This seems to be more common than people realize, and many don't go to a dermatologist to treat it when it is so easy to treat (with steroids).
Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins. The damage to the follicle is usually not permanent. Experts do not know why the immune system attacks the follicles. Alopecia areata is most common in people younger than 20, but children and adults of any age may be affected. Women and men are affected equally.
Alopecia areata cannot be "cured" but it can be treated. Most people who have one episode will have more episodes of hair loss. Read more about alopecia areata.
Alopecia: Baldness. There are many types of alopecia, each with a different cause. Alopecia may be localized to the front and top of the head as in common male pattern baldness. It may be patchy as in a condition called alopecia areata. Or it can involve the entire head as in alopecia capitis totalis. The word "alopecia" comes from the Greek "alopex" for "fox." Foxes are less furry when afflicted with a skin disease (the "mange") which causes them to lose their hair. When a fancier word for "baldness" was sought, the mangy fox supplied it -- "alopecia" or, if you wish, "fox-mange" -- not a very positive image to associate with baldness!
One of the most sudden causes of hair loss that can occur within women and men and cause round patches of hair to literally disappear from the scalp is referred to as alopecia. Although the hair will often grow back after a period of time, most likely months after the initial spot has occurred within the head, it can be a difficult diagnosis to accept and cause many problems within the appearance and self esteem.
Although the causes of Alopecia are unknown and can be a variety of factors, there are three common causes which are thought to cause these round bald spots to appear within the scalp. The first is genetic and appears through family members, but it is important to remember that this is not contagious. The second could be from a disorder within the immune system which causes the body to attack the hair follicles which are growing through the tissue and the third could be caused by some factor which exists within the personís environment.
There are many treatments that are used for the treatment of Alopecia, from topical treatments that are applied directly to the scalp to more invasive surgical treatments which use injections into the scalp to stop the hair loss and restart the hair growing cycle.
Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss from areas of the body, usually from the scalp . Because it causes bald spots on the head, especially in the first stages, it is sometimes called spot baldness. Alopecia areata affects both males and females. This type of hair loss is different than male pattern baldness, an inherited condition. Alopecia areata is one type of hair loss. The exact number of people affected by alopecia areata is not known. Estimates vary between 1 in 1000 to 2 in 100 people being affected at some point in their life. Alopecia areata can occur at any age but most cases first develop in teenagers and children. In about 6 in 10 cases the first patch of hair loss develops before the age of 20 years.
Alopecia is not contagious. It is an autoimmune disease in which the bodyís immune system attacks itself, in this case, the hair follicles. Alopecia areata may occur in more than one member of the family, and such families may develop other autoimmune diseases such as pernicious anaemia and vitiligo. It is also more common in patients with chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome.
Symptoms of Alopecia
The primary symptom of alopecia areata is roundish patches of hair loss on the head, with smooth, hairless scalp in the affected areas. Alopecia totalis involves the complete loss of all scalp hair, and alopecia universalis is characterized by the complete loss of all scalp and body hair.
Topical Minoxidil Topically applied rninoxidil 5% solution is helpful in reducing the rate of hair loss or in partially restoring lost hair in some patients; in large clinical trials, moderate growth has been noted at 4 and 12 months in 40% of males. The efficacy of minoxidil in females is not yet known from large clinical trials. Combinations of higher concentrations of minoxidil with topical retinoic acid are promising improvements.
Immunotherapy using chemicals such as diphenylcyclopropenone or squaric acid dibutyl ester on the scalp that can produce an allergic reaction, which may neutralize the turned-on immune cells.
Antiandrogens Spironolactone, cyproterone acetate, flutamide, and cimetidine, which bind to androgen receptors and block the action of dihydrotestosterone, have been reported to be effective in treating women with AGA who have elevated adrenal androgens; these must not be used in men.
There are several available treatments for Alopecia. Two relatively new drugs minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Proscar)promote hair growth in a significant minority of patents. UVB is generally used to treat skin conditions but is also used for people with severe hair loss.Steroid injections are commonly used in sites where there are small areas of hair loss on the head or especially where eyebrow hair has been lost.
Anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for autoimmune diseases. Corticosteroids can be given as an injection into the scalp or other areas, orally (as a pill), or applied topically (rubbed into the skin) as an ointment, cream, or foam. Hair transplantation is completed by taking tiny plugs of skin, each containing one to several hairs, from the back side of the scalp.
Customers can ask all kinds of crazy questions about their hair, but sometimes, it can be beneficial to know a few medical hair conditions in case you run into something serious. For example, in the past I have been asked to examine a customerís scalp and offer my opinion on random bald spots. When this occurs, it is almost always Alopecia Areata.
For those that donít know, Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss which occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicle. The cause is currently unknown. Here are some photos to check outÖ
Alopecia Areata is most common in people under 20, but it can happen to anyone at any age. Men and women are equally affected.
Most Common Signs
The most common symptom is round, smooth, hairless patches on the scalp, but other common signs include:
1. total hair loss
2. hair loss of scalp and body
3. thinner hair without noticeable patches
In some cases fingers and toenails of those affected may become pitted or look like sandpaper.
Treatment of this condition is out of our scope of practice and your client will have to seek the care of a physician. The most common treatment is through many injections of corticosteroids, although the research to support the efficacy of this remedy is limited. In some cases topical corticosteroids may also be indicated or a combination of Rogaine and topical medication.
In conclusion, I know that it is out of our normal scope of practice to diagnose as we are not doctors, but it is important to have knowledge of hair and scalp pathologies so that we might provide our clients with helpful suggestions and advice. Itís great for building up your clientele base because it shows that you care and that you are knowledgeable in your field. I hope this helps everyone to gain a better understanding of this common ailment and to utilize this information to help others.
MAY 2007 (Before Treatment) SEPTEMBER 2007 (After Treament)