Alopecia areata is treated by: Dermatologists, who specialize in conditions of the skin, hair, and nails.
Pull Test and Tug Test
This simple test measures the severity of hair loss. During a pull test, a dermatologist grasps small sections of hair, about 40 strands, from different parts of the scalp and gently tugs. If six or more strands fall out, you have what's known as active hair loss.
Effective treatments for some types of hair loss are available. You might be able to reverse hair loss, or at least slow it. With some conditions, such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata), hair may regrow without treatment within a year. Treatments for hair loss include medications and surgery.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
In alopecia areata, the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, causing inflammation. Researchers do not fully understand what causes the immune attack on hair follicles, but they believe that both genetic and environmental (non-genetic) factors play a role.
According to Mayo Clinic, if your hair loss is caused by a medical condition, the cost of some treatments might be covered by insurance but in most cases, insurance will not cover hair loss treatment because hair loss is not a medical condition itself.
There is currently no cure for alopecia areata, although there are some forms of treatment that can be suggested by doctors to help hair re-grow more quickly. The most common form of alopecia areata treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system.
A doctor may be able to diagnose alopecia areata simply by looking at the extent of your hair loss and examining a few hair samples under a microscope. Your doctor may order a scalp biopsy to rule out other conditions that cause hair loss, including fungal infections like tinea capitis.
The extent of alopecia (how much hair has fallen out) varies and links to the different subtypes. Some said their hair loss involved one small patch about the size of a 1p coin which regrew after a few weeks or months. Others developed more patches which sometimes joined up into bigger bald areas over time.
Ways to Stop Alopecia Areata from Spreading or Worsening
Avoiding unnecessary hair or scalp trauma, reducing stress and analyzing your diet are all worthwhile endeavors when attempting to prevent alopecia areata from spreading.
On the AIP elimination diet, you will avoid grains, legumes, nightshades (such as potatoes and peppers), dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, sugar, oil and food additives. After a few months, you can work the excluded foods back in one at a time to figure out which foods trigger an inflammatory reaction.
Can a Blood Test Detect Alopecia? Yes, a blood test can diagnose alopecia. Your doctor may order several blood works to determine the cause of the hair loss along with a scalp biopsy.
The first sign of alopecia areata is often a round or oval bald patch on the scalp.
Is alopecia contagious? Alopecia is not contagious. Individuals who develop alopecia areata typically have both a family history and some type of environmental trigger, such as emotional or physical stress.
The condition can develop at any age, although most people develop alopecia areata for the first time before the age of 30. Alopecia areata is not life-threatening and does not cause physical pain.
Everyone is born with hundreds of thousands of hair on the head. The hair cycle consists of three phases: the growth phase, which is called anagen, the resting phase, which is called catagen, and the shedding phase, which is the telogen phase.
How Long does Hair Loss Last? In half of patients with alopecia areata, individual episodes of hair loss last less than one year, and hair grows back without treatment. These patients may experience recurrent episodes of hair loss that spontaneously regrow or respond quickly to treatments.
Patchy hair loss (alopecia areata)
In the type of patchy hair loss known as alopecia areata, hair loss occurs suddenly and usually starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap.
Alopecia areata (AA) occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicle. Studies have shown a relationship between AA and low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D should be supplemented if levels are low. However, more studies are needed to determine the effect of iron and zinc supplementation on AA patients.
Female-pattern baldness is a pattern of hair loss (alopecia) caused by hormones, aging and genetics. Unlike male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness is an over-all thinning which maintains the normal hairline.
Although alopecia is one of the most prevalent dermatologic conditions in the United States, it is typically viewed as a benign process with only cosmetic consequences. Androgenic alopecia has an especially strong perception as a cosmetic management issue.
Injections of corticosteroids: To help your hair regrow, your dermatologist injects this medication into the bald (or thinning) areas. These injections are usually given every 4 to 8 weeks as needed, so you will need to return to your dermatologist's office for treatment.
If you have an underlying health condition that's causing hair loss, your insurance may cover treatments as part of your care. For example, your hair loss may be caused by alopecia areata. In this case, your health plan would likely cover some female pattern hair loss treatment as part of your overall care plan.
One of the early symptoms of alopecia could be changes to your nail beds. If you notice pitting, small craters, or white patches on your nails, this could be a warning sign.