Alopecia is a problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It causes sudden and severe hair loss, which may be hard to deal with emotionally.
But what are the reasons for hair loss? And what can you do if you’re experiencing symptoms of alopecia?
Keep reading to find out.
In medical terms, alopecia is generally a partial or total loss of hair on your body parts (which results in baldness).
There are different types of alopecia, but the most common is alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that develops when your immune system mistakes hair follicles for a threat and attacks them, thereby suppressing or stopping hair growth.
Alopecia areata can affect your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, pubic hair, and other body parts.
Not all types of alopecia are caused by the immune system as some types are related to your genetics, environment, lifestyle, and other factors that can cause alopecia.
Besides alopecia areata, the other types of alopecia include:
- Androgenic alopecia
- Diffuse alopecia areata
- Ophiasis alopecia
- Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA)
- Alopecia barbae
- Traction alopecia
Also, alopecia that causes a total loss of hair on your scalp is known as alopecia totalis. Meanwhile, Alopecia universalis is the complete loss of hair on your body. But for many people, alopecia can affect multiple areas of the body at once.
To date, there is no known preventive or cure for alopecia. However, numerous treatments may help reduce hair loss and promote hair regrowth in people with alopecia areata.
However, a doctor should prescribe these treatments before taking them.
Corticosteroid treatments can suppress the immune system, which may reduce hair loss due to alopecia areata. Your doctor can prescribe corticosteroids as an oral, injectable, or topical treatment.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a cream commonly used for alopecia areata, and it takes about 4-6 months until you see results. However, always consult a healthcare professional before applying minoxidil on your body parts.
Besides corticosteroids, other medications like tofacitinib and cyclosporine can be used to blunt the immune system’s attack on the hair follicles. Experts suggest that topical immunotherapy is safe and can be an effective long-term treatment for alopecia areata.
Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is made by isolating and concentrating plasma from the blood. Researchers believe that injecting PRP may stimulate the production of new healthy cells and create a better environment for hair growth.
Microneedling is a technique that involves using a needle to puncture holes into the scalp, which is supposed to promote collagen production and restore hair growth.
Light therapy or photochemotherapy involves phototherapy, which uses ultraviolet light to encourage hair growth.
Whereby laser therapy involves using radiation to encourage new hair growth.
Experiencing a high amount of stress has been linked to hair loss. So managing your stress levels can help you treat stress-related hair loss.
Every individual reacts differently to alopecia treatments. Some people may temporarily stop experiencing symptoms of alopecia, while others may not experience any changes and keep experiencing hair loss.
Also, different types of alopecia may require specific forms of treatment to be effective. So it’s a good idea to check the cause of your hair loss before looking for treatment.
What to do if you have Alopecia (Hair Loss)?
People may not take alopecia seriously because it’s not life-threatening. However, this disease can lead to emotional trauma or severe depression.
But we realize the impact of alopecia and how it affects people. So here’s what to do if you’re experiencing symptoms of alopecia?
If you’re noticing significant hair loss, the first thing to do is to diagnose your condition and understand the cause. Alopecia areata isn’t the only hair loss reason, your condition may be due to various factors like age, disease, stress, lifestyle, substance abuse, etc.
So check whether your hair loss is due to alopecia areata or something entirely different.
As mentioned before, there’s currently no cure for alopecia areata, but treatment can help to relieve the symptoms of hair loss and stimulate new hair growth.
Immune system suppressing medications like corticosteroids, methotrexate, tofacitinib, and cyclosporine can be administered by your doctor. There’s also microneedling which is a natural treatment for hair loss. Additionally, light and laser therapy may help.
Other medications include minoxidil application and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. However, you should consult a doctor to check if these treatments are safe and effective for you before applying them.
Alopecia treatments may not work for everyone, and many people are skeptical about the side effects of using these medications. But don’t let the hair loss bring you down.
Instead, look for alternatives to help you deal with alopecia. For example, people experiencing alopecia on the scalp can wear a wig.
There’s even a vacuum wig that features a silicon and suction base to help bald people hold their wigs in place during activities like running or swimming.
While eyelash extensions are ideal if hair loss affects your eyelashes. For eyebrows, microblading, and makeup can be used.
Wear a wig
Other Reasons For Hair Loss
Alopecia isn’t the only hair loss reason. Here are a few other causes of hair loss:
- Age-related hair loss. As humans grow older, many hair follicles stop growing, which causes hair loss.
- Cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and the radiation involved in cancer treatment can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
- Scalp infection. Hair loss can sometimes result from inflammation of the scalp.
- Stress. Hair loss can be a result of physical or emotional stress.
- Hormonal imbalance. Hair loss due to hormone imbalance occurs more in women and people with polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Thyroid disease. People diagnosed with thyroid disease may experience thinning hair and hair loss.
Hair Loss Reasons: Final Thoughts
Various reasons can cause alopecia, but hair loss shouldn’t stop you from feeling good.
You may eventually like your new beautiful bald look or decide to grab a wig and any alternative you may need.
Various treatments may also help with hair loss but check with your doctor before you use them.