What is Alopecia Areata?

alopecia areata

alopecia areataWhen the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles, it can lead to devastating hair loss, a condition known as alopecia areata. Here’s everything you need to know about the condition.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that affects approximately 5 million people in the United States alone. This results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles as if they’re harmful foreign invaders. As a result, the hair follicles shrink, causing sudden hair loss. The follicles will also stop producing new hair strands, eventually leading to baldness. And unlike male or female pattern baldness gradual effect, people with alopecia areata will experience abrupt hair loss.

People have varying experiences with this condition. Some have bald patches in their scalp while others may also experience hair fall in their eyebrows, beard, eyelashes, and other areas of the body.

In rare cases, hair loss could be more extensive. Some people report losing all their hair in the scalp–a condition known as alopecia totalis. And the rarest form of this condition is alopecia universalis when people lose all their hair in the entire body.

What Causes Alopecia Areata?

There’s no proven cause of this condition. But researchers discovered that people with alopecia areata often have a family history of other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, and Addison’s disease, prompting them to suspect genetics as one of the major cause behind this disorder.

How to Treat Alopecia Areata?

Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for this disorder. However, some treatments can help manage and mitigate hair loss. Here are some practical things you can do:

Stress Reduction

Although there’s no scientific study proving stress to be one of the causes of alopecia areata, anecdotal evidence shows that stress is one of the triggers of this condition.

Low-Level Laser Therapy

This non-surgical hair loss treatment employs a device with a low-level laser to deliver light energy to the scalp. This increases blood supply to the hair follicles, which helps strengthen the hair.


Wigs are not just for aesthetics, they’re also good at protecting the scalp from the sun and from extreme weather.

Coping with Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata does not just attack hair follicles, it can also take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Some people with this condition report feeling depressed and isolated. To combat this, it’s important to join support groups to help you deal with the psychological aspects of this condition.

In most cases, if you have alopecia areata, your hair could grow back. And even if it doesn’t, there are lots of hair replacement options you can consider. And even if it doesn’t, Custom Hair Tampa Bay has hair replacement options you can consider. To schedule a free consultation click here.


Photo Credit: cherylholt Via Pixabay