information on hair diseases and their remedies
|Home | Search | Resources | Site Map | Contact Us|
Home >> Various types of Alopeica >> Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata (AA) is a highly unpredictable autoimmune skin disease. It causes alopecia not only on the scalp but also in other hair growing areas of the body. It can affect men, women, or children. It is perhaps the second or third most common form of hair loss after androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium. It is a common hair loss cause that can often be seen in a dermatology clinic.
The reason for the development of this major hair loss cause is still unknown and the public is still not quite familiar with alopecia areata. Due to the ignorance of the masses this hair loss cause can have a profound impact on one's life and functional status, both at work and at school.
Mechanism of the hair loss cause
In this major hair loss cause, the affected hair follicles are mistakenly attacked by a person's own immune system (white blood cells). It leads to the arrest of the hair growth stage. Alopecia areata in the initial stage is evident as one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp. Slowly it can progress to the total scalp and result in major hair loss. When the alopecia covers the entire scalp it is called alopecia totalis and when it leads to hair loss over the complete body then it is called alopecia universalis.
Although there is a lot of inflammation involved in this hair loss cause, the harmful effects of the immune system focuses on the roots of the hair follicle under the skin. As a result, not much is visible above the skin surface. There is no redness and often no pain, although a few people do find their skin itchy or painful to touch in the very early stages of alopecia areata development. The hair loss can be quite sudden developing in a few days and it may develop anywhere on the scalp.
Current studies suggest that in alopecia areata some unknown element triggers the immune system which then targets hair follicles. The studies also indicate a presence of some genetic traits that make some people more predisposed to the disease. These specific genetic traits increase the susceptibility and also the degree of disease intensity. There are also some infectious diseases like seborrheic dermatitis where hereditary issues play an important role.
Some dermatologists believe that there are a wide range of contributing factors that can make someone more susceptible to developing alopecia areata. Hormones, allergies, viruses, and even toxins might contribute to this severe hair loss cause. Dermatologists believe that a combination of all these factors may result in the development of alopecia areata in an individual.
Traditionally alopecia areata is believed to be a stress induced disease and it is treated accordingly by some dermatologists. But very little scientific evidence has been found to support the view that stress causes AA.
Alopecia areata occurs in men and women of all ages and races. The onset of the autoimmune skin disease most often begins from childhood itself which can be psychologically devastating. Although not life-threatening, this severe hair loss cause is a major cause of concern, due to its sudden onset, recurrent hair loss and unpredictable results. Due to all these effects the hair loss is emotionally disturbing.
But fortunately, unlike many other autoimmune diseases, the target, hair follicles, are not completely destroyed and can regrow once the inflammation subsides. People with just one or two patches of AA often have a full recovery within 2 years whether or not they receive treatment. However, about 30% of individuals find the hair loss cause persists and becomes more extensive. They may experience repeated cycles of hair loss and regrowth through alopecia areata.
At present, there is no permanent cure for this severe form of hair loss, although the hair may return by itself. Some of the treatments of this hair loss cause, are generally effective in milder cases, but none are universally effective. Another genetic hair disease called Hypotrichosis has no effective treatments. Once the hair sheds off, hypotrichosis affected individual has no hair regrowth in his lifetime.
If any hair disease results in permanent hair loss, the embarrassing baldness can be camouflaged by attractive wigs. It is the best option where medications and various modern treatments fail to resolve your hair loss cause. Proper grooming like cutting or styling can give the wig a natural and attractive look.
Explore and find out the right hair loss cure for alopeica areata. You may be pleasantly surprised by the effects of the cure.