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Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is hair loss that appears in patches on the scalp, but can appear anywhere on the body.

alopeciaareataAlopecia areata is caused by a problem with the body’s immune system, it mistakenly attacks the hair follicle, arrests the anagen,(growing phase of hair), the hair moves to telogen, (resting phase of hair growth), the hair is then shed quickly leaving the bald patches.  Some peoples’ genes can make them more susceptible to alopecia areata, 10% - 20% of cases report a family history of the condition. Alopecia areata can occur at any age, although it's more common in people aged 15-29. It affects one or two people in every 1,000 in the UK.

In most cases of alopecia areata the hair will grow back in a few months.  At first, the hair may grow back fine and white, but over time should thicken and regain its normal colour.  Sometimes alopecia areata will spread and develop into either alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis.

Alopecia does not have any one reliable cure, however there are treatments that can be given with varying degrees of success:

Cortisone injections to the loss area on the scalp prove successful in many patients, the hair will regrow in the area injected.

Topical steroids and minoxidil report a variable success, however if treatment is ceased the hair loss returns.

Ultra Violet Light therapy has proven to be beneficial and is often used in conjunction with an irritant to stimulate the scalp and follicles.

New treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma, (PRP), and Laser Light Therapy are showing some good results and research in this area continues.