What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a hair disease in which suddenly hairs fall out. This creates bald spots in ‘normal’ hair. About 2 in 100 people (2%) get alopecia areata during their lifetime. It can happen at all ages, including children. It usually occurs with (young) adults. Men and women receive alopecia areata just as often. Some people only get alopecia areata once. But with many people, it comes back more often.
Alopecia areata is not contagious.
Alopecia Areata Symptoms
With alopecia areata usually hair suddenly falls out. This happens in a few days to weeks. The hair can fall out in one or more places. Those places then become bald. The bald spots are often round or oval. Hair can be loose at the edges of those spots.
The bald spots usually arise on the scalp. You can also get bald spots in the eyebrows, in the eyelashes, in the beard area, in the pubic area or on other parts of your body. It can happen that all your main hair or all your body hair falls out. This happens to a maximum of 1 in 4 people with alopecia areata. The chance is small that your hair will grow back. You may also have abnormalities in your nails, such as pits, dents, grooves or fissure of the nails. Your nails can also feel rough.
You can feel sad, insecure or anxious because of the bald spots.
Alopecia areata is certainly not a rare condition. It occurs in an estimated 0.05 to 0.1 percent of the population. Men are just as likely to get the disease as women. Alopecia also occurs in children, sometimes even when they are very young. The first bald spots can start at any age, usually before the fortieth year.
How does alopecia areata arise?
Alopecia areata is probably an autoimmune disease. With an autoimmune disease, your immune system focuses on your own body. With alopecia areata, it is likely that the body sees the hair follicles as something that does not belong. The body then repels the hair follicles.
Alopecia areata is more common in people with other autoimmune diseases such as vitiligo, lupus erythematosus (LE) and some thyroid diseases.
Alopecia areata is also more common in people with hay fever, asthma, allergies or eczema.
Alopecia areata is more common in some families. Heredity may play a role in this.
It is not proven and unlikely that the bald spots are due to vitamin deficiencies or stress.
Other causes bald spots
If you get bald spots, it may also be due to something else, for example:
- a fungal infection ;
- a skin disease that gives scars, such as scleroderma;
- the syphilis venereal disease ;
- a tight braid or bun;
- a tight hairpin, scarf, headscarf or turban;
- hair extensions;
- pull your hair.
Are you getting bald spots for the first time? Then you can wait and see if your hair grows back on its own. In 50 to 80 out of 100 people (50-80%) the hair grows back automatically.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment that helps against alopecia areata. Various treatments have been investigated, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (creams, tablets, injections);
- Thyroid hormone;
- Light therapy (photodynamic therapy);
- Treatments that inhibit your defense (immunomodulation).
There is no evidence that these treatments have a good effect on the bald spots. Certainly not in the long term. The treatments can have unpleasant side effects. That is why doctors do not recommend medication or other treatments.
Do you keep bald spots? And do you have difficulty with this? Then you can choose to cover the bare spots or camouflage them. For example with:
- a cap, hat or scarf;
- a hairpiece or hairpiece (wig);
- fake eyelashes, if your eyelashes have fallen out;
- permanent make-up, for example if your eyebrows are lost.
Do you have psychological problems due to the bald spots, such as uncertainty, fear or somberness? Then discuss this with your doctor. Together you can see how you can learn how to deal with alopecia areata. This is possible with the help of the doctor or practice assistant. Counseling by a psychologist is also possible.
How does alopecia areata continue?
It varies a lot how it goes with alopecia areata. For example, you get:
- only bald spots once;
- more often bald spots;
- baldness of your entire head;
- baldness of your entire body (this is rare).
For people who have one or more bald spots for the first time the following applies to 50 to 80 out of 100 people (50-80%) the hair grows back within a year. But many people get bald spots again later.
Sometimes the hair does not grow back completely. The chance that your hair will not fully return is greater if:
- you are young when you have bald spots for the first time;
- you have many bald spots or large bald spots;
- you have a bald band in mind;
- you also have abnormalities of your nails, such as pits, grooves or fission of the nails;
- you have another autoimmune disease;
- there are more people in your family with alopecia areata.
Have you been diagnosed with alopecia areata? Then check carefully whether your hair grows back. You can visit your doctor regularly (for example, every 2 to 3 months) for a check-up. The doctor will then discuss how you are doing.
Is the hair loss getting worse in a short time? Or are the bald spots not smaller after a year? Then your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist (dermatologist).
Does the doctor think you may have another autoimmune disease? Then the doctor will refer you to an internist or rheumatologist. You will then receive further investigation at the hospital.
Are you considering a hairpiece or hairpiece? Then discuss this with your doctor.
When to contact the doctor?
Are you suddenly getting one or more bald spots? Then contact your doctor. The doctor then assesses the type of hair loss. Together you can discuss what to do about it.
There are three levels of alopecia areata:
Alopecia areata is the ‘spot-on’ baldness, which can occur anywhere on the body.
The head hair in particular is no longer growing.
There is absolutely no longer any hair growth to be seen, neither head hair nor body hair.
How is alopecia areata diagnosed?
When the hair loss starts with sharply defined bald spots on the scalp, and the hair exclamation mark is visible at the edges, the diagnosis is not difficult. When in doubt, a skin biopsy is taken to exclude other hair diseases. Examination of the hair for possible “shortages” (hair analysis) is not recommended. Hair analysis does not provide any additional information that is important for the healing of alopecia areata.
Signs of Balding at 20
Hair loss can be difficult for most men. This is even more so when one has baldness at the age of only 18 or 20 years. Indeed, we live in a society where, unfortunately, the culture of beauty and appearance takes an extremely important place, in most cases prevailing over the moral qualities of an individual.
An individual with baldness at the age of 18 or 20 can experience a nightmare linked to hair loss, causing in many cases a loss of self-esteem and withdrawal, in a period when one is supposed to enjoy life.
Fortunately, there are solutions to stop the progression of baldness at a young age, even if the best method (by far) is to assume oneself as one is, although this is easier said than to do.
Acupuncture for Alopecia Areata
Various skin complaints can be successfully treated with acupuncture. Different forms of hair loss often respond well to acupuncture.
The most common skin complaints treated at our center are constitutional eczema, allergic skin conditions (urticaria) and acne. Acupuncture can also be a useful part of the treatment for other, more difficult to treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis and vitiligo.
Alopecia Areata Hair Growing Back White
Often the new hair is different than before in terms of color or texture. Change in color is most common. Someone who first had style blond hair can later get darker hair and / or curls back. Gray hair can also temporarily regain color.
Little is known about these hair changes. Over time, most patients get the same hair as before alopecia. This usually takes a few months, but sometimes it can take years.
Best Probiotics For Alopecia Areata
The probiotics that live in our gut play an important role in our health, especially for a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics have a huge toolbox available in the form of enzymes, which they use to break down food. This produces vital micro-nutrients, which our bodies would otherwise struggle to access, such as biotin, vitamin K, B12, niacin, and folic acid.
Homeopathic Remedies for Alopecia
A healthy person loses between 50 and 100 hairs on a normal day. Only when there is a significant increase in numbers, can we speak of unusual hair loss. A distinction can be made between scattered hair loss and hair loss with clear boundaries.
Sometimes it also happens that the bald spots are clearly delimited; there is no hair at all anymore in those places.
Homeopathic remedies can be used for internal use in the event of a dry hair loss and with a bad hair structure, brittle hair, tangles and dead spots. Homeopathy is not for external use with this ailment.
Just Natural Alopecia Hair Loss Treatment
Do you suffer from baldness, hair loss, gray hair or thinning of your hair? Traditional Indian science offers various inexpensive and safe means to restore quality and growth of your hair. What are the best natural remedies for alopecia hair loss?