What is alopecia areata?

What is alopecia?

If you notice extra hair on your pillow, brush or in the drain or little bald spots in the mirror, it’s possible that you may suffer from the autoimmune disorder called alopecia. It can occur on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. There are different types of alopecia that involve hair loss in various ways including hair loss in patches, hair loss on the entire scalp and hair loss on the whole body. The level of hair loss is different in each person. For some, their hair can grow back but fall out again and in others, it can grow back for good.

What is alopecia?

Despite what many people may believe, alopecia is not contagious and nor is it caused by nerves. It is an autoimmune disease caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Autoimmune disease means that your immune system attacks your own body or hair follicles in this instance. The hair often falls out in clumps and the amount that falls out is different for everyone.  Alopecia most commonly occurs in otherwise healthy people.

What are the symptoms of alopecia?

Most commonly, alopecia will result in a small round, or oval patches of baldness on the scalp, this is called alopecia areata. These bald patches will be entirely smooth and normal looking, usually with no other scalp symptoms. Occasionally there may be mild itching, tingling, tenderness or a burning sensation in the affected area. Some people who suffer from alopecia also find that they have abnormalities in the surface of their fingernails including tiny pits or dents, grooves, superficial splitting or abnormal areas of redness. In the rarer and more severe forms of alopecia, hair loss can involve the entire scalp or the entire body including the eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, underarm hair and pubic hair.

What causes alopecia?

As mentioned previously, alopecia is an autoimmune reaction that causes the immune system to attack the body’s own cells. There are also possible genetic factors that may come into play, particularly when the disorder strikes those under the age of 30. Nearly 40% of people younger than 30 with alopecia areata have at least one family member who has been diagnosed with the same disorder.

The risk of developing alopecia areata is also unusually high in people who suffer from asthma, hay fever, thyroid disease, vitiligo, pernicious anaemia and Down syndrome.

How is alopecia diagnosed?

Your doctor will be able to diagnose if you have alopecia based on an examination of the areas of your hair loss along with your symptoms. They may also gently pull on hairs near the edge of the bald area to see if they come out easily as well as inspect them for any abnormalities of the root or shaft. If still uncertain, they may need to perform a small skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment options for alopecia areata

The Crown Clinic has been helping men and women experiencing hair loss and hair thinning. We offer customised hair loss solutions with proven results for individuals with any type of hair loss including alopecia, male and female pattern baldness, hair loss due to stress, surgery, thyroid or autoimmune diseases.

One of our treatment options includes PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma.

PRP is a 100% natural procedure that uses that body’s own growth factors (blood plasma that is concentrated with platelets) to stimulate follicles and encourage new hair growth. It can be used in conjunction with Hair Transplantation to simulate newly transplanted follicles or can be a stand-alone treatment or complementary treatment with an existing hair loss medication program. PRP harnesses the growth factors carried in the blood supply and then delivers a concentrated dose back to the affected scalp and hair follicles. The growth factors in the platelets stimulate the hair follicles to grow. The hair follicles in the resting phase (telogen) may be pushed into growth, and this will appear as new hair growth.

So whether you are suffering from alopecia areata or any other type of hair loss, why not contact The Crown Clinic today to book a consultation so that we can create a custom treatment plan for you?