Alopecia Areata is a common autoimmunie disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other areas of the body. It has a lifetime risk of 2.1%
People of all ages, genders and ethnic groups can develop alopecia areata. It often appears during childhood and can vary from person to person. About 6.8 million people in the U.S. alone have some form of alopecia.
Your body's own immune system attacks the healthy hair follicles causing them to become smaller and smaller. it drastically slows down the production of hair growth until hair growth stops completely.
With all forms of alopecia, your hair follicles stay alive and hair can regrow at anytime. However, it is unpredictable and some people experience cycles of hair loss and hair growth.
There are several types of Alopecia. The three more well-known types of Alopecia are Alopecia Areata Patchy, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis. Alopecia areata patchy is the most common and those with it have one or more coin-sized hairloss patches on their scalp and/or other areas of the body. Alopecia totalis is when there is total loss of hair on the scalp and Alopecia univeralis is when there is complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and body.
The symptoms and level of hair loss can vary from person to person but there are some commom symptoms to look out for.
- Small round patchs of hair loss on the scalp, chin, or other areas of the body
- Hair loss and hair regrowth occuring simultaneously on different areas of the body
- Hair loss that occurs mostly on one side of the scalp instead of both sides
- Rows of small dents appearing on the fingernails
Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for Alopecia. However, even when you are experiencing hair loss due to Alopecia your hair follicles remain in tact. Therefore, your hair can regrow at anytime.
While Alopecia does not cause rashes, redness, hives or severe itching like other skin diseases some people find it helpful to protect the exposed skin. Depending on the type of Alopecia you have and the extent of hair loss, you can find a variety of treatments. However, these treatments do not work for everyone. It is always important to talk with your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of different treatments.