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Alopecia areata is a hair loss disorder that is mediated by the immune system. Both males and females of all ages and ethnicities may develop alopecia areata. Any hair-bearing region of the body can be affected. The most common clinical presentations are called alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis. The term alopecia areata is used when there are round to oval patches of hair loss present. Alopecia totalis refers to loss of all scalp hair and alopecia universalis to loss of all scalp and body hair.
The hair loss that occurs in alopecia areata may appear suddenly with no symptoms or there may be mild itching or tingling. Hair fibers usually fall out by their "roots," an event that occurs with normal daily hair loss but in alopecia areata, the numbers of fibers in the loss phase are significantly increased especially in the involved areas. After shedding occurs, regrowth usually does not proceed quickly and the involved areas may remain bald for some time. This is not because the hair follicle has been destroyed but rather either an "arrest" of hair growth or a prolongation of the resting phase in the hair cycle occurs.
Alopecia Areata Causes
The possible causes of alopecia areata are endless, viruses, inoculations, accidents, ill health, shock, periods of extreme stress, medications, a hard knock to the head can all potentially 'trigger' the onset of this condition. An alopecia areata trigger is most likely to be an 'event' of some kind approximately 2-3 months before the onset of the first bald patch. Once established, further triggers may exsaserbate the condition and cause further bald patches or a more rapid expansion of present ones.
Recovery From Alopecia Areata
Most alopecia areata patients are extremely anxious following the discovery of their problem and many become quite hysterical. Once alopecia areata is established, further triggers may exsaserbate the problem - this includes further stress or hysteria regarding the alopecia itself.
Alopecia Areata Treatments
Orthodox medicine largely treats alopecia areata using steroids, steroids and more steroids. Topical steroids are often prescribed initially to suppress the autoimmune reaction locally. Success is limited and suppressing the reaction in a scalp region does not prevent a new bald patch appearing elsewhere. Rarely, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed in high doses but for a short duration due to the risk of side effects. Intralesional corticosteroid injections may be administered just below the epidermis (top layer of skin) where the inflammation is present however, they are quite painful, particularly if it is necessary to cover a large area, again success is limited.
Sehat Scalp and Hair Clinic Alopecia Areata Treatment?
Of all the condition's we see, we believe Alopecia Areata patients need the most care. We start with a consultation lasting around an hour to try and establish what went wrong.
Our treatment regime encompasses three main phases:
Supplements to aid the immune system Alopecia areata is thought to be caused by an autoimmune malfunction. We have found treating alopecia areata in a holistic manner vastly more positive than topical treatment alone.
Topical hair stimulants We use both pharmaceutical and natural hair stimulants. Both have their own merit, pharmaceutical stimulants may be more effective in widespread or longstanding alopecia areata but our natural stimulants are preferred in individuals with sensitive scalps or where hair growth is present but fine.
Electrotherapy may improve hair growth in combination with the above. We use UVA therapy alongside electrotherapeutic vasodilatation. This is normally administered during follow up appointments every 2-4 weeks.
Follow up appointments: Alopecia areata is a physiologically damaging condition and most patients suffer significant anxiety and loss of self esteem. A trichologists role is not only about treatment but physiological support during this process. We allocate a full half hour of one to one time for our follow-up appointments. We examine your scalp thoroughly and update you on the progress but also give you time to talk. Most alopecia areata patients feel encouraged and less anxious when their hair begins to recover - we can even show you your new hair growth using our micro camera. Follow up appointments are important to ensure you are carrying out our suggestions properly to give your hair maximum chance of recovery. We may also change your suggested regime as your hair improves.
Camouflaging Alopecia Areata
It may be necessary to camouflage your alopecia areata patches until your hair has recovered.
Wigs and Hair Pieces
If your Alopecia Areata is extensive, you may feel more comfortable wearing a wig or small hair piece, until your hair recovers.
Alopecia Treatment Success
The success rate is higher in individuals who seek treatment when bald patches begin, than those who have suffered for years. Please be aware that alopecia areata is an extremely unpredictable condition and that even with all of the care, treatment and suggestions we can offer we cannot offer a guarantee of success in every case.