Alopecia Areata: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Alopecia Areata: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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By Dr. Rasya Dixit, Dermatology

Male pattern baldness or Alopecia Areata is a condition wherein patches of hair may fall out together resulting in an unsightly look. One common misconception is that this only affects men. However, Alopecia Areata, to a much lesser extent, has also been noticed in women. It tends to cause more social embarrassment for women than men and may severely affect their social and private life.

Causes-

Some loss of hair is to be expected on a daily basis as new hair follicles come up in their place. You lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair every day in a normal scenario. However, with alopecia areata, it may be multiple times this amount resulting in clumps of hair falling out altogether. Some of the causes for this condition could be:-

  1. Genetics
  2. Change in the levels of sex hormones such as too much testosterone, stopping birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause
  3. Thyroid disorders
  4. Skin and scalp infections
  5. Auto immune disorders wherein the body starts attacking healthy cells
  6. Chemotherapy or other drug related hair loss
  7. Excessive use of cosmetic products such as shampoos and gels among others

Symptoms-

The manifestation of the condition may vary from person to person. However some of the common symptoms are mentioned below:-

  1. Most men and some women experience a receding hairline resulting in the forehead being broadened.
  2. Empty hairless patches on your scalp.
  3. Clumps of hair may fall out together while bathing, although this may not necessarily cause a bald patch and may result in the thinning of the hair in that region.
  4. If it is drug induced, then hair loss may occur all over the body.

Treatment Options-

While there are many over the counter options available for topical as well as oral application, there are newer and more effective methods that can be used to treat alopecia areata more effectively. It is always recommended to consult a dermatologist for better results. Some of these treatment options are mentioned below:

  1. Stem Cell Therapy: Stem cells, which can help any cell become active again, are used to rejuvenate the dead skin cells within the scalp, helping the cause of hair growth.
  2. Ozone Therapy: Introducing ozone to the scalp helps to remove the toxins and other chemicals that may be causing hair loss. It also encourages the growth of new hair follicles in place of the old ones.
  3. Laser Light Therapy: A series of laser lights is used to simulate the hair follicles so that the growth phase of the hair becomes longer, resulting in less hair loss and also the growth of new hair.
  4. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP therapy: This is a method wherein plasma developed from within your own body is used to rejuvenate dead or dying hair follicles.
  5. Peptide Therapy: This uses synthesized ingredients to tailor to your hair problems and helps stop thinning and general hair loss