Life isn't easy. For some of us sudden hair loss can make matters even worse. Whether you're a man or a woman, suffering from alopecia areata can definitely hurt your confidence levels and affect your social life. So in order to provide you with a basic understanding of the condition, we've compiled below some information that we hope you find helpful. Mind you we are not doctors, so if you're experiencing any of the symptoms, always safer to go see a doctor rather than google your way out of it.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is characterised by hair loss in small, coin-sized patches on the scalp affecting mostly pigmented hair. Sometimes the hair loss is diffused causing an overall thinning of the scalp hair. It can occur at any age and can also affect the whole scalp or even the entire body. The hair loss takes place due to inflammation. While the cause is unknown, it is thought that the white blood cells in the body are pushed to attack the cells in the hair follicles believing them to be foreign objects, causing them to shrink and dramatically suppress or stop hair production. And to everyone's surprise, there is actually little scientific evidence linking stress to alopecia areata, with the link likely being coincidental.
Good news is that the hair is very likely to regrow within a year without treatment, with growth starting at the centre of the patch and thickening and gaining colour over time. Nevertheless, the episode may repeat itself in the future and the wider the area of hair loss, the less likely it is to regrow. This would be the case where the loss affects the entire scalp or the body as well as the scalp.
There seems to be a genetic predisposition to alopecia areata so if a close family member has it, your chances of developing it increase.
What are the symptoms?
In the scalp itself, some may experience a tingling sensation and reddening of the skin in the balding section, though the underlying skin should overall be unscarred. You will notice the presence of what are termed 'exclamation point hairs' which are basically hairs which are narrower along the length closer to the base resembling an exclamation point. These can be surrounding the bald patches and are more fragile, tending to pull out more easily.
Other symptoms may be seen in your nails, which tend to become thin and split, contain white spots or develop small pits.
What can you do to stop it?
Unfortunately, there is no cure to alopecia. As mentioned, if your hair loss affects a small patch of hair then it is likely that the hair will grow back without needing to do much to it.
Nevertheless, it is advised that you protect the area by using sunscreen against sun exposure and use hats or scarves to keep the area warm. For guys unfortunately it will be easier to cope since they can just shave the whole thing. However, for us ladies that option might be out of the cards for several reasons.
Yet you will find online a myriad of people on online forums and Youtube describing their success with homemade treatments such as rubbing onion or garlic juice to the section or using rosemary oil, which due to being natural treatments are unlikely to cause any harm in trying. Others resort to alternative treatments such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, though we cannot attest to their efficacy.
If a year has passed by and that section of hair has not grown back, it may be best to visit a doctor if you kept delaying it, since they will be best placed to recommend you treatments that may aid in the hair regrowth process. If all fails, just remember that hair is just hair at the end of the day and that You are Beautiful with and without it.
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*Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.*