Hair Loss Types & Causes – Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is a More Common Type of Hair Loss Than You Might Think

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ALOPECIA AREATA: ADULT MALE

Photo Credit: Thirunavukkarasye-Raveendran, CC BY 4.0

Alopecia Areata in Men, Women & Children

Alopecia areata is categorized as an autoimmune disorder, meaning that a person’s immune system turns on and attacks healthy cells.  In the case of Alopecia Areata, the body’s immune system is attacking a person’s hair follicles. This causes visible bald patches, and also prevents hair regrowth in the attacked area.  Alopecia areata has also been called “spot baldness” since it presents as bald patches surrounded by normal growing hair.

The condition is not contagious. It can manifest itself at any age, with most individuals seeing it develop in childhood and their early years as a teenager.

It can occur anywhere on the body without warning and affects men, women, and children of all ages and hair types. It is most noticeable in visible areas of the skin, especially the scalp. Hair loss from this condition normally occurs in small patches and can occur without warning. Hair loss can occur elsewhere on the body as well, including the beard, eyelashes, and eyebrows.

Persons suffering from this condition may notice eventual hair regrowth in the affected areas, but it can manifest itself again elsewhere. The underlying factor in alopecia areata is the failure of the affected person’s autoimmune system to recognize its own cells.  No cure has been found for the condition.  Over time, the condition has been shown to lead to alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis (a complete loss of all hair) in some individuals.

Alopecia areata, like androgenetic alopecia (the most common form of hair loss), can occur in men, women, and children, regardless of age, who have no other types of skin disorders and are otherwise healthy.

Alopecia in all its forms can cause profound emotional and psychological anxiety in the sufferer since it visibly affects the person’s physical appearance, causing a negative self-image. Such anxiety can in turn lead the individual to withdraw from normal social interaction due to self-consciousness about their appearance.

Treatment & Mitigation

cranial hair prosthesis human hair wig alopecia areataThe assessment and treatment of alopecia areata is unpredictable. While spontaneous remission has been reported to occur, with the affected bald patches showing hair regrowth, a cycle of hair loss and hair regrowth can continue for many months or years. No existing therapies have been shown to either prevent or cure the condition.

Individuals experiencing hair loss of any kind should first consult with their primary care physician and/or dermatologist to determine the cause of their hair loss and to seek and follow any medical advice they may provide.

High quality medical grade hair prosthetics and human hair wigs specifically designed for people with little or no hair can help individuals suffering from alopecia areata regain a positive self-image, restore a sense of normalcy, and allow them to once again interact with family, friends, and colleagues and enjoy life to the fullest.

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References:

Wikipedia: Alopecia Areata

American Academy of Dermatology – Hair Loss Types: Alopecia Areata Overview

NYU Langone Health – Types of Hair Loss

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