Alopecia areata refers to a condition in which the hair of an individual falls out in little patches. This type of fall often remains unnoticeable. When these patches become connected, you might be able to notice them. Your immune system attacks follicles of hair that results in hair loss.
It can cause alopecia areata. The scalp may have a sudden loss of hair and in some cases, it can appear on eyelashes, face, and eyebrows. People may also have it on the other parts of their bodies. This condition can cause complete hair loss which is known as alopecia universalis.
It inhibits the hair from growing again. When the growth of hair occurs again, it is possible that hair fall can recur. The extent of hair loss and growth may differ from person to person. Currently, there is no complete cure available for alopecia areata.
There are treatments that help the hair to grow back fastly. These treatments prevent the loss of hair in the future. Moreover, treatments are available to cover up the loss of hair using unique ways. People can use accessible resources to cope up with the stress related to hair loss.
The condition of alopecia areata is autoimmune. This condition can develop when the immune system of an individual mistakes the normal cells for substances that are foreign. Normally, the immune system works to defend the body against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
In alopecia areata, the human immune system by mistake works to attack certain hair follicles. These are the structures from which your hair grows. The size of these follicles become decreases and they do not produce hair then. It leads to loss of hair.
Researchers do not know the exact reason behind alopecia areata. It commonly appears in people who have a family history of certain immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.
That’s the reason some researchers suspect that the role of genetics is involved in the development of alopecia areata. They reported that certain factors which are present in the surrounding can trigger alopecia areata in individuals who are vulnerable to it genetically.
Hair loss is the core symptom that denotes the presence of alopecia areata. Usually, the fall of hair occurs in small patches on the area of the scalp. The size of these patches may be several centimeters or less. People may have hair loss on the other parts of their face too.
An example of such hair loss is alopecia areata on the beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Some people get hair loss in a few places while others may have it on different body parts. Firstly, you may notice hair clumps in the shower or on your pillow.
If the spots are present on the back area of your head, someone may ask you to pay attention to them. However, certain other health conditions can lead to hair fall in small patches. It may be tough to diagnose alopecia areata alone through one symptom that is hair loss.
People may experience hair loss that can be extensive but such cases are very rare. It indicates certain other types of alopecia like alopecia totalis which is the hair loss that occurs on the area of the scalp and alopecia universalis which refers to hair loss on the whole body.
Doctors may not use these two terms because some people experience the in-between condition. For example, it is possible to completely lose hair on the area of the scalp, arms, and legs but not on the area of the chest. Hair loss that is linked to alopecia areata is unpredictable.
Hair can grow anytime with alopecia areata and may fall out again after growing back. Consult your doctor if you are losing your hair persistently and if you have a family history of other autoimmune diseases. Early treatment can save you from getting serious consequences later on.
Some individuals who have alopecia areata may select alternative therapies in order to treat this condition. These treatments or therapies are mentioned below.
- Low-level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
- Onion Juice
- Aloe Vera drinks
- Topical Gels
- Zinc and biotin
- Essential oils such as rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, and lavender
- Other oils like jojoba, coconut, olive, and castor
- Scalp massage
- An anti-inflammatory diet that is called autoimmune protocol
- Herbal supplements like green tea saw palmetto, and ginseng