Alopecia areata is a condition that causes areas of baldness in areas throughout the scalp. While this condition can be temporary it is very frustrating for those who have it. About four percent of the population has alopecia areata. While it can effect both men and women of all ethnic groups it is most likely to occur between the ages of twenty and fifty.
Alopecia areata looks like bald patches with little hairs surrounding the areas that look like exclamation points. They have a bulb at the end, thicker at the top getting thinner towards the end. A sign the alopecia is very active is seeing many of these hairs. It is important to note that sometimes these hairs are not noticeable if the thinning area is spread throughout the entire scalp.
Hair loss can be temporary but it can recur and rarely, it can be permanent. The bald patches may grow or overlap causing total hair loss, or alopecia totatlis. The hair loss can also effect hair on your face such as a beard or eyebrows.
It is thought that alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks the hair cells. Most cases are brought on by an accident, illness, stressful event or shock. Genetics play a role as well, if someone in your family suffers from alopecia areata you may also be predisposed to the condition. Often the hair loss disorder is more common if you suffer from other illnesses such as pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease or ulcerative colitis.
Alopecia areata can spontaneously resolve itself, sometimes within a year. There are treatments available that help bring the condition into remission. These treatments include corticosteroid injections that suppress your body’s immune system so that it won’t attack your hair follicles. Also, there are topical treatments like topical corticosteroids which work in a similar way to the injections. Studies have not proven that the topical corticosteroids are as effective as the injections.
Occasionally, ultra violet rays are used to trick your hair into growing. The UV rays inflame the scalp the way a sunburn does. This makes the cells start to repair the damaged skin on the scalp which can help to grow your hair. Too much UV exposure can be hazardous to your health so be sure to contact your doctor regarding your treatment of alopecia areata.
While there is no cure for alopecia areata, it often resolves on its own. For help in stimulating hair growth, stop into Images International for a free consultation where we can also offer temporary solutions to address your hair loss. With this two pronged approach we can’t wait to give you your hair back! Call (248) 540-0900 to set up an appointment.