It is common to lose around fifty to hundred strands of hair per day but excessive hair loss with a specific pattern can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia and when you experience patchy hair loss in a circular pattern, the condition is called alopecia areata. It is an autoimmune disorder and occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking the healthy hair follicles. However, with proper treatment dermatologists can help regulate the immune system function resulting in the re-growth of hair. In this article, Dr. Gajanan Jadhao a cosmetologist who practices in a La Densitae hair transplant clinic in Pune, will shed some light on Alopecia areata, its effects, treatments, side effects and frequently asked questions.
Alopecia areata is one of the most widespread causes of hair loss affecting nearly 2 percent of the population at some stage in their lives. About 147 million people across the globe are affected by alopecia areata and have a lifetime risk of 2.1 percent. Additionally, there are several subtypes of alopecia areata namely alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis, diffused alopecia areata and ophiasis. If you are looking for hair loss treatment, you should visit metro cities like Pune to ensure you get the best. To know more about the hair loss doctors in Pune, Click Here.
According to Dr. Gajanan Jadhao, there is a chance you may have alopecia areata if you experience any of the following:
- You may witness your hair falling out in clumps during a shower or on your pillowcase when you wake up in the morning. Often it is noted that hair fall from alopecia areata occurs in smooth round coin-sized patches that vary in size, sometimes leading to complete badness.
- If you notice hair growing from the patches is narrow at the base in a way that resembles an exclamation mark. Sometimes, the very first sign of alopecia areata can be problems related to finger or toenails. The most common sign is fitting where tiny dents form on the nails. The nails also become thin and rough and have white marks or stripes.
Alopecia areata is an unpredictable condition subject to our ideological response and no specific precautions can be taken to avoid it. There is no cure for alopecia areata as of now but developments in dermatology have made effective treatments available to tackle this condition. Apart from assessing the previously mentioned signs, a dermatologist can perform a hair pull test at the consultation. A complete examination is done using a dermascope and if other autoimmune diseases are suspected, a skin biopsy and blood tests may be recommended.
- If you are suffering from alopecia areata there are effected treatments and medicines available to help with hair re-growth. The duration of these treatments depends on the severity of the condition and can range anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
- Immunosuppressant corticosteroid injections are administered in the regions of hair loss. These suppress the immune responses that cause damage to the hair follicles. Often, this is the first treatment approach for alopecia areata and it starts showing results as early as the fourth week.
- Extensive alopecia areata is treated using topical immunotherapy which might take up to three months or longer to show results. It is a chemical application that induces dermatitis which stimulates hair growth.
- Topical applications like minoxidil and antonin can also be prescribed to be directly applied on the body patches.
- For rapidly spreading alopecia areata dermatologists may prescribe oral corticosteroids for a limited time to stabilize the condition.
Risks and side-effects
The risks and side effects related of the treatments may involve temporary depressions called Dells on the skin due to the corticosteroid injections which fade over time.
Topical immunotherapy may cause mild redness or a rash that gradually subsides.
Minoxidil is a popular medicine with the least known side-effects and is quite easy to use.
Depending on the case, individuals can expect hair re-growth within the first three sessions which are performed at three week intervals.
Often people rely only on home remedies or natural methods to combat hair loss problems. These are not scientifically proven methods for hair re-growth. If you are rapidly losing hair in round patches from your scalp or any body part please consult a professional.
Many treatments can encourage hair re-growth while afflicted with alopecia areata but none have been proven to change the long-term progress of the disease. Since this is an erratic autoimmune condition, no particular treatment works for everyone as it largely depends on an individual’s immune system response.
Frequently asked questions about
Is it a genetic condition?
Alopecia areata is a genetic condition where a person inherits a specific set of genes from both their parents. Scientists also believe that environmental factors like stress also play a role in the onset of alopecia areata.
Is alopecia areata permanent?
Alopecia areata is not permanent as it does not damage the ability of hair follicles to grow back. Hair growth resumes, once the immune function is restored.
Do natural treatments, home remedies or ayurvedic treatments help?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder and requires a holistic treatment solution. Usually, natural treatments, home remedies and ayurvedic methods are not as effective as a proper course of treatment suggested by an expert.
Does this condition affect other body parts?
Alopecia areata is mainly associated with the scalp, ear, eyebrows eyelashes etc. Patchy hair loss can also occur all over the body. While it is an autoimmune condition, there are still effective management options available provided you receive timely treatment.