Alopecia areata is a very common condition of hair loss. In this article, I want to share its treatment methods, why it happened, its conditions, how it happened, and most important myths about it.
Generally, you will see patchy hair loss in this condition. For more clarity on what it looks like you can check the image. Basically, some coin-shaped hair loss happened in it. You don’t feel any itchiness or burning. Generally, it happened in the scalp area. There is no proper place for this disease. It can happen in any hairy area. Simply, you can also say it’s kind of a hair loss.
What Do You Mean By Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata causes hair to fall out in patches as the immune system attacks the hair follicles. This condition is prevalent in the United States, affecting approximately 7 million individuals, and can occur in people of any age, ethnicity, or sex.
It may start in childhood or adulthood and varies from person to person. Hair loss can occur in clumps, often the size and shape of a quarter, and the amount of hair loss differs among individuals. While some individuals may lose hair in just a few spots, others may lose a significant amount of hair. Hair may grow back and fall out again later, or it may grow back for good.
There are several types of alopecia areata, including alopecia areata totalis, which results in complete hair loss on the head, and alopecia areata universalis, which causes hair loss all over the body. Diffuse alopecia areata, on the other hand, causes sudden thinning of hair instead of patches, and ophiasis alopecia areata leads to hair loss in a band shape around the sides and back of the head.
Research Data On Ethnicity And Race
Different populations have varying levels of disease burden when it comes to alopecia areata. Research findings indicate that African American and Hispanic females may have a higher lifetime occurrence of the condition compared to white females, while Asian individuals may have a lower risk.
However, researchers have conducted few studies to investigate the patterns and causes of alopecia, and they have not explored the pathophysiological factors extensively. Researchers need to conduct further studies that consider factors such as environmental, behavioral, genetic, socioeconomic, and healthcare access.
According to a 2020 study that analyzed over 11,000 cases in the National Alopecia Areata Registry from 2000 to 2016, the approximate odds ratios for an alopecia areata diagnosis for various races, with white people as the reference group, were 1.77 for African Americans, 1.27 for other races including Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, 1 for white people, 0.9 for Hispanic people, and 0.4 for Asian people.
A 2018 analysis of over 1,100 women who reported a diagnosis of alopecia areata in the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II found that Black women had odds of 2.72 and 5.48, respectively, compared to 1.00 for white women. The NHSII showed that Hispanic women had odds of 1.94 compared to white women, while no significant differences were found based on the NHS.
Treatments are available to slow down future hair loss or help hair grow back more quickly in alopecia areata, but there is no known cure. Rubbing topical agents into the scalp to stimulate hair growth is a common method, with minoxidil, anthralin, corticosteroid creams, and topical immunotherapy among the medications that can be used.
Mild, patchy alopecia can treat with steroid injections. While cortisone tablets and oral immunosuppressants like methotrexate and cyclosporine can be used for extensive alopecia, although they may have side effects.
Light therapy, laser treatment, and natural treatments like acupuncture, aromatherapy, and changes to diet are other options. However, the effectiveness of each treatment varies from person to person, and some people may not see improvement despite potentially trying every option. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before trying any treatment or supplement.
Alternative therapies are chosen by some people with alopecia areata for natural treatment. However, it’s important to note that these therapies are experimental and haven’t been tested in clinical trials, lacking solid medical or scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness.
Natural and alternative treatments include acupuncture, aromatherapy, vitamins and supplements, such as zinc and biotin, essential oils and other oils like coconut, tea tree, and castor oil, onion juice rubbed onto the scalp, and probiotics.
Some evidence indicates that changes in diet may positively affect alopecia areata. Those with an autoimmune condition may opt for an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce the body’s autoimmune response and prevent further hair loss episodes.
This type of diet comprises foundational foods, including fruits and vegetables like blueberries, nuts, seeds, broccoli, beets, and lean meats such as wild-caught salmon. Some studies suggest that a Mediterranean diet may also positively impact alopecia areata.
A balanced diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meat is beneficial to overall health for many reasons, not only for reducing inflammation. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before trying any herbal or vitamin supplement as the FDA doesn’t require supplement makers to prove their products’ safety.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the effectiveness of each treatment varies from person to person. Some may not need any treatment as their hair grows back on its own, while others may not see any improvement despite trying various treatment options. It’s possible to try more than one treatment, and hair regrowth may only be temporary, with the hair growing back and falling out again.
Causes Of Alopecia Areata
The cause of alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which leads to hair loss. The structures from which hairs grow are called hair follicles.
Possible risk factors for alopecia areata include genetics, certain health conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, thyroid disease, or vitiligo, and vitamin D deficiency. Nivolumab-induced alopecia areata is a condition that occurs in people who are being treated with the cancer drug nivolumab.
The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss, which usually occurs in patches on the scalp that are often several centimeters or less. Hair loss may also occur on other parts of the face, such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the body.
Alopecia totalis, which refers to the loss of all hair on the scalp, or alopecia universalis, which refers to the loss of all hair on the entire body, are uncommon but possible occurrences for some people. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies greatly from person to person, and the hair may grow back at any time and then fall out again.
Alopecia Areata Based On Gender
Both men and women can experience alopecia areata, with some sources suggesting that men may be more prone to it than women, while others state the opposite.
Hair loss from alopecia areata can occur not only on the scalp, but also on the face, chest, and back. Unlike male-pattern baldness, which causes gradual thinning of hair all over, this condition can cause patchy and diffuse hair loss.
Unlike female-pattern hair loss, which causes gradual thinning of hair that covers a large area, alopecia areata may be limited to a small area. Hair loss can occur suddenly, and the affected area may gradually expand, leading to more hair loss.
Alopecia Areata In Children
Alopecia areata can develop in children, although it typically appears between the ages of 25 and 36. Although there is some hereditary component to the condition, it is not always passed down from parents to children.
Children with alopecia areata may also experience nail defects, such as pitting or lesions, which can also be seen in adults. According to the NAAF, children under the age of 5 usually do not experience a significant emotional impact from hair loss, but after age 5, it can be distressing for them.
Parents should consult with a pediatrician if they notice signs of stress or depression in their child and find supportive resources, such as recommending a counselor experienced in working with children.
Alopecia Areata Prognosis
Each person’s prognosis for alopecia areata is unique and it is unpredictable. The autoimmune condition can cause lifelong episodes of hair loss and other symptoms, or some people may only experience hair loss once in their lifetime. Recovery also varies, with some experiencing full regrowth of hair and others not. In some cases, additional hair loss may occur.
Several factors increase the risk of a negative outlook for people with alopecia areata, including an early onset age, extensive hair loss, nail changes, a family history of the condition, and having multiple autoimmune conditions.
Ways To Manage Alopecia Areata
People with alopecia areata may face emotional challenges, especially when hair loss affects their entire scalp, leading to feelings of isolation and depression. However, seeking support can be beneficial. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation can connect you with people who understand your experience.
It’s important to remember that more than 5 million people in the United States have alopecia areata, and there are lifestyle changes that can help cope with the condition. If you need help with hair accessories and products like wigs, eyelash extensions, or eyebrow stencils, the NAAF maintains an online shop. Wig companies like Godiva’s Secret Wigs also offer online videos and tutorials to assist with styling and care.
New wig technologies such as vacuum wigs made from silicon and a suction base have made it possible for people with alopecia to even swim while wearing their wigs, although these wigs can be expensive. If hair loss affects your eyebrows, there are other options to consider, such as microblading, an eyebrow pencil, and eyebrow tattoos.
Microblading is a semipermanent tattooing technique that fills in the eyebrows using hairlike strokes and lasts from 1 to 3 years. Makeup tutorials on YouTube can teach you how to fill in and style your eyebrows. Both women and men who have lost their eyebrows can learn how to fill them in with real-life video tutorials.
Eyelash extensions are difficult to apply when you don’t have any lashes of your own, but there are some online tutorials on how to apply them.
The region where Alopecia Areata impact
Some most common regions on beard region, sometimes on the mustache also, sometimes on the eyebrow also. Most of the regions where you can see like on the front then you go o the doctor very easily. But sometimes when it is in back areas so you don’t know about it. Mostly when the barber tells you the diagnosis. That you have some kind of hair loss on the backside. This is very common barber definitely tells you some treatment also.
So from there you can know about the diagnosis, and catch the disease. After that, you can simply go to the doctor.
The beginning stage of Alopecia Areata:
In the beginning, it starts with small patches. But these patches can be multiple also. They can be a single patch or double patches also. Multiple patches are also be there in different areas also, on scalp & also on other areas.
Type of Alopecia areata
When it covers a particular zone completely like the scalp so this we called “Alopecia Totalis”. So, Alopecia totalis is also a part of Alopcia areata. If this condition spread in your whole body so it is called Alopecia Universalis. Basically, in Universalis, there is no hair on the whole body. But if the disappearance is on the face only so it’s Alopecia totalis.
Why Does It Happen?
See, Alopecia areata is basically an autoimmune condition. It means that your immunity goes against its own cells. And here, against which cell your immunity is going. It is Hair Follicle. It works against the hair-making cells.
Now the question is why is the autoantibody made? See, so much science is behind it. Still, there are many questions that are need to answer now also. And why did this happen?
Yes, there are several important factors also that are so deep into the science.
Simply this disease is an autoimmune condition. And the cells in your autoimmunity are bacteria and viruses. It happened against them. Those cells are against their own cells.
Links or Association
This disease can happen with other autoimmune conditions like a thyroid problem. Or collagen vascular disease. It is a very big group in which your vascular part of the body is involved. It can be associated with these also common with the Down Syndrome. Alopecia areata can happen with them also. This condition can be associated with any condition of stress, anxiety, or depression.
How to do Diagnosis
Check through doctor
Diagnosis is clear because a doctor can tell you by seeing. He can tell you the stage of this also. So that you can cure it as soon as possible. He can clearly tell you this is Alopecia areata. They can also do some tests like skin biopsy.
Basically in a skin biopsy, a light skin piece is taken in that area. And it is sent for the report. There it can confirm its clinical diagnosis. No more tests happen for this. But some test happens which are to plant your therapy or for other conditions. Any link with those conditions, any link with them, to see them some tests happen.
So doctor definitively does the blood and biopsy test .
Treatment of Alopecia Areata
Its treatment is very simple. And if you have 1 or 2 patches. Then the doctor gives you only topical medications. It Means tube-type medicine. If you get multiple medicines or your Alopecia is totalis or Universalis. In that condition, a doctor gives you some oral medications also.
Basically’ the theory behind it is that your immunity gets slightly suppressed in it. You don’t have to take medicine by yourself. Because if your immunity got more suppressed so it is also not okay for your body. And if your immunity doesn’t suppress that much then this is not going well.
So basically, a doctor makes your balance related to your immunity. So please don’t take the medicine by yourself. You may have seen that this doctor has given this medicine. My close one also has this problem as he has also taken but maybe your plan is different for that doctor.
Connect to Dermatologist
So definitely, be concerned with your local dermatologist and always take the treatment from them. I talk about its responsible that how many % it gets correct. See, the best thing about it is that the autoimmunity cells which is the cell policeman of the body. It can’t destroy this hair follicle completely. It means the chances of recovering are very high. In general, it is seen that 1 or 2 patches can be correct automatically. And if talk about the complete treatment course. So roughly we can see a 99% chance that your disease cure. ( that’s why we should know Important things about Alopecia Areata) But it takes some to cure, roughly it takes 2-4 months. And yes the biggest thing is reoccurrence.
What happened is that when you take medicine and your one patch gets cured. After some days that patch can come again or can come to a nearby area or another part. So you always have to be under doctors’ supervision. Whenever your visit any clinic. First, you also need to understand the disease also.
Must focus on:
Generally, we say that as long as you take medicine. You are fine. But when you leave the medicine, then this disease can return. To understand this thing. See the doctor who will give you 2-5 minutes. He/She won’t be able to tell you entire things. But the discussion with the doctor remembers always. Do it close follow-up. So the chances of recovering from this disease are very good.
Basically, cases of Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis are very few. Alopecia Universalis cases are less than 1%. So if I will search Alopecia then photos of Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia universal come up. So don’t be afraid by seeing it. Because it is In very few people. And I hope if you have this problem then it will cure quickly.
See, The treatment is very simple. You can easily cure form this and always be in contact with your, doctor. Indian dermatologists are the best dermatologists in the world. So you can trust them. Because they will do their best for your disease.
The myth about Alopecia Areata
It is very important to clear the myth. Because what happens is that are so many people to cure skin disease. And doctor’s turn comes in the last. We need to believe them. Because they are respective or very close to us. Or so any other reason. The thing you must follow is that listen to everyone but choose the right one. The doctor knows better about that particular disease.
1. Is this disease caused by a worm?
See that area looks like any worm has bitten. So this disease doesn’t cause by worms or anything. It is just a disease of the immune system. Which will be okay quickly. So this myth is totally wrong.
2. Related to drug & medicine
I had taken that medicine and this is after that. To remove this from the mind. Alopecia Areata is not a cause or any harmful side effect of any medicine.
3 Is it related to any food?
Definitely not it is not caused by any food. Some people say it applied this or that. Is it happened because of that? It happened because of water. Definitely not, It doesn’t cause by water or any food. It is just an autoimmune condition and the biggest thing is that some people come here after applying something to cure it.
There’s one case in that one guy with that much coconut oil that his scalp was smelling. Too much crust was there, so please don’t apply that much.
4 Onion juice
Some people say this is because of onion juice. And also advised not to use onion juice. Nothing is like that sometimes we apply such a thing on skin that skin burns in that area. After burning the skin the hair roots were not damaged completely yet. And after that burning, they get completely damaged. After that no hair comes so please don’t focus on these such things. Because it is harmful to you only. So in any condition either in it or any condition. Definitely meet the doctor in the early stage. So treatment starts in an early phase.
It will cost less, and the response comes faster. So, this is the complete information on Alopecia areata.