The word stress can drink alarm in most of our hearts and minds. At least in the last decade or the last couple of years, the word stress seems to have broken all records in terms of usage in human mankind. Every other person goes through some kind of stress or the other — it could be physical stress or mental stress. Taking too much stress could lead to several health complications as well. Could lead to irregular blood pressure levels, irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, loss of immunity, mental disorders and the list goes on.
There are a lot of features that come into consideration when it comes to feeling beautiful and confident as a person — and in this list, hair that is lustrous and beautiful has a top spot. Everybody gets attracted to people who have beautiful dense hair, it adds to the overall appearance of a person, isn’t it?
There could be several hair problems that each one of us faces which could lead to a lot of hair damage and hair fall. These problems are connected to the lifestyle that we live, the amount of stress that we take every day, and the nutrition that we feed our body with.
Hair health or scalp health is also something that we all need to look into to lead a healthy life. We are going to talk about one such hair condition called alopecia areata. If you are suffering from severe hair loss in a single patch on your scalp or head, this could certainly be a case of alopecia areata.
What is alopecia areata?
As mentioned earlier alopecia areata is a hair condition that causes a replenishment or fallout in the form of small patches which can be very unnoticeable. And as time goes by all of the small patches could connect and then become noticeable. In most of the alopecia areata cases, the ball patches appear and affect only a certain limited area. And in most cases the hair also grows back within 12 months, however, there is a certain percentage of people for whom this problem could last forever and become more severe leading to complete baldness or even total loss of body hair. This sudden loss of hair can occur in different regions as well such as on Skype, eyelashes, eyebrows, face, and other parts of the body. It can also recover after a few years. If this condition is neglected and not treated upon, it could lead to the prevention of hair growing back on one’s body. Please note that hair loss and hair regrowth significantly depends on one person to another. And currently, there is absolutely no form of cure when it comes to alopecia areata; however, one can find several treatments that could help hair to grow back quickly and also prevent any future hair loss. Let’s read and understand more about this condition or alopecia areata.
Causes of alopecia areata
The condition of alopecia areata is a result of an autoimmune reaction. This simply means that the human body’s immune system incorrectly carries out attacks on its own body’s cells. And in this case of alopecia areata, the body cells attack the hair follicles especially the hair follicles present on the scalp. A lot of genetic factors also play a vital role in the severity of this condition for those who are under the age of 30. Nearly 40% of people younger than the age limit of 30 suffer from alopecia areata. The body also prevents the hair formation cycle of the body to function normally. Certain biopsies of affected skin also show how immune lymphocytes penetrate the hair bulb of hair follicles. Here is a list of certain autoimmune conditions that alopecia areata is associated with:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Down syndrome
Health experts also believe that certain episodes of alopecia areata can be triggered by severe stress as well. It is said that nearly 60% of humans suffer from alopecia areata and experience their first episode of hair loss before they turn 20. However, this is usually followed by hair regrowth. Now let’s look at certain symptoms of alopecia areata.
Symptoms of alopecia areata
One of the most common symptoms of alopecia areata is that one will start noticing small oval or round patches of baldness on their scalp. The area of this bald skin is very normal and smooth.
Some of them also suffer from mild tingling, itching, burning, or a tenderness sensation in the affected areas. Some even observe certain abnormalities on the surface of their fingernails such as tiny dense, superficial splitting, groups, or even redness. In some severe and rare cases of alopecia areata, hair loss can occur on the entire scalp or the entire body, this includes eyebrows, beard, eyelashes, underarm hair, pubic hair, etc. another symptom could be a very dramatic thinning of scalp hair. Loss of hair over the entire body is called alopecia Universalis.
Alopecia areata in the case of males
This condition can occur in both women and men, but hair loss is more likely to be significant in the cases of males. This is also because men are most likely to have a family history when it comes to hair loss. They experience hair loss not just on the scalp but also on the chest, back, and even face.
Alopecia areata in the case of females
It is said that females are more likely to develop this hair condition when compared to males, however, the reason for the answer to this is not clear yet. The hair loss in the case of females occurs on the scalp, eyebrows, and lashes as well.
The different types of alopecia areata
Each type of alopecia areata is characterized by taking into consideration the extent of hair loss and other symptoms that a person is experiencing. Each of these types has its treatment and prognosis.
Patchy alopecia areata: this type has a characteristic where one or more patches of hair loss are seen on the skin or body and they are called in the size of coins. If this type is not treated then it could lead to becoming alopecia totalis or alopecia Universalis.
Alopecia totalis: this is the time where one can see hair loss across the whole scalp.
Alopecia Universalis: In this type, in addition to losing hair over the scalp area, people also tend to lose all of the hair on the entire face, eyebrows, and eyelashes. There are chances of losing body hair as well.
Ophiasis alopecia: In this type, hair loss is followed by a band along the sides and also the lower back of the scalp.
Diffuse alopecia areata: in this particular type, one can figure if it is the male pattern or a female pattern hair loss. A sudden and unexpected thinning of hair occurs all over the scalp and not just in one particular patch or area.
Treatment of alopecia areata
As mentioned in the beginning, there is no known cure for this condition. However, there are several treatments that one can try to slow down any future hair loss or help hair grow back again. The different kinds of medical treatments are:
Topical agents: There are certain medications that one can rub onto the scalp to stimulate hair growth. And most of these medications are over-the-counter ones and do not require any prescription:
- Minoxidil: it is an OTC that can be applied to the scalp, beard, I Brose twice a day. It is considered to be relatively safe and one needs to wait for almost a year to see visible results.
- Anthralin: this is a drug that is made to irritate the skin so that it spurs hair growth.
- Corticosteroid creams: examples of these include forms, pens, lotions which are made to work by decreasing the inflammation present in the hair follicles.
- Topical immunotherapy: this is a technique wherein a chemical is applied onto the skin to spark an allergic rash reaction. This ends up inducing new hair growth within 6 months.
Injections: certain steroid injections are given to treat mind patchy alopecia areata and helps hair grow back.
Oral treatments: Cortisone tablets are given to the patients after consulting a professional.
Light therapy: this is also known as phototherapy or photochemotherapy. It’s a radiation treatment that uses a combination of UV light and psoralens.
Natural treatments: people also prefer to opt for natural treatments for alopecia areata like aromatherapy, probiotics, acupuncture, eating supplements that have zinc and biotin, etc.
We recommend that you consult a doctor before jumping into any confusion or treatment for your alopecia areata.