Alopecia Areata and Allergies


The body is a very complex mechanism and there are many causes that can upset the balance and put stress on the body. The skin is a delicate organ that supports the hair follicles and when there is a dysfunction of any sort it can affect the way hair grows.

Allergies can have an adverse effect on hair follicles as the body’s system has to combat what the body cannot tolerate and this will impact on the skin and hair follicles.

That having been said, there is no concrete proof that this can happen. Food allergies such as eggs, milk, wheat and seafood are common allergies that can cause the immune system to react. Some with this form of allergy have found their hair becomes thinner and falls out but the cause may not be the food itself. When the immune system has to take action it can also attack good cells in the skin which will ultimately affect the production of the hair follicles.

When hair is lost it can cause embarrassment and loss of self-confidence, this in turn can be stressful which is known as a cause for hair loss. There is much emphasis these days for people to look their best, follow the latest styles and trends. Hair is one of the first assets that is seen by others and will often give others their first impressions. Although food allergies causing hair loss may not be proven, the stress it can cause has been.

Statistics show that at least one person in every hundred has some form of food allergy and can go through life without realising it. When the body recognises it is being attacked it will react and send out a message to the body. This may have an effect on the hair follicles causing them to shrink. It is always advisable to seek professional advice if more hair loss than normal is noticed. Food intolerance is not the same as an allergy as it does not affect the immune system.

Alopecia areata is associated with the autoimmune system. Food allergies can also cause autoimmune problems and this has given some to think there may be a connection. Food allergies may mean a person not eating a good healthy diet. This may have an effect on the hair follicles as they may not get the nutrients and vitamins they need to have an effective hair cycle. These imbalances can mean the hair follicles can be damaged and shrink and unable to hold hair in place.

The cause of the food allergy should be found and in most cases with severe reactions such as sickness and diarrhoea it is noticeable straight away. If there is any doubt a specialist can help with diagnosing the food responsible. Hair loss could be thought to happen because of this but is more likely to be the stress and lack of nutrition that is causing the hair loss. Keratin protein is a major component of the hair and without this protein it can cause the loss of hair. Having a good diet including protein will ensure keratin is present. There is more than one element that is needed to keep a good head of hair and good general health will support this.

Food sufferers such as dieters, anorexia nervosa sufferers, bulimia sufferers, vegetarians and famine victims can find hair loss is normal. They may be able to pull out clumps of hair which is serious. It is a sign that the body is not getting the vitamins it requires and the body’s system will stop these essential vitamins supplying the hair follicles. Eventually they shrink and can no longer hold the hair. Improvement of diet and a supplement of vitamins should see more hair growth and less hair loss.

Allergies can come in all forms and food is not the only allergy to have an effect on the body. Some need to take anti-histamines as they are allergic to outside influences such as grass, animal hair and dust. The drugs that help to combat this can have an effect on the body’s immune system. This in turn will show in the health of the skin and the hair, the outer parts of the body.

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