding?
  2. Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts
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Dr. Shruti Chavan

Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee... more