What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can be unnoticeable. These patches may connect, however, and then become noticeable. The condition develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
Sudden hair loss may occur on the scalp, and in some cases the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face, as well as other parts of the body. It can also develop slowly and recur after years between instances.
The condition can result in total hair loss, called alopecia universalis, and it can prevent hair from growing back. When hair does grow back, it’s possible for the hair to fall out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies from person to person.
There’s currently no cure for alopecia areata. However, there are treatments that may help hair grow back more quickly and that can prevent future hair loss, as well as unique ways to cover up the hair loss. Resources are also available to help people cope with stress related to hair loss.
You can rub medications into your scalp to help stimulate hair growth. A number of medications are available, both over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription:
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available OTC and applied twice daily to the scalp, eyebrows, and beard. It’s relatively safe, but it can take a year to see results. There is only evidence that it’s useful for people with limited alopecia areata.
Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp) is a drug that irritates the skin in order to spur hair regrowth.
Corticosteroid creams such as clobetasol (Impoyz), foams, lotions, and ointments are thought to work by decreasing inflammation in the hair follicle.
Topical immunotherapy is a technique in which a chemical like diphencyprone is applied to the skin to spark an allergic rash. The rash, which resembles poison oak, may induce new hair growth within six months, but you’ll have to continue the treatment to maintain the regrowth.
Steroid injections are a common option for mild, patchy alopecia to help hair grow back on bald spots. Tiny needles inject the steroid into the bare skin of the affected areas.
The treatment has to be repeated every one to two months to regrow hair. It doesn’t prevent new hair loss from occurring.
Cortisone tablets are sometimes used for extensive alopecia, but due to the possibility of side effects, you should discuss this option with a doctor.
Oral immunosuppressants, like methotrexate and cyclosporine, are another option you can try. They work by blocking the immune system’s response, but they can’t be used for a long period of time due to the risk of side effects, such as high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, and an increased risk of serious infections and a type of cancer called lymphoma.
Light therapy is also called photochemotherapy or phototherapy. It’s a type of radiation treatment that uses a combination of an oral medication called psoralens and UV light.
Some people with alopecia areata choose alternative therapies to treat the condition. These may include:
low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
vitamins, like zinc and biotin
aloe vera drinks and topical gels
onion juiceTrusted Source rubbed onto the scalp
essential oils like tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint
other oils, like coconut, castor, olive, and jojoba
an “anti-inflammatory” diet, also known as the “autoimmune protocol,” which is a restrictive diet that mainly includes meats and vegetables
herbal supplements, such as ginseng, green tea, Chinese hibiscus, and saw palmetto
Most alternative therapies haven’t been tested in clinical trials, so their effectiveness in treating hair loss isn’t known. #hairfallsolution #hairfalltips #hairfapltip