What is Alopecia?
10 / 08 / 19

What is Alopecia?

A variety of factors can cause hair loss. Diet, environment, and health issues may all play a role when someone starts losing their hair. The dictionary defines alopecia as "the partial or complete absence of hair where it usually grows." The term Alopecia is used by the medical community to refer to several forms of hair loss, the most common being Alopecia Areata.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, affects more than 6 million people in the United States. An autoimmune disease causes the immune system to attack the body's tissues. When someone has alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair to stop growing, then break off and fall out.

Alopecia Areata can manifest itself in varying degrees of severity. The disease can range from small, isolated patches that may regrow hair, to extensive hair loss on the scalp, called Alopecia Totalis, or hair loss on the entire body called Alopecia Universalis. People whose autoimmune systems are compromised by another autoimmune disease such as Thyroid disease, Vitiligo, or Eczema, have a higher chance of also developing Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is a complex condition that is affected by many factors. The medical community is unsure of what triggers the immune system to attack healthy hair follicles. It may be triggered by something inside the body, possibly a virus or bacteria, or an environmental factor, or a combination of both.

Science and the medical community have no known cure for Alopecia Areata. The condition is not necessarily permanent because when the disease is active, the hair follicles remain alive. Since the hair follicles are still viable, this means that your hair can grow back again, even if the disease has been active for an extended period or you have more than 50% hair loss.

What Are The Symptoms of Alopecia Areata?

Every form of Alopecia Areata results in hair loss of some type. The most common symptom is one or more patches of hair loss on the scalp that happens over a few weeks as the hair falls out. While these patches most commonly occur on the scalp, they may also occur on the face or other areas of the body.

Everyone who has Alopecia Areata has a different experience, and the disease is unpredictable. There is no way to determine how severe or long-lasting the condition will be, or what the pattern of hair loss and regrowth will be.

People may notice a burning or itching sensation before the hair falls out. The skin in the affected area may feel smooth or have some short hairs left. Many people find that the remaining hair on their scalp and other areas of the body may also thin or fall out.

Some people also have issues with their fingernails as a result of Alopecia Areata. These symptoms may include small pits or dents on their fingernails, roughness, red spots, or cracks, and even the nail pulling away from the finger.
While these are some of the common symptoms of Alopecia Areata, the only sure way to know if you have the disease is to consult with a hair loss specialist.

Are There Treatment Options for Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia Areata is different than other skin conditions because it does not cause redness, rashes, hives, or severe itching. Because of the hair loss and exposed skin, many people take precautions by covering the skin to protect from sunburn and the elements. Covering the skin protects from the sun, and not having hair on your scalp also makes it more sensitive to the cold.

New Image Hair Clinic has treatment options that can help you deal with alopecia or any hair loss. For many people, the application of a topical medication combined with laser treatments will stimulate the hair follicles and encourage new growth. Non-surgical hair grafts, hair extensions, custom wigs, and toppers are other popular solutions for dealing with alopecia.

A variety of factors cause hair loss, and New Image Hair Clinic offers many proven and effective options to meet the needs and desires of any client. If you are experiencing hair loss from alopecia, or any other reason, contact New Image Hair Clinic today to schedule a free consultation.