What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune hair disorder that results in unpredictable and patchy hair loss. In most of the cases, hair falls out in small patches, in few this condition worsens. The complete loss of hair on the scalp is called alopecia totalis. This gets the extreme effects where the hair is lost from the complete body, which is called alopecia universalis. Alopecia develops suddenly over the course of a few days or 1 week.
- As mentioned, the most prominent symptom of alopecia is a patchy hair loss. Round, coin-sized patches of hair begin to fall out from the scalp. The loss of hair can be sudden, developing in just a few days or over a period of a few weeks.
- Itching or burning sensation in the scalp before hair loss.
- Exclamation mark hairs. Short hairs, narrower at their bottom and grow in or around the edges of bald spots.
- Cadaver hairs. This is where hair break before reaching the skin surface.
- White hair. This may grow in areas affected by hair loss.
Causes for Alopecia areata.
- Immune System: Alopecia occurs when white blood cells attack hair follicles, causing them to slow down hair production. It is unknown what causes this change in the immune system.
- Genetics: Genetics are involved as alopecia is more likely to occur in a person who has a close family member with the same disease. One in five people with the disease has a family member who has also developed alopecia.
- Stress: Stress is also a reason for developing alopecia. Despite what many people think, there is very little scientific evidence to support this view.
Doctors usually diagnose alopecia by examining hair loss patterns and patches. By looking at the degree of hair loss, skin biopsy and scalp examining with a microscope is enough to diagnose this disease. To rule out other such autoimmune diseases, a blood test can be taken. As the symptoms of alopecia are so distinct, the diagnosis process is very straight and quick.
- The alopecia areata treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system.
- Medications for hair growth or affect the immune system include Minoxidil, Anthralin, SADBE, and DPCP.
- The use of photochemotherapy is supported by few for patients. Those who are unwilling to use systemic or invasive therapies.
Patients with alopecia areata would also need protection against nature, such as:
- Wear sunscreen if exposed to the sun.
- Wear wraparound glasses to protect the eyes from the sun and debris which the eyebrows and eyelashes would normally defend against.
- Use headwear such as hats, wigs, and scarves to protect the head from the sun or keep it warm.
Alopecia cannot be treated at home, but there are many you try to use the home remedies for hair regrowth like rubbing onion or garlic juice, cooled green tea, almond oil, rosemary oil, honey, or coconut milk into the scalp. These remedies aren’t harmful but are not completely useful either.
Some people turn to alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, although there is little if any, evidence to support these treatments.
Alopecia is not contagious, nor it makes people sick. In most cases, if effects the patients emotionally. People with alopecia describe this as a traumatic disease. In the United States, Alopecia areata is compared to vitiligo. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease where the body attacks melanin-producing cells, leading to white patches. Research suggests that these two conditions may share a similar pathogenesis, with similar types of immune cells and cytokines.
If you have such symptoms, get a quick visit to a nearby hair clinic and show it to a good trichologist. At Nubello Aesthetics, we treat different types of alopecia areata – Scarring alopecia, Telogen Effluvium, Tricotilomania, Anagen alopecia, and Traction alopecia. Get a free consultation today with our experts to cure Alopecia Areata.