What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is a medical condition that can occur at any age, but is most often found in younger people. Alopecia is actually another term for "hair loss".

It starts out by hair follicles getting attacked by your immune system which in turn causes damage and prevents hair from growing, often times in patchy areas.

How Can I Tell if I Have Alopecia?

Alopecia usually begins with clumps of hair falling out. It can also start in other ways, such as the hair becoming very fine and thin and breaking off easily. Most of the time, the hair will eventually grow back, but at the same time, you may notice hair loss starting in another new area. A very small percentage of people never even grow their hair back. In some people wtih alopecia, the fingernails and toenails may become pitted looking as well. Hair loss is not only limited to the scalp - it can also occur on other parts of the body.

Alopecia is not painful, nor will it make you feel sick. It is not considered a serious health problem and is not contagious. It can happen in perfectly healthy people.

If you suspect that you may have alopecia, you can make an appointment with your doctor where he can run some tests. Sometimes it can be due to an underactive or overactive thyroid or another type of disease. It's a good idea to get these things ruled out.

How Long Does Alopecia Last?

Alopecia can be very frustrating because it is something that can last for just a few months, a few years or for life. There is no way to predict when the hair will fall out again or if it stops, if it has stopped for good. If it has not stopped for good, you may also notice that any new hair that grows back may initially be colored grey or white.

Alopecia Diagnosis and Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia, but there are some things your doctor or a dermatologist can do to help your hair grow back more quickly.

  • Corticosteroids: This is a medicine that supresses the immune system. Corticosteroids is not a preferred method for treating alopecia because it can cause some serious side effects. This option may work best for patients that have several balding spots.
  • Minoxidil or Rogaine: This is a medicine to help your hair grow, but does not always work for everyone.
  • Anthralin: A medicine that alters the skin's immune function and may help some people re-grow their hair.
  • Diphencyprone (DPCP): This is a medicine used to trick your immune system. When applied to the scalp it will cause an allergic reaction which send white blood cells to the surface.

Managing Alopecia

Because your hair will usually grow back, some people choose not to do anything at all. But for those who are more self-conscience about their appearance there are alternative options such as hair regrowth products, transplants, wigs and the Evolve Volumizer.