Understand Alopecia Areata
Male and female hair loss can happen for a variety of reasons. For this reason, perhaps we should discuss what alopecia areata is. Alopecia areata is a condition that causes a person’s hair to fall out in small patches. At first, they may not be noticeable but as these patches connect to other areas, they will become noticeable.
For those with alopecia areata, their experience with hair loss happens because of their immune systems targeting hair follicles. The immune system doesn’t kill the hair follicles, but it does create enough damage to prevent hair from growing. Hair loss can occur on the scalp but in other areas as well like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face as well as other parts of the body. It can develop slowly and there can even be recurrences in between instances.
The Most Common Types of Alopecia Areata
It is estimated that over 6.8 million Americans have alopecia. Not all of them according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) experience the same symptoms. There are four types of autoimmune disorders.
- Alopecia areata – which causes small patches of hair loss on the scalp and other body parts.
- Persistent patchy alopecia – which is the same as the above alopecia except that it lasts for a prolonged period without developing into a more severe form of the disorder.
- Alopecia totalis – which causes complete hair loss on the scalp.
- Alopecia universalis – is an advanced form of disorder that can cause complete hair loss on the scalp, face, and body.
- Any type of alopecia can cause different amounts of hair loss over time. A person may lose a significant amount of hair for a few months but regrow the hair shortly after. Most people find the condition’s symptoms unpredictable.
What Causes Alopecia Areata?
As discussed, alopecia is a common cause of hair loss that is an autoimmune disorder that is believed to be genetic. If a parent has alopecia, then there is a chance that the gene for alopecia could be passed down to a child, however, an adult can carry the gene without ever showing symptoms.
Although doctors know what causes alopecia, they do not know why it causes the immune system to attack healthy hair follicles. These attacks do cause the hair follicles to shrink and become less active. Periods of inactivity often last about six months. Hair may start to regrow after six months, but another flare-up can cause the new hair to fall out.
Treatment Options for Alopecia
There is no cure for alopecia but there are hair loss treatments that can slow down future hair loss or help hair grow back more quickly. Because the condition is unpredictable, some people may still suffer hair loss even with treatments.
There are medications that you can rub on your scalp to stimulate hair growth. Some of these are over the counter and others are prescription only.
Steroid injections are a common option for mild alopecia patches that can help hair grow back in the bald spots. Tiny needles inject the steroid into the bare skin of the affected areas.
The treatment has to be repeated every one to two months to regrow hair. It doesn’t prevent new hair loss from occurring.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is another way to stimulate hair regrowth. It uses the natural growth factors found in the patient’s own blood plasma.
Cortisone tablets are sometimes used for extensive alopecia, but due to the possibility of side effects so you should consult with your doctor before taking them.
Because the disorder is unpredictable many choose other options to hide the bald patches that appear with medical alopecia wigs. They are custom-made to your head, so you get a fit that is comfortable and secure. They can be made with synthetic hair or human hair which is easier to care for and style than ever before.
Whether you live in Dayton, Ohio or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or anywhere in between, if you are experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss and would like to learn more about medical wig options available to you, we invite you to consider scheduling a free private, confidential consultation with an experienced hair loss professional near you.