Are you experiencing partial or complete hair loss on your head or body? If so, it is likely you have alopecia areata. This condition can cause sufferers to feel self-conscious or embarrassed due to their hair loss. While there is no cure, we do offer a selection of treatment options to help improve your symptoms to improve your overall wellbeing.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes partial or complete hair loss on the head and/or body. With this condition, your immune system attacks your hair follicles. In many cases, the hair will fall out in small, quarter-sized patches. However, some people experience a complete loss of hair on the head, or on the entire body.
This condition can affect people all of ages and genders, though most cases occur before 30 years of age. While the exact cause of alopecia areata is not known, it is believed to be linked to genetics. If you have a family member who has this condition, you may be more susceptible to developing it.
Types of Alopecia Areata
There are several different types of alopecia areata which are characterized by the amount of hair loss, as well as other symptoms.
Alopecia Areata Totalis: All of the hair on the head is lost.
Alopecia Areata Universalis: Hair is lost over the entire body.
Diffuse Alopecia Areata: A sudden thinning of the hair instead of just lost patches of hair.
Ophiasis Alopecia Areata: Hair is lost in a band shape around the sides and back of the head.
Alopecia Areata Treatment Options
While there is no known cure for alopecia areata, there are treatment options to help manage symptoms. These include:
Corticosteroids: These anti-inflammatory drugs are available as injections, topical ointments, or oral pills, and work by suppressing the immune system.
Topical Immunotherapy: When there is ample hair loss, this technique may be effective. Chemicals will be applied to the scalp to create an allergic reaction This reaction should make the hair grow back, though it must be repeated multiple times to maintain hair growth.
Jak Inhibitors: These are new immune modulating topical creams that have an ability to suppress the immune response causing the hair loss. They are shown in studies to be effective for some patients but are not yet FDA approved.