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What is Alopecia: Treatment, Cause, Symptoms and Types

Home / Hair Loss  / What is Alopecia: Treatment, Cause, Symptoms and Types
Posted on : May 13, 2021 | Author: John Kahen | Category: Hair Loss

what is alopecia

Alopecia areata is a state that leads to hair fall in small patches. These patches might connect, though, and then become visible. This sort of situation arises when the immune system strikes the hair follicles and leads to hair loss. 

An eventual hair loss might happen on the head, leading to hair loss on the entire body, including eyebrows, eyelashes, and face. It grows gradually and can occur again within years. This state can immensely cause total hair loss. It is also known as alopecia Universalis. This can halt hair growth. The amount of hair loss and regrowth differs from person to person. 

Alopecia areata is a horrible and devastating situation that aims and destroys hair growth. However, alopecia occurs when your immune system affects the hair follicles. Therefore, it means that your own body is the reason for your hair loss. As you reach the extent of alopecia, the hair starts falling from your head faster and randomly. Moreover, alopecia can lead to a severe thinning on one's scalp. To conclude, in short, it is a syndrome that no person would like to experience or be a victim of, as it can harm one of the essential elements of every person's appearance, that is, hair.   

Medical Treatments

There is no natural way to get rid of this alopecia areata problem. But now you do not have to worry as science has developed and technology is advanced. Some treatments strive and may halt your future hair loss or benefit you in growing back your hair more promptly. 

But, this situation is a bit challenging for making predictions. It implies it may need several trials till you do not find an apt solution to work for it. And for some people, the situation gets worse even after the treatment. 

Topical agents

To improve and increase hair growth, you apply medications to your scalp. a plethora of medicines are available in both the situation with or without prescription:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available over the counter, and this has to be applied daily, two times a day on eyebrows, eyelashes, scalp, and beard. Though it is reliable and safe, one has to wait for a year to notice its effects. People with little alopecia areata problems tend to have positive feedback and are valuable to them. 
  • Anthralin (dritho-scalp) is a medicine that disturbs and irritates the skin to prick the hair growth. 
  • Corticosteroid creams such as clobetasol, foams, ointments, and lotions are assumed to work by reducing the numbness in the hair follicle. 
  • Topical immunotherapy is a procedure in which a chemical like diphencyprone is applied to the skin to remove an allergic rash. The rash that shows poison oak might promote new hair growth within six months. But at the same time, you will have to continue the remedy to keep the regrowing of the hair

Injections

Steroid injections are a fundamental way to help hair grow back on bald spots, but this option is valid for people with mild and patchy alopecia. Small and petite syringes with steroid filled in it are injected into the bare skin of the affected regions.

This procedure has to be repeated after every two months to regrow hair. But it does not halt in acquiring new hair loss.   

Oral treatments

Cortisone tablets are sometimes used for extensive alopecia, but you should discuss this option with a doctor due to the possibility of side effects.

Oral immunosuppressants, like methotrexate and cyclosporine, are another option you can try. They work by blocking the immune system’s response. Still, they can’t be used for an extended period due to the risk of side effects, such as high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, and an increased risk of severe infections and a type of cancer called lymphoma.

Light therapy

Light therapy is also known as ad photochemotherapy or phototherapy. It is a treatment that uses radiation and applies an amalgamation of an oral medication known as psoralens and UV light. 

Natural treatment

Some people with alopecia areata choose alternative therapies to treat the condition. These may include:

  • aromatherapy
  • acupuncture
  • microneedling
  • probiotics
  • low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
  • vitamins, like zinc and biotin
  • aloe vera drinks and topical gels
  • onion juice
  • Trusted Source
  •  rubbed onto the scalp
  • significant oils like tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint
  • other oils, like coconut, castor, olive, and jojoba
  • an “anti-inflammatory” diet, also known as the “autoimmune protocol,” which is a restrictive diet that mainly includes meats and vegetables
  • scalp massage
  • herbal supplements, such as ginseng, green tea, Chinese hibiscus, and saw palmetto

If the alternative methods are not clinically proven, their efficiency in restoring hair loss is not well known. 

Moreover, the food and drug administration does not prove the safety of products from supplement makers. At times, the claims made on products are false and misleading. Therefore, it is always better to consult your doctor before trying any herbal or vitamin supplements. 

The efficiency of the treatment differs from person to person. Few people do not require any treatment as their hair grows of their own. On the other side, some folks would not feel any improvement in their hair growth despite trying every treatment option

May for seeing the difference, you may need to try many other methods. Keep in your brains that hair regrowth might occur only temporarily. It is liable for the hair to grow back and then drop again. 

Also, you can read What is PRP for Hair Loss and How Often Will I Need It?

Causes of Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune situation. This autoimmune condition arises when the immune system makes flaws in healthy cells for other foreign substances. Generally, the immune system protects your body against foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses. 

Suppose you are having alopecia areata, though your immune system falsely attacks your hair follicles. These are the structures from where the hair grows. Due to a mistaken immune system, the follicles become petite and prevent hair growth, leading to hair loss

Scientists and researchers do not determine the real cause of this problem. The problem mostly happens among people who have a family history of other autoimmune situations, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. This is why few scientists feel that genetics are the leading cause that might contribute to the arrival of alopecia areata.

Symptoms of Alopecia Areata

The most prominent symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. The hair drops out in a small patch pattern from the scalp. The width of these patches is usually certain centimeters or less. 

Hair loss can also occur on other parts of the face and body, like eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard. Few people drop hair in some places, while some have lots of patches or spots.

You may notice a cluster of hair on your pillow or while you shower on the first note. If the patches are on the back of the scalp, then some might bring it under consideration. Although, there can be other health situations that can lead to severe hair loss in the same manner. Only losing hair does not entirely help in diagnosing alopecia areata. In some situations, some folks might undergo more severe hair loss. It is generally a sign of another kind of alopecia, such as:

  • alopecia totalis, which is the loss of all hair on the head
  • alopecia universalis, it is a loss of hair from the complete body. 

Surgeons mostly avoid using these words totalis and Universalis, as few people might suffer that is something amid two. For instance, it is possible for someone to drop all their hair from underarms, legs, and scalp, but not on the chest. 

The hair loss linked with alopecia areata can not be predictable, and further, till now, doctors and researchers assume it to be spontaneous. It is from the trusted sources that hair might grow back but drop out again at any time. The limitation of hair growth and fall relies upon person to person. 

Types

There are many kinds of alopecia areata endures. Every kind is featured by the amount of hair loss and other symptoms you might undergo. Per kind might have a bit special treatment and diagnosis. 

Alopecia areata (patchy)

The main feature to recognize this sort of alopecia areata is the coin size of patches of hair loss on the skin or body. If this situation increases, it might become alopecia totalis or alopecia Universalis. 

Alopecia totalis

Alopecia totalis happens when you have hair loss on the entire head.

Alopecia universalis

In relation to this, people dropping their hair on the scalp with this kind of alopecia areata also drops hair from the face, such as eyebrows and eyelashes. Moreover, it is also possible to lose hair from the entire body, holding and pubic hair. 

Diffuse alopecia areata

Dispersed alopecia areata might look quite similar to female or male pattern hair loss. This is because it affects prompt and anticipates thinning hair all around the scalp, not only in one area or patch. 

Ophiasis alopecia

It is a hair loss that follows a band with the sides and backs lower of the head, known as ophiasis alopecia. 

See More: Everything You Need to Know About an FUE Hair Transplant

How is alopecia areata diagnosed?

A surgeon might diagnose alopecia areata just by seeing the amount of hair loss and analyzing a few hair samples with the help of a microscope. 

Your doctor might also arrange for the biopsy test to figure out other circumstances that lead to hair loss. For example, it includes fungal infections like tinea capitis. For biopsy tests, the surgeon will extract a small piece of skin from your scalp for examination. 

If any other autoimmune situation is detected, then your surgeon might do your blood test. The type of blood test executed relies on the sort of disorder or suspicion of the doctor. First, however, the doctor will diagnose for the presence of one or more abnormal antibodies. If these antibodies are analyzed in your blood, then it implies that you have an autoimmune disorder. 

Other blood tests that can serve you in different situations holds the following:

  • C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • iron levels
  • antinuclear antibody test
  • thyroid hormones
  • free and total testosterone
  • follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone

Diet

Eatables with high sugar, processed snacks, and liquor might increase swelling and irritation within the body.

Some folks who are diagnosed with the autoimmune situation might hold the following an anti-inflammatory diet. This kind of consumption plan is formed to help lessen the autoimmune response in the body and reduces the chances of another hair loss episode or further hair loss. For attaining this, you are required to consume food that eases your inflammation method. The core foods of this diet, also known as the autoimmune protocol, like fruits and veggies- blueberries, nuts, seeds, broccoli, beets, and mutton such as wild-caught salmon. Consuming a balanced diet with whole grain, fruits, veggies, and lean meat is the most advantageous for your health for many distinct reasons other than decreasing inflammation. 

Prevention

The reason and cause being unaware of, therefore alopecia areata can not be halted. It might be the effects of various aspects other than the autoimmune disorder—people with family history, another autoimmune state, or any other skin problem. But at the same time, not all can develop this disorder of losing hair. This is the reason that stopping it entirely is till now not possible. 

But coming over it, and if I tell you that there is a way to come out from this non-preventive problem of alopecia? Cosmetic surgery is the key. When people come around the cosmetic surgery, they assume plastic surgery or botox. Folks link the cosmetic procedure with the mode of making yourself appear prettier. However, hair transplant surgery is the proper medical process meant to fight against severe hair fall diseases and natural hair fall. Medical clinics like Beverly hills hair restoration (BHHR) provide valuable services to fight and preserve one's hair as the problem arises. So now you need not bother. If any clumps of hair falling while rinsing or combing, you notice. There is a silver lining. This silver lining stays in the magical hands of surgeons like Dr. John Kahen, whose high experience and advancement in technology for every patient of his clinic are exclusive. Kahen customizes every process according to the requirements of the patients. Therefore, hair transplant procedures like those at BHHR serve specific aims such as fighting against hair loss and disease and ensuring enhanced natural hair growth.
 

Here are a few more topics that you shouldn’t miss:
How Much Does A Hair Transplant Cost?
Everything You Need To Know About Beard Transplant?
Why do you lose hair?
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