A brief explanation of alopecia areata


Many clients who come to HIS Hair Clinic suffer with alopecia areata, however outside of this group there is a great deal of confusion about what alopecia areata actually is, and more importantly how to treat the condition

Alopecia comes from the Greek word meaning loss of hair from head or body. Alopecia can occur at any age and for different reasons. Alopecia areata is a common form of baldness where patches of hair loss can be seen. This form of alopecia is due to autoimmune disorders and can affect as many as one in a thousand at some point in life.

There is no one particular cause of the problem but it is linked to stress and anxiety disorders. In most cases when the underlying cause of the stress has been sorted the hair does eventually grow back. However, there are occasions when it develops into alopecia totalis in which the hair does not grow back. Changes to the body’s hormones can cause loss of hair such as during pregnancy, known as postpartum hair loss. The hair can become thinner or patchy but does eventually grow back.

A sudden shock is known to cause hair loss and can happen almost overnight. Again, on this occasion the hair will grow back once the body is back to normal. Reducing stress levels can greatly help those who are prone to alopecia areata. A relaxing bath at the end of the day can help to calm the mind and body and help to induce a good night’s sleep. The body needs sleep to re-energise and help to keep the immune system working.

Alopecia areata affects people from different cultures in different ways such as the time it takes for the condition to appear and disappear. All have the same overall affect in that the hair will fall out in patches and will eventually grow back. The regrowth of the hair can be helped by massaging the scalp with essential oils as this stimulates the circulation to the hair follicles. It will also help to relax and bring down stress levels.

Alopecia areata in children is not uncommon. It is often a sign they are under some form of duress. The stress could be due to an accident or even being bullied at school. Any sign of hair loss should be seen by a consultant who can look into the causes. Children are quick to react and the onset of alopecia areata could be sudden.

With some people the occurrence of alopecia areata can coincide with the seasons. During the winter season they seem to have greater hair loss and during the summer some of this hair loss regrows. Some are more prone to the loss of hair than others and there are indications this can run in families.

There are a variety of theories as to the trigger point for alopecia areata but no definite theory has been proved. Whilst shock and stress are positive in the cause of hair loss it is not what starts it for everyone. There have been suggestions that HIV can have an effect on the loss of hair. Infections whether bacterial or viral can upset the immune system which can react against the hair follicles.

Overcoming the loss of hair is not always easy as it can cause a person to be self-conscience about their looks which in turn causes stress which leads to more hair loss. Finding the cause of the initial stress is important and may need to the help of a professional to help overcome the problem. When growing back the hair comes through finer to begin with but will eventually be back to full strength.

Good hair grooming is a must for those who suffer alopecia areata. The use of a goo shampoo and conditioner that suits the hair type will help to keep the hair in good order. Brushing out the dead hair will help to stimulate the hair follicles and encourage new growth. A new hair style can help to cover any thin patches and boost confidence.

For suffers of hair loss it is sometimes better to have shorter hair as the weight of long hair can pull on the hair follicles and damage them. The scalp is very sensitive and needs to be looked after. Knowing what starts the hair loss can be an important measure in stopping it from reoccurring. More research is constantly being analysed for new ways in which to treat the condition.

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