What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an emotionally disturbing, but not physically serious illness that presents with the sudden appearance of round bald spots on the scalp, eyebrows, beard, or any hairy area of the body. Patients are usually initially unaware the small bald patches. As a result, a barber or hairdresser often discovers these bald spots.
Who gets alopecia areata?
This very common form of hair loss can affect anyone—of any age, race or gender—and may even run in families.
What causes alopecia areata?
AA is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own hair follicles. As a result, the hair falls out of the scalp from the root. The good news is that the hair follicles are not permanently destroyed. With the right treatment, it is possible for the hair to grow back. As with other autoimmune disease, alopecia areata may be triggered by stressful life events.
Is there a link between with other diseases?
Alopecia areata may be linked with other disorders, like thyroid disease. On your first visit at Eternal Dermatology, the doctor will check to be sure that you are not at risk of any of these other disorders.
Will my hair loss get worse?
About 5% of people with alopecia areata lose all the hair on their scalp. This is called alopecia totalis. 1% of patients lose all of their body hair. These more severe forms of alopecia are more likely to occur when the hair loss starts in childhood.
How to treat alopecia areata?
There are a variety of treatment options, which depend on the age of the patient, and the size and distribution of the areas of hair loss. Treatments include:
- Steroid ointments or injections
- Oral steroids
- Sensitizer creams
- Light therapy
- Reduce your stress level
- Counseling (to reduce stress and to deal with the sadness about hair loss)
- Camouflage techniques
Many of these treatments can have side effects, especially if not done correctly. Therefore, it is important that you see a board-certified dermatologist with expertise in hair and scalp disorders.
How will the hair regrow?
Oftentimes, when the hair in the bald patches first returns, it may grow out as very fine, white hairs. Then these becomes thicker and darker over time.
For additional information and support, please visit The National Alopecia Areata Foundation website at www.naaf.org.
If you’re experiencing any unusual hair loss, contact the Hair and Scalp Center, here at Eternal Dermatology right away! Call us or book online.