Alopecia isn't a life-threatening illness, but it can still be very depressing and stressful. Always keep in mind that you have alopecia, alopecia does not have you. Even if you lose all of your hair, it may grow back. If it doesn't, there are a variety of options to hide your hair loss and protect your scalp.
This transformation is painful, but you’re not falling apart; you’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful. So, love yourself the way you are!!!
What is Alopecia?
An autoimmune condition called alopecia makes your hair fall out, frequently in clumps around the size and shape of a quarter. The amount of hair loss is different in everyone. Some people only lose it in a few spots. A few individuals lose a lot.
Sometimes, hair grows back but falls out again later. In others, hair grows back for good. Around 147 million people are affected by alopecia globally. In the majority of cases, loss of hair occurs from small patches, which if untreated or unnoticed might lead to further complications.
Sudden hair loss may occur from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, face and other parts of the body as well. This condition can even lead to permanent hair loss which is called alopecia universalis and it can prevent hair from growing back.
Let's dive in to discover the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments of alopecia.
Types of Alopecia
There are several types of alopecia and each type is characterized by the extent of hair loss and various other symptoms.
1. Alopecia areata
The main characteristic of this condition is one or more small patches of hair loss on the skin or body. If this condition is overlooked or untreated then it may lead to alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis.
2. Alopecia totalis
This condition involves complete loss of hair from the scalp.
3. Alopecia universalis
In this type of alopecia, apart from losing hair from the scalp, the person loses all the hair on the face.
4. Ophiasis alopecia
In this skin disease, hair loss follows a band along the sides and lower back of the scalp.
What are the Causes of Alopecia?
It is an autoimmune disease and this develops when your immune system starts assuming healthy cells as foreign substances and starts fighting against them. In alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles and eventually, these follicles decrease in size and stop producing hair, leading to hair loss.
The exact cause behind it is still unknown, but the researchers have seen that family history, genetics and the surrounding environment might play a role in causing this autoimmune disorder.
Symptoms of Alopecia
One of the main symptoms of alopecia is hair loss. Hair loss may occur from the scalp, eyebrows, face, eyelashes and some other parts of the body. Some people lose hair in a few places while some face loss of hair at many spots.
The loss of hair can be sudden, developing in a few days or a period of a few weeks. Before the loss of hair, there is a sense of itching and burning in the affected area. If the hair follicle is not destroyed then hair can be regrown in such areas, but if it is damaged then hair loss is permanent.
Alopecia can also affect the fingernails and toenails and these changes are used to find out the breakout of this disease.
How to Treat Alopecia?
There is no cure for alopecia, but there are some treatments which can slow down future hair loss or help in regrowing hair quickly. The condition is difficult to predict and for some people, this disease might even get severe after a proper treatment. If you suffer from alopecia, you can try the following:
1. There are various topical agents present in the market which can be applied on the scalp to stimulate hair growth. For example, minoxidil can be used twice a day and is considered highly safe, but it can take years to see results.
To learn more about minoxidil, click here!
2. Corticosteroid creams, lotions and ointments can be used to prevent inflammation of hair follicles.
3. Steroid injections are common for treating patchy alopecia and to promoting hair growth on bald spots. These are minute injections which inject steroids into the affected part of the skin.
4. Oral treatments like cortisone tablets are sometimes used for treating alopecia, but they may have many side effects, so their use should be minimal.
5. Immunosuppressants can also be used because they work by suppressing the immune system’s response, but their use should also be judicious because of the related side effects.
6. Light therapy also known as photochemotherapy involves radiation treatment with a combination of UV rays and oral medication.
- There are various home remedies available for treating alopecia. It is seen that people with alopecia prefer rubbing their scalp with onion juice or garlic juice, cooled green tea, almond oil, honey or coconut milk on the scalp.
- Some people also use alternative treatments like acupuncture, aromatherapy, and microneedling for promoting hair regrowth on the scalp.
- Use of anti-inflammatory diets also known as autoimmune protocol, which mainly includes meat and green vegetables.
- Herbal supplements such as ginseng, green tea and saw palmetto are even used for alopecia treatment.
All these alternative treatments are not clinically tested, so their effectiveness is not known. So, it is highly necessary to take the advice of a doctor before going for any sort of supplement.
The effectiveness of each treatment varies from person to person. Some would not require any treatment because their hair grows back and some, even after a treatment won't show any result.
Unlocking Nature's Secrets: Alopecia Areata Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurveda offers treatments for alopecia areata, but scientific evidence is limited. Ayurvedic approaches may include Panchakarma, herbal remedies like Bhringraj and Amla, scalp massages with herbal oils, and dietary and lifestyle modifications. Consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or dermatologist for personalized advice.
The management of alopecia can be problematic. Don't despair despite the limited preventative options available due to the unidentified cause. As soon as you notice even moderate symptoms, take the required precautions straight immediately and shield your hair from heat and dust.
Since this typically occurs in your teens, it might also have an impact on your physical appearance, which easily could result in an emotional breakdown. But keep in mind that this condition is not fatal and could even be temporary because hair can sometimes regrow on its own without needing to be treated. Before incorporating any new therapy in your hair routine, it's crucial to see a doctor because many of them have negative effects.
Q. What are the signs of alopecia areata?
Ans. Sudden hair falls out in small patches on the scalp are the early signs of occurrence of alopecia and if it is left unnoticed then, these small patches may connect to form a larger visible spot. Some changes in fingernails and toenails are also seen at the onset of this disease.
Q. Is alopecia contagious?
Ans. Alopecia is the most common form of hair loss and it is not contagious, which means it cannot be transmitted from the person who is suffering from this disease.
Q. What is the best treatment for alopecia?
Ans. Minoxidil is the best alopecia areata treatment, which must be used twice daily. It may be used to the beard, eyebrows, and scalp.
Q. What is androgenic alopecia?
Ans. Androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss. It happens gradually, resulting in thinning hair on the top of your head and along the hairline. This condition is influenced by genetic and hormonal factors, particularly dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes your hair follicles to shrink. You can consider treatment options such as medications like minoxidil and finasteride, or hair transplant procedures. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and to discuss suitable treatment options for you.
Q. What is alopecia areata?
Ans. Alopecia areata is a condition where you experience sudden hair loss in round or oval patches on your scalp or body. It happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. The exact cause is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors can contribute. Treatment options include corticosteroid injections, topical medications, and immune-modulating therapies. It's recommended to consult a dermatologist for diagnosis and personalized treatment options.
Q. What causes alopecia areata?
Ans. In alopecia areata, hair loss occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. The exact cause is not fully understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune condition. Genetic factors and triggers like stress and infections may also play a role. Ongoing research aims to uncover more about its underlying causes.