+353 1 6760969

Alopecia Areata

the back of a head with gaps in the hair showing how alopecia areata affects the hair

What is Alopecia Areata?

As you age, the hair on your head or body can thin or even fall out due to genetics and ageing. Alopecia Areata is the term dermatologists use to describe hair loss that is not due to injury or genetics, such as male pattern baldness.

Getting the right hair loss treatment can make the difference between finally being able to deal with the effects of alopecia or continuing to live in fear. With the countless options available, it is hard to know which is the best choice for you, so you may be tempted to try nothing at all.

What are the causes?

Alopecia Areata, also known as spot baldness, is caused by a reaction of the immune system. This can lead to hair loss anywhere on the body. This condition affects about 6.8 million people in the United States and 147 million people worldwide.

Which age groups are affected by Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia Areata can affect people at any age. However, it is more common in children and teenagers. Fortunately, in about 50% of them, the hair grows back within 12 months without the need for treatment.


The condition is unpredictable and can occur in cycles where hair grows back and falls out, but it can also stop and never reappear.

If a parent has Alopecia Areata, what is the likelihood that their child will also develop Alopecia Areata?

It is not common for children to inherit Alopecia Areata from their parents. The likelihood of your children developing Alopecia Areata is low. Your children’s children, your grandchildren even have a lower risk of developing Alopecia Areata.

However, if both parents have Alopecia Areata, they are more likely to develop Alopecia Areata. This condition is classified as an autoimmune disease. The most important factors in the development of this condition are genetics and environmental factors.

The heredity factor is so complex that even if someone has the genes, it does not mean that they will develop this condition.

Does Alopecia Areata affect people differently according to race and ethnicity?

It has been assumed that Alopecia Areata affects all races in the same way. Although recent studies have shown that this is not true, a study conducted on white, black and Hispanic women showed that black and Hispanic women have a higher risk of being affected by Alopecia Areata compared to white women.

What is the treatment?

Currently, there is no treatment for alopecia areata, although some doctors recommend the following medications that may help.

Intralesional corticosteroid injections

The corticosteroid is injected into the skin by a dermatologist using a tiny needle and repeated every four to six weeks. The advantage of this treatment is that you can see hair growth within four weeks. However, there are some disadvantages with this treatment, namely the temporary depressions on the skin that can be caused by the injections.
a bottle of minoxidil treatment for hair loss laying on top of a rock

Topical Minoxidil 5%

This is a solution containing 5% minoxidil that you can spray on the scalp and beard to stimulate hair growth.

Topical corticosteroids

They can help reduce inflammation around the hair follicles. You can find these topical steroids in various forms as solutions, foams, creams and ointments.

Anthralin cream

Which can be a treatment for severe Alopecia Areata. 

Are there new treatments?

Many researchers continue to study Alopecia Areata because it affects a large portion of the population. Each year, more than 200,000 new cases occur in the United States, affecting their daily lives and psyche of those affected.

A promising study shows that one in three patients treated with arthritis medication had seen good results.

Phase 3 clinical trials use baricitinib, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Phase 3 clinical trials are very important because they are the last test before a new treatment can be approved by the FDA in the US.

 

The researchers said that baricitinib prevents the immune cells from attacking the hair follicles and damaging them.

Alopecia Areata types

Alopecia Areata is the most common form of this condition, but there are other types as well:

– Alopecia Areata totalis is a hair loss condition in which you lose all the hair on your scalp.

– Alopecia Areata universalis is a condition in which all the hair on your body falls out.

– Diffuse Alopecia Areata causes a gradual thinning of your hair, rather than bald spots.

– Ophiasis Alopecia Areata causes a band of hair loss to encircle the head.

Alopecia Areata symptoms

People who have Alopecia Areata often suffer from severe hair loss. Some of the symptoms are:

– Bald patches on your scalp, body or other areas.

– You lose more hair in cold weather

– A large amount of hair can be lost in a short period of time.

– Individual hairs may grow together to form a larger bald spot.

– Hair may fall out in one place and grow back in another.

– Toenails and fingernails may become brittle and pitted.

There might be no rash or redness at the bald spots, but you may feel an itching or burning sensation on your skin.

Contact us

Should you like to Whatsapp Lorraine directly to ask about her experience with hair loss and the hair re-growth long journey she faced, please do get in touch.

Lorraine Lambert Whatsapp:  +353 879221219