Alopecia, or as it’s also known Alopecia Areata, is a form of hair loss that occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles by mistake. And since the follicle is where the hair growth begins, this attack can have a significant effect on the condition of the hair.
This damage is often temporary, but unfortunately medical experts are unable to identify why the immune system begins to attack the hair follicles in the first place.
What they do agree upon is that this form of hair loss is more commonly associated with people under the age of twenty, however it can affect both men and women of any age.
What Are The Symptoms of Alopecia?
When a person suffers from alopecia, the first noticeable symptom is clumps of hair start falling out. Then this progresses into completely smooth patches on the scalp which are completely hairless.
In some cases the hair may thin out without becoming noticeable bald patches. Sufferers may also find that the hair breaks off which leaves short stubs referred to as “exclamation point” hair.
In rare instances, the sufferer may lose all scalp and body hair.
Will my Hair Grow Back?
Generally the loss of hair is irregular, with regrowth occurring over several months in one area. But, and this is strange, the hair loss starts in another area. In some patches of hair loss, usually the hair does grow back within a few months and it is often the same texture and colour as the remaining hair. However, and in some cases, the regrown hair may be white and very fine. In approximately ten percent of cases, the hair loss may be permanent and never regrow.
If you have a family history of alopecia or another form of autoimmune disease, have an extensive case of hair loss, suffer from allergies for longer than a year (particularly at pre puberty), there is a greater likelihood of hair loss being permanent
How Is Alopecia Diagnosed?
The condition is officially diagnosed with a physical examination plus an assessment of your medical history.
Your healthcare professional will ask questions about the hair loss, and examine your scalp for any noticeable patterns in the condition. They may pull gently on a couple of hairs or even try to pull them out. If the cause of the hair loss is not immediately apparent, further testing may be needed to determine if there is an underlying medical condition or disease which is triggering the condition.
Blood tests may be required to check for specific conditions such as hyperthyroidism. Microscopic examination of a sample hair is also often done.
So, What Can Be Done?
Since your hair is likely to grow back within twelve months, many sufferers choose not to directly treat the condition. And if you are prepared to wait, you may wish to wear a hairpiece.
The good news is there are many hairpiece choices of synthetic or human hair that are implanted into nylon netting to be worn.
A hairpiece can be attached to the scalp using tape, metal clips or glue. However, sufferers of alopecia should avoid hair weaving, which is a system to braid or sew longer hair into the existing hair.
Because this type of treatment could cause permanent hair loss by putting undue pressure on your remaining hair.
Another method to improve how you look is to use creative styling techniques or hair care products. There are some products which can give the appearance of thicker hair and you can even choose to colour the scalp with dye to disguise the hair loss. One of these products that does just that is Mane Hair Thickening Spray.
However, continual use of dye or perms could contribute to further hair loss.
The most common form of direct treatment for patches of hair loss is corticosteroid injections. The course of treatment generally involves a large number of injections into the scalp, approximately one centimetre apart, over four to six weeks.
However, it is possible to treat children with a topical corticosteroid on the affected skin for a less invasive approach.
Some alopecia patients also opt for immunotherapy. Contact treatments can be used directly onto the scalp to trigger an allergic reaction. This treatment takes place once each week and it is designed to irritate the skin and trigger hair regrowth. The scalp becomes scaly and red but usually prompts hair regrowth within three months of starting the treatment.
It is also possible to use ultraviolet light therapy to treat the condition. This may be used in conjunction with medication to increase the sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet light.
For sufferers of long-term alopecia, SMP treatment may offer a more permanent solution as it can disguise hair loss and hair thinning.
Contact Meraki Hair Loss Clinic Today.
Alopecia can have a devastating effect on self-confidence.
Because your hair is a very important part of your appearance, even small patches of hair loss can make you feel unattractive. However, there are a number of natural hair loss treatment options available so it is important to seek the right advice.
Here at the Meraki Hair Loss Clinic, there is a large selection of treatments available – and we can also help you understand what to discuss with your healthcare professional.
Call us today for a consultation in one of our private rooms. That way we can talk openly about your hair loss, decide what can be done and get your self-esteem back.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main causes of alopecia?
Alopecia can have several causes, such as autoimmune diseases like thyroid conditions. Other causes can include asthma, allergies, hay fever, or skin conditions such as eczema.
Can alopecia be cured?
There is no cure for alopecia, per se, just a variety of ways to manage the condition. As well as mediations provided by doctors, we can offer a few ways to regrow hair or replace it with a wig or topper.