Alopecia totalis (AT) is condition causing which causes the complete loss of hair from a person’s scalp. It is considered as an advanced stage of alopecia areata. While science is uncertain as to the exact cause of alopecia totalis, it is widely considered to be an autoimmune disease, whereby the individual’s bodily immune system mistakenly attacks the person’s hair follicles.
Approximately 20% of individuals affected by the condition also have a member of their family who is also affected by alopecia. Like androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata, there is presently no known cure for alopecia totalis. On rare occasions, some hair regrows, even after a protracted period of months or years.
Researchers believe there to be a specific genetic predisposition which makes some people more likely to develop alopecia. The condition has been linked to stress.
Alopecia universalis is a rare disorder related to alopecia areata. Unlike alopecia areata, however, alopecia universalis causes a complete and total loss of hair not only on the scalp but also over the entire body, including arms and legs, underarms, pubic area, chest, back, face, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Instances have been widely recorded among those suffering from alopecia universalis of complete hair regrowth after a number of years, with periodic relapses of hair loss. Studies suggest that approximately one-third of those suffering from alopecia areata may be susceptible to chronic hair loss.
Scientists do not know what specifically triggers this type of hair loss, although they believe there to be a strong genetic component.
Treatment & Solutions
Persons experiencing hair loss of any kind should first consult their primary care physician and/or dermatologist to determine the root cause of their hair loss and to seek and follow any medical advice their doctor may provide.
As with other forms of alopecia such as alopecia areata or the most common male or female pattern baldness, there is no known treatment or cure for alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis.
Alopecia in all its forms can cause emotional and psychological anxiety in the sufferer since it visibly affects the person’s physical appearance, causing a negative self-image. Such anxiety can lead the individual to withdraw from normal social interaction due to self-consciousness about their appearance.
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 to regain a positive self-image, restore a sense of normalcy, and give them the self-confidence to once again interact with those around them and enjoy life to the fullest.