Alopecia areata is a recurrent, non-scarring type of hair loss that can affect any part of the body that naturally has hair. Although this is a benign condition, people often have emotional and physchosocial distress related to this form of hair loss. Although most people do not notice any other symptom outside of losing hair, about 14% of those affected by alopecia areata experience a burning sensation at the site of the affected area. While the scalp is the most common area for hair loss, facial hair (beard, eyelashes) and the extremities are also susceptible.
There is no known cause for the onset of alopecia areata, but men and women do seem to be affected by this hair loss equally. While hair loss treatment is not necessary, because the condition is benign, most people choose to try different types. For women especially, but also for men, hair loss can have damaging consequences to the self esteem. Therefore, there are a variety of treatment options. Injections of corticosteroids that are administered every 4-6 weeks are available for adults. Topical corticosteroid therapy can be useful, especially in children who can not tolerate the injections. Treatment of the topical corticosteroids must be continued for at least 3 months before any hair regrowth can be expected, and this treatment must often be repeated for continued growth. Other treatments including Anthrallin, Topical Minoxidil, Allergic contact dermatitis, and systemic steroids are also options for treating this hair loss condition.
If you, or a loved one, has hair loss caused by alopecia areata call your dermatologist for a consultation to discuss a treatment therapy plan. Your dermatologist understands how hair loss can affect your life – personally, professionally, and emotionally. With the right treatment, your hair can begin to grow back as your alopecia areata is managed.
Posted on behalf of Dr. John Kayal, Northwest Georgia Dermatology