Isn’t hair fall an inevitable part of your life. Well, if you are suffering from hair fall keep a check on it as hair falling out in patches is what alopecia areata is all about which can be unobserved effortlessly. But alopecia areata is one major reason for hair fall. How exactly does alopecia areata happen? That’s quite strange though, the immune system of your body will outbreak your hair follicles, generally the most healthy ones. Though alopecia areata is a kind of transmissible disease still that’s not the only cause of it. You will be stunned to learn that almost 6.8 million of the population of the US suffers from alopecia areata. At present, alopecia areata is cureless; nevertheless, there are various treatments for alopecia which will reduce your hair fall as well as help in speedy regrowth of your hair. If you want to learn about the causes and symptoms as well as the natural remedies for alopecia areata, make sure you take out a bit of time and give a read to this article.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is also known as a self-immune disease and very rightly so as the very own immune system of your body will lead to the breakage of your healthy hair follicles. Besides occurring in the scalp of your hair, it may lead to hair breakage even in your eyebrows, eyelashes, face, and other parts of the body as well. Alopecia Areata is patchy hair loss occurring abruptly. This disease can happen to anyone, be it male or female, but the early signs usually arise during your juvenile and adolescence before you cross the age of 30. Although a hereditary disease, it is perceived that only one or two among a five-member family suffers from alopecia areata. It is observed that if a child has inherited alopecia areata both the parents are the sufferers of this disease. Other than this alopecia areata may also occur due to stress. People suffering from diabetes, arthritis, and even celiac disease are at higher risk of attack. Alopecia areata does not have any complete remedy, however, the only sign of respite is that it is not life-threatening. Well, alopecia areata also has some brutality as well - It can be generally described as spot baldness. But if there is hair loss in multiple patches it is described as alopecia areata multilocularis. The condition of alopecia areata can be limited only to the beard, in such a situation, it is known as alopecia areata barbae. Complete loss of hair on the scalp is referred to as alopecia areata totalis while the hair loss from all parts of the body including the scalp is known as Alopecia Universalis. Do not get frightened to discover such types of peculiarities in your scalp or body. There is some alopecia areata treatment that will help prevent hair fall as well as help you in growing back your hair.
Causes Of Alopecia Areata
- We all know that our immune system helps fight all the foreign elements from entering our bodies. But in this regard, if you are suffering from alopecia areata understand that your immune system has misguided your healthy hair follicles as foreign invaders and attacks them. Hair follicles are the base from which your hair grows, attack on them primes to hair fall. Though there is no concrete answer to why this process happens.
- Alopecia areata can also happen due to extreme stress as many of you have the experience of hair loss due to stress.
- If anybody in your family is suffering from alopecia areata, you are at higher risk of getting prone to the disease genetically.
- A family member suffering from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, or diabetes will raise the concern of some other family member inheriting the disease of alopecia areata.
What are the Symptoms of Alopecia Areata?
- Hair loss is the main and primary symptom of alopecia areata. Loss of hair in small round patches exposing your scalp means you are suffering from alopecia areata. Spot baldness in one or two places means you are at the initial stages of the disease. It is being researched and found that in such mild symptoms your hair may grow back but it is impulsive. How much hair fall is normal is what you should be aware of.
- Most commonly found in children, the hair fall area may itch and can cause a bit of pain as well. It can be a permanent disease or a temporary one as the cycle of hair fall and hair growth varies from person to person.
- Alopecia areata beard or hair loss occurring in various parts of your face like eyelashes or eyebrows as well as the beard is also considered as a symptom.
- This can lead to a spontaneous delinquent, however, the first thing you might notice is tufts of hair falling out while taking shower or clusters of hair stuck to your pillow.
- Another common symptom is – patchy hair fall occurring on a particular side of your hair instead of spreading all over your scalp.
- Hair loss in a wide area is also a cause of this disease.
- Stiff nails developed as red nails are also a symptom of alopecia areata effect in fingernails or toenails is one basic symptom to recognize that this disease is evolving.
How to Diagnose Alopecia Areata?
- Alopecia areata is diagnosed mainly by examining the hair loss pattern. The intensity at which you are losing your hair along with the symptoms occurring is the main tool to diagnose alopecia areata.
- Hairs from the affected area are taken under a microscope to diagnose alopecia areata.
- Trichoscopy is also a very quick and straightforward way to diagnose alopecia areata as it can easily examine your scalp psoriasis.
- Though very rare, a lab test or skin biopsy might be needed to diagnose alopecia areata.
- In case the autoimmune diseases are generally not the cause of you developing alopecia areata, a blood test might help diagnose the disease.
Natural Remedies for Alopecia Areata
As there is no cure for alopecia and no medication permitted for the treatment of this disease, here are some natural remedies for alopecia areata.
As you might be well aware, onion juice is an excellent remedy for hair regrowth. Hence, applying onion juice or garlic gel to the areas suffering from alopecia areata will be a great solution for the regrowth of your hair.
Research states that a massage treatment for your hair made up of mixtures of various essential oils like lavender, rosewood, and thyme may come in handy for some people to overcome the disease of alopecia areata.
Green tea has tons of benefits and as you all might know the procedure for making green tea, this remedy might come in as one of the easiest to try out. Apply cooled-down green tea liquid into your scalp to get rid of this peculiar disease.
Some other oils like coconut, olive, jojoba, and castor might also help you out from this misery.
Other than green tea some other herbal supplements like ginseng and Chinese hibiscus might also help.
Excessive stress can lead to alopecia areata. Stay away from getting stressed out as it plays an important role in the formation of this disease. Try and maintain a restricted diet or diet with an auto-immune protocol which mainly includes meats and vegetables.
Other than these, try to cover up your scalp, protect your eyes if you are losing your eyelashes, and protect your affected areas from cold temperatures.
Although a skin disease, yet very different from others as it does not cause rashes and redness. Make sure you understand the type of alopecia areata you are suffering from, whether it is mild or acute before deciding on any kind of treatment. Natural remedies might not work for people suffering from acute alopecia areata. For such instances, medical treatment is available. Steroid injections might cure mild alopecia areata. Oral treatments like consuming cortisone tablets might fight the disease. Other light therapy or radiation treatment will also help overcome alopecia areata. But before you take any decision, do consult a dermatologist for operative treatment.
Alopecia areata is a very peculiar disease and can be challenging if it affects your entire scalp. Though the prevention measures are limited since the cause is still unknown, don't get depressed. Protect your hair from environmental dust and heat and take necessary precautions right away as soon as you start noticing even mild symptoms. As this takes place mostly during your teens, it might affect your appearance as well which effortlessly can lead to an emotional breakdown. But don’t forget that this disease is not life-threatening and may be temporary as well, as in some cases hair regrows on its own without any treatment.
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Dr Jaspreet Sarna
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) and Gold Medalist from Baroda Medical College. She has a decade long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.