September 15, 2022

Alopecia Areata- What It Is And What You Can Do About It


Alopecia is a broad name that encompasses several different types of hair loss, and while alopecia is not contagious, it can be an outward sign of an underlying health condition. For example, alopecia areata, one of the most common types of hair loss, is an autoimmune disorder. Hair loss of any type can have a dramatic and negative effect on your self-esteem and confidence. Today we will attempt to answer your questions about alopecia areata, questions about what it is, its causes, its treatments, and whether or not it can be cured. 

What Is Alopecia Areata?

As was mentioned before, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system begins to attack normal, healthy hair follicles as though they were some foreign substance or harmful microbe that doesn’t belong in the body. The immune system attack injures the hair follicles and interferes with hair growth and causes hair loss. The main symptom of this disorder is patchy areas of hair loss. The loss usually occurs on the scalp, but can also affect the eyebrows, lashes, or any other part of the body. There seems to be a genetic component to alopecia areata as it shows a tendency to run in families. This is the type of hair loss that Jada Pinkett-Smith has. She went public about her experience with alopecia in 2018 which raised awareness for this often misunderstood condition.

Treatable But Not Curable

While there is no cure for alopecia areata, there are treatments that can help. Often the hair loss associated with this condition will come and go, in which case the bald patches will fill in on their own over time. If your hair does not regrow there are topical medications that can be applied to the bald spots to promote hair regrowth and also steroid injections and platelet-rich plasma injections that some studies indicate could be even more effective than steroid treatments. Low-level laser light treatments may be effective as well. Oral medications may also be prescribed. And if those treatments aren’t right for you there are also nonsurgical hair replacement options such as wigs and Dermal Lens hair replacements to consider to give you back a full gorgeous head of hair.

Other Types of Alopecia

Not all types of alopecia are due to an abnormal immune system reaction. Some types of alopecia are due to environmental and lifestyle factors, age, nutritional deficiencies, genetics, and even mental health conditions. Some other types of alopecia include:

Alopecia Totalis- is a more severe form of alopecia areata in which all of the hair is lost from the scalp. Alopecia totalis shares the same cause and is treated in the same way as alopecia areata.

Alopecia Universalis- the most severe form of alopecia areata. With this type, all hair is lost from the entire scalp and body, including the eyelashes and eyebrows. Alopecia Universalis also shares the same cause and treatments as alopecia areata.

Androgenetic Alopecia – is a common type of hair loss that affects both men and women. Men typically experience hair loss in a well-defined pattern that results in an M-shaped receding hairline. In women, the hair thins across the entire head, without the receding hairline. Several genetic and environmental factors play a role in this type of alopecia. Treatment options include those listed for alopecia areata as well as hair transplants.

Alopecia Senilis- hair loss caused by the normal aging process. With this type of hair loss, the hair is lost across the top of the head to just below the crown. The hair around the sides and back is generally unaffected, and this type typically only affects men. Treatments are similar to androgenetic alopecia.

The first step to conquering alopecia and regaining a full head of hair is to have a complete and comprehensive evaluation of your scalp and hair and have a full health and lifestyle history taken to determine the type and cause of your hair loss. Armed with this knowledge our hair loss specialists can determine the best course of treatment to reach your hair restoration goals. Don’t simply accept hair loss as a normal part of life and learn to live with it. Fight back and regain your self-esteem, your confidence, and your hair. 

Our caring hair loss professionals at the Hair Restoration Institute will help you in a discreet and private appointment where we will assess your overall health, your degree of hair loss, your concerns about hair replacement, and your hair replacement goals. Then we will create a customized hair replacement plan to meet your unique needs. Call 612-588-HAIR (4247) for a private, complimentary consultation. You will find us at 8030 Old Cedar Ave S Ste 202 in Bloomington, MN.