When we think of skin conditions, we tend to think about things like sun damage, dermatitis or birth marks, but many of us don’t always consider the many different issues that affect the scalp and hair. Alopecia Areata is one of those skin conditions that many of us might not know much about, but can be very bothersome to those who endure it.
What is Alopecia Areata?
For those who aren’t familiar with Alopecia Areata, it is a hair loss condition that happens when the immune system attacks the hair follicles where hair growth starts. There is no definite reason as to why the immune system goes after the follicles and allows the hair loss to happen, but it is most common in younger people.
Those who experience this type of hair loss with notice it coming out in clumps and leaving the scalp with round patches. Short stubby sections can also occur because sometimes instead of the hair falling directly out of the scalp, it breaks off near the scalp causing spiky patches. While losing hair this way is most common for those who experience Alopecia Areata, there are other symptoms as well. Some people actually experience complete hair loss on their scalp.
Does the Hair Grow Back?
Yes. Hair will grow back after it falls out of the scalp, however it can grow back a little differently than before. Many people who suffer from Alopecia Areata find that when the hair does grow back that it is much thinner and fine, and sometimes is not the same color as the original strands. And while most people find that their hair can grow back, there is a small percentage of people who are not able to grow back their hair, which of course, is very frustrating and at that time may need to discuss some other treatment options with their doctor.
Who Gets Alopecia Areata?
There are a few reasons why a person might suffer from Alopecia Areata and the main reason is that they have a family history of it. But you don’t necessarily have to have this type of condition run in the family to get it, but instead might just have an autoimmune disease that brings this type of hair loss condition on.
Those who have allergies, have had this condition since they were young or have issues with fingernails or toenails like abnormal shape or thickness, can find that they might have more hair loss with Alopecia Areata than those who do not possess these traits.
Do I Have Alopecia Areata?
For those who are concerned that they might have Alopecia Areata, it is essential that you speak with your doctor about it. You will be given several tests while in the doctor’s office, such as blood test and/or hair scalp analysis. Getting a proper consultation with your doctor is key to help treat this condition. Not only will your doctor be able to take tests to determine whether you have this or another hair loss issue, but they will be able to determine what is the best plan of attack by learning about your family and medical history along with understanding your hair loss pattern – such as how often it falls out, what the patches look like and so on.
How is Alopecia Areata Treated?
Having Alopecia Areata can be very frustrating and upsetting as no one wants to endure hair loss or thinning hair. And while this type of condition cannot be cured, there are treatments out there that can help. A common treatment for many is corticosteroids injections. A patient will go to the doctor every few weeks to get injections of this steroid right into the scalp to help with hair growth. Of course, some may not feel comfortable with getting injected with steroids into the scalp so there are other treatments to try as well, including topical medications that can be applied directly to the scalp. Hair growth treatments like Rogaine can also be used on many patients and have provided solid results for many with Alopecia Areata. Ultraviolet A light can be used on the scalp too to help bring back the hair, which is usually paired with a medication that can be rubbed onto the scalp. Your doctor will be able to pair the right treatment for you and your skin’s needs, as everyone is different and those with more sensitive skin might want to steer clear from harsher treatments that will only irritate the scalp.
While Alopecia Areata can be treated, some tend to leave it alone because the hair usually grows back on its own within a year. There are many different ways to cover up the bald spots and that can be discussed with your doctor as well.
Alopecia Areata doesn’t affect your health and won’t cause any other problems to your body besides hair loss so it’s nothing too scary. However, it can be a nuisance and can really make the person feel shy about their appearance. No one wants to go around with bald spots or hair loss because it makes them feel insecure, but with this type of condition, rest assure that there are ways to go about treating it, and getting your hair back so you’re feeling like your old self again. Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing Alopecia Areata or want to get tested for it, and you will be on a road to recovery very soon.
What is alopecia areata? What causes alopecia areata? Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/70956.php