- Alopecia areata is patchy hair loss that happens suddenly on the head or body. It typically begins with one or more round bald patches that may or may not overlap.
Causes of Alopecia Areata :
– Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition. An autoimmune condition develops when the immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign substances. Normally, the immune system defends your body against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.
– If you have alopecia areata, however, your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. Hair follicles are the structures from which hairs grow. The follicles become smaller and stop producing hair, leading to hair loss.
– Researchers don’t know the exact cause of this condition.
– However, it most often occurs in people who have a family history of other autoimmune conditions, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. This is why some scientists suspect that genetics may contribute to the development of alopecia areata.
– They also believe that certain factors in the environment are needed to trigger alopecia areata in people who are genetically predisposed to it.
TYPES OF ALOPECIA AREATA :
Several types of alopecia areata exist. Each type is characterized by the extent of hair loss and other symptoms you may be experiencing. Each type may also have a slightly different treatment and prognosis.
Alopecia areata (patchy) -The main characteristic of this type of alopecia areata is one or more coin-sized patches of hair loss on the skin or body. If this condition expands, it may become alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis.
Alopecia totalis – Alopecia totalis occurs when you have hair loss across the entire scalp.
Alopecia universalis – In addition to losing hair on the scalp, people with this type of alopecia areata also lose all hair on the face — eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s also possible to lose other body hair, including chest, back, and pubic hair.
Diffuse alopecia areata – Diffuse alopecia areata may look a lot like female- or male-pattern hair loss. It results in sudden and unexpected thinning of hair all over the scalp, not in just one area or patch.
Ophiasis alopecia – Hair loss that follows a band along the sides and lower back of the scalp is called ophiasis alopecia.
TREATMENT OF ALOPECIA AREATA:
There is currently no cure for alopecia areata, although there are some forms of treatment that can be suggested by doctors to help hair re-grow more quickly. The most common form of alopecia areata treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. These are mostly commonly administered through local injections, topical ointment application, or orally.
Other medications that can be prescribed that either promote hair growth or affect the immune system include Minoxidil, Anthralin, PRP and Growth Factor Concentration therapy, steroids injections. Micropigmentation is also a type to cover the scalp visible bald. Although some of these may help with the re-growth of hair, they cannot prevent the formation of new bald patches.