WHETHER due to illness or male pattern baldness, losing your hair can be a traumatic experience for many.
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss and includes all types of hair loss, from temporary to permanent.
What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata causes bald spots the size of a large coin – men and women are equally affected.
It can occur at any age, but most cases develop first in teenagers and children.
At least half of people with this condition will experience their first hair loss before the age of 21.
They usually appear on the scalp but can appear anywhere on the body.
In most cases of alopecia areata, hair grows back in a few months to a year.
Initially, the hair may grow back fine and white, but over time it should thicken and regain its normal color.
In women, childbirth can sometimes trigger postpartum alopecia to.
Some people develop a more severe form of hair loss where they lose all their hair.
This is known as alopecia totalis (no hair on the head) and alopecia universalis (no hair on the scalp and body).
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease where the immune system accidentally attacks a part of your body.
In this condition, the immune system surrounds and attacks the hair follicles.
People with a family history of alopecia areata also appear to be more susceptible, and it’s more common in people who have an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, or Down syndrome.
What types of alopecia are there?
Besides alopecia areata, there are many other types of alopecia that can affect people.
The most common form of alopecia is patterned hair loss, which occurs in both men and women.
This is the medical term for pattern hair loss, but many people are unaware that this is a form of alopecia.
Male sufferers usually see their hairline receding Hair becomes thinner and falls outstarting at the temples.
Females can see it as thin hair all over the head.
This is a natural part of aging and should therefore not be a cause for concern.
About 50% of men over 50 experience some form of hair loss, while 50% of women over 65 experience androgenetic alopecia.
This is permanent damage, so your hair won’t grow back, although you can slow the process down.
Alopecia can manifest itself in different ways, even if the reason is the same.
Scarring alopecia is a group of different types of alopecia that all appear on the head in different ways.
This type of hair loss can be caused by inflammation, infection, burns, or autoimmune diseases.
The hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue, meaning the hair cannot grow back.
In some cases this can be seen on the front of the scalp (known as frontal fibrosing alopecia) and in other cases it can appear in patches around the front, back and sides (lichen planopilaris).
Other sufferers may see their hair begin to disappear at the top of their head and spread from there, this is known as central centrifugal scarring alopecia.
This type of alopecia, also called anagen effluvium, is a direct result of patients undergoing treatment chemotherapy.
It is a side effect of chemotherapy drugs and often one of the more visible side effects of treatment.
This is mostly associated with cancer treatment but is not limited to cancer patients.
Some people lose eyebrow hair and eyelashes during this time, as alopecia can cause hair loss all over the body.
Depending on your dosage, you may experience some thinning up to complete baldness.
This is a less predictable type of hair loss when your hair goes into a dormant phase and falls out.
This is a normal process, but when more hair than usual enters this stage, it can lead to thinning and balding.
In many people, this alopecia is triggered by a physical or psychological event and can resolve spontaneously on its own.
One for ponytail fans, this one Alopecia is when hair has been pulled in a certain way a long time ago.
Tight hairstyles like ponytails or frequent use of extensions can lead to traction alopecia.
It can be treated when hair loss is first discovered, but repeated pulling can cause permanent follicle damage.
Stop using tight hairstyles as soon as the hair starts to thin and it should grow back.
This is a psychological condition in which alopecia is caused by an uncontrollable need to pull out one’s own hair.
Scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes are usually treated.
Continued hair plucking will cause the follicle to become damaged and stop growing – which is why over-plucking the eyebrows will stop regrowth.
Causes of hair loss
- A disease
- cancer treatment
- weight loss
- iron deficiency
What treatments are there for alopecia?
For the more common types of hair loss, such as For example, hair loss in both men and women does not necessarily require treatment as it is a natural part of the aging process.
There is however possible treatments that can be explored and anyone affected should speak to their GP.
hair transplants are common methods of treating hair loss, although treatment can range from £1,000 to £30,000 in the UK.
This is technically cosmetic surgery and is therefore not covered by the NHS.
Alopecia areata is usually treated with steroid injections, although it is sometimes possible to use a steroid cream, gel, or ointment.
You can inject or apply directly to the bald spot to encourage growth.
There are currently two medications available to treat pattern baldness, finasteride and minoxidil.
Neither are available on the NHS and women should only use minoxidil.
Lots of people turn to tattooing for eyebrow hair loss, These tiny lines can instantly make a hairline or eyebrow look fuller.
Light treatment and scalp reduction surgery are also options for treating alopecia.
It is often cheaper to use wigs as these treatments can be expensive.
Which Celebs Have Suffered From Alopecia?
Many celebrities have revealed they suffer from alopecia over the years, however it is usually most noticeable in women.
With half of men going bald by 50, it doesn’t usually make headlines.
However, due to the emphasis on female hair, it is more likely to be commented on when women lose their hair.
Often when actors dye or bleach their hair for long periods of time due to roles, it can lead to alopecia.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/597676/alopecia-hair-loss-causes-treatment/ What is alopecia? – The Irish sun