Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. This condition causes widespread hair loss on the scalp. And sometimes, on the other parts of the body. It is crucial to learn more about alopecia areata especially if you are experiencing severe hair loss. This way, you will know when it’s time to see an alopecia areata dermatologist.
What Causes Alopecia Areata?
When the immune system suddenly targets hair follicles, this can result in alopecia areata. This condition causes hair loss. This also reduces hair growth. Science doesn’t have an explanation for the cause of alopecia areata. Yet, it is believed to be due to the interactions between genes. It can also be caused by environmental factors and the immune system.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Alopecia areata is characterized by hair thinning or hair loss. This will initially appear as tiny, smooth, bald spots on the scalp. It will later on result in total scalp and/or body hair loss. There are patients who also experience tingling or itching in the affected areas.
Alopecia areata can take any number of paths. Some experience temporary hair loss with regrowth in a matter of months. Others experience chronic and recurrent hair loss. And for others, it’s impossible to get their hair to grow back. There is a variation in the intensity and duration of the condition.
Treatment Options for Alopecia Areata
Currently, there is no cure for alopecia areata. Instead, there are different ways to control and prevent it from recurring. These treatments will allow the scalp and body to grow the hair back. There are treatments that can be done. Among these are the following:
- Topical Corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory creams or ointments. These products are often the first recommended treatment that can help stimulate hair regrowth.
- Intralesional Corticosteroid Injections: It is still corticosteroids but these are directly injected into the bald patches to promote hair regrowth.
- Topical Immunotherapy: This product is applied to the affected skin that causes an allergic rash. The inflammation from the treatment can stimulate hair regrowth.
- Oral Medications: Some doctors recommend using oral corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications.
- Light Therapy: Excimer laser and ultraviolet light therapy (PUVA) are commonly used to help promote hair growth.
When to See a Dermatologist?
You must know when you go see a dermatologist for alopecia areata. The doctors can help you determine if you have alopecia areata. They can also help find the best treatment for you to start with.
- Sudden or significant hair loss.
- Hair loss causes emotional distress and impacts your self-esteem.
- Hair loss persists or keeps recurring and shows no signs of regrowth.
- Signs of infection are present.
- You’re interested in starting treatment to stimulate hair regrowth.
Alopecia areata can affect people of all ages and races. There is no cure for alopecia areata. Instead, there are treatments that can make hair grow faster and keep the condition under control. Those dealing with alopecia areata must see a dermatologist to get evaluated and determine the right treatment plan.