What is Alopecia areata ?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, whereby ones own immunity is attacking the hair bulb on certain hairs of the scalp. This results is areas of hair loss on the scalp or other hair bearing areas on the body.

Who gets Alopecia areata ?

Both children and adults can get alopecia areata. Those who have another autoimmune condition or a close family member with an autoimmune condition may be more susceptible to this.

How do I know if I have it ?

Alopecia areata hair loss usually occurs in round patches anywhere on the scalp, and or other hair bearing areas of the face or body. Additionally, it is non-scarring, so that the skin where hair loss occurred will not have any scarring within it and the hair follicles’ opening on the skin will be preserved.

How can I treat it ?

If you think you might have alopecia areata, it is important to see a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment. The mainstay treatment for this is in-office scalp injections of a steroid into the affected skin. This is usually done monthly. Additionally, prescription topical steroids and over the counter Rogaine (minoxidil) may be used at home in conjunction with office treatments. Finally, it may be helpful to keep the scalp healthy by controlling any underlying inflammation with regular washing. For more extensive or rapid hair loss, oral immunosuppressants may be needed.

When should I see a dermatologist about it ?

You should see a dermatologist for your alopecia areata as soon as you notice hair loss, to confirm the diagnosis and start therapy.

Additional Resources:
National Alopecia Areata Foundation