Alopecia Areata: Looks and Treating It -

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December 09, 2022

If you've looked around at the news recently, you may have heard something called alopecia areata, but what does it mean? Well, the term "alopecia" is a broad term used to refer to all types of hair loss, and as you know, hair loss is a common issue that many people face during their lifetimes. That said, alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body, mainly due to the body's own immune system attacking air follicles.

What Are the Causes of Alopecia Areata?

While the exact cause of alopecia areata is still unknown, some factors are thought to play a role in the development of the condition.

One of the main causes of alopecia areata is believed to be a genetic predisposition. This means that the condition may be passed down from generation to generation. In addition, those with a family history of alopecia areata are more likely to develop the condition themselves.

Environmental factors may also contribute to the development of alopecia areata. Exposure to certain chemicals, pollutants, and other toxins may increase the risk of developing the condition. In addition, viruses and bacteria may trigger the immune system to attack the hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

Stress is another possible cause of alopecia areata. Stress can cause the body's immune system to become overactive and attack the hair follicles. This can lead to hair loss in those who are already predisposed to the condition.

Finally, there is evidence to suggest that certain medical conditions may be linked to alopecia areata. These include thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, as well as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

How Can You Tell If You Have Alopecia Areata?

The most visible symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, or other parts of the body. The patches of hair loss can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. In some cases, hair will regrow on its own after a few months, but in other cases, it may require treatment.

In addition to patchy hair loss, other symptoms of alopecia areata can include itching, burning, or tingling in the affected area. Some people may also experience a feeling of tightness in the scalp or the presence of small bumps.

How Is Alopecia Areata Treated?

The first line of treatment for alopecia areata is often topical medications. These medications are usually corticosteroids, which are designed to suppress the immune system's activity and reduce inflammation in the scalp. A topical corticosteroid cream or ointment is usually applied directly to the affected area twice daily. Topical medications can be quite effective at slowing the progression of hair loss and often help regrow some of the lost hair.

Another option for treating alopecia areata is intralesional corticosteroids, which are injected directly into the affected area. These injections are usually given every 4-6 weeks and can help reduce inflammation and encourage hair regrowth.

In addition to topical medications and injections, some people may also benefit from light therapy. This type of therapy involves exposing the scalp to bright light in order to stimulate the hair follicles and encourage hair regrowth. Light therapy is usually done in a dermatologist's office and may be combined with other treatments.

Finally, some people may also benefit from taking oral medications to help slow the progression of alopecia areata. These medications may include corticosteroids, antimalarials, and immunosuppressants. While these medications can be effective, they can also have serious side effects, so they should only be taken under a doctor's supervision.


Alopecia areata is a frustrating condition, but with the right treatment, it is possible to slow the progression of hair loss and even regrow some of the lost hair. If you are experiencing hair loss due to alopecia areata, it is important to speak to your doctor about the best treatment options for you!

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