Everything you need to know about Alopecia Areata

Everything you need to know about Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is a medical condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles causing hair to fall out in large clumps.

The damage to the follicles is not permanent. This disease is common in younger people usually below 20 years of age.

Alopecia Areata normally starts when clumps of hair disappear, exposing smooth, round patches on the scalp. If Alopecia Areata occurs in patches; then the hair is much more likely to grow back.

Studies show that about 10% of people with this condition never regrow their lost hair.

Permanent hair loss occurs under the following conditions:

1. It is a hereditary family condition

2. You experience this condition at a very young age

3. You are prone to allergies

Alopecia Areata does not have a complete cure; but there are a range of treatments out there, the effectiveness of which vary from person to person.


1. Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are the most preferred treatment for alopecia and they are usually administered by injection or lotion.

Corticosteroids are only effective for as long as they are being used: as soon as treatment is stopped, the hairs begin to disappear once more.

4-6 monthly injections are a must for significant improvement.

2. Finasteride

Finasteride is a fully licensed synthetic inhibitor. The enzyme converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Finasteride is normally used for the treatment of male pattern baldness.

Studies show hat 80% of men with pattern baldness experienced hair regrowth however it is vital to be aware of the intensely uncomfortable side effects of Finasteride. These include:

impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm;

abnormal ejaculation;

swelling of the hands or feet;

swelling or tenderness in your breasts;

dizziness, weakness;

feelings of wooziness or feeling feint.


3. Dithranol

Dithranol is an ointment that is usually applied on the scalp and is perfect for treating psoriasis (a skin disease that causes red patches). Dithranol is highly effective and works by just having contact with the skin for at least, 10 minutes. Dithranol also has side effects however, these are much less severe than Finasteride. The effects of Dithranol include brownish staining of the treated skin or the surrounding skin (this will disappear within one to two weeks after finishing treatment), and the temporary staining of fingernails or hair.

If you are experiencing unusually high levels of hair loss, visit your doctor immediately, don’t put it off! In the large majority of cases Alopecia is treatable, so you have nothing to fear!

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