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Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata || Everything You Need To Know

Following a dramatic Oscars incident in which Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia the need for raising awareness about the much misunderstood autoimmune disorder escalated. We live in a more open world where going bald has become a choice for some women, but the struggle is real on both physical and psychological levels when you go bald and you don’t have a choice. It is time to talk about Alopecia Areata, understand it more, and stop all the shame around it.

What Is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes your hair to fall out in patches. These patches may connect and thus become more noticeable. The amount of hair loss differs depending on the type the patient has; some lose it only in a few spots, and others lose a lot. Sometimes, hair grows back but falls out again later, and sometimes it grows back for good. When the hair keeps growing in one area and falling out in another area the condition becomes so stressful and may force the patient to go bald.

When and Why It Happens?

The hair loss disorder is linked to inflammation in the body and occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles triggering hair loss that range from patches to the whole body. Alopecia Areata may occur in your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and face, as well as other parts of your body.

What Are The Types of Alopecia?

  • Alopecia Areata Totalis: This is the type where the patient loses all the hair on his/her head.
  • Alopecia Areata Universalis is the loss of hair over your entire body.
  • Diffuse Alopecia Areata is a sudden thinning of your hair.
  • Ophiasis Alopecia Areata causes hair loss in a band shape around the sides and back of your head.

What Are The Symptoms?

People who suffer from Alopecia Areata may notice:

  •  small bald patches on the scalp or any part of the body.
  • Patches get larger creating a bald spot.
  • Hair grows back in one spot and falls out in another.
  • You lose a lot of hair over a short time. 
  • More hair loss in cold weather. 
  • Fingernails and toenails become red, brittle, and pitted.

What Are The Treatments?

Unfortunately, there is no cure or way to predict the hair loss, but there are treatments that you can try that might be able to slow down future hair loss or help hair grow back more quickly. The temporary treatments range from topical (such as Minoxidil, Anthralin, clobetasol, and Topical immunotherapy) and oral treatments (Cortisone tablets and Oral immunosuppressants) to injections (such as Steroid injections) and laser therapies (photochemotherapy). 

You may also resort to natural alternatives which include acupuncture, aromatherapy, vitamins and supplements (including zinc and biotin), essential oils, other oils (such as coconut, tea tree, and castor oil), onion juice rubbed onto the scalp, and probiotics. But note that such alternatives have not been tested clinically, so you could experiment with, but there is no evidence to show that they’re effective.

In any case, consult with your doctor on which treatment suits your case better. And be sure that you are beautiful the way you are, so never be ashamed of your condition and be compassionate with yourself.