Hair loss affects everyone, and unfortunately, it doesn’t spare women. Normal loss of hair is about 50-100 strands per day. The daily hair shedding is part of the natural cycle of hair. Some hair falls out while more grows back. Interrupting the normal hair growth cycle results in hair loss. As a result, the quantity of hairs that fall is greater than the quantity of hair that grows.
The human hair has three growth phases or cycles: The anagen phase is also known as the growth phase. Hair starts to grow in this phase and usually lasts for about 2-8 years. The second phase is the catagen phase, also known as the transition phase. In the catagen phase the hair follicles shrink, this process usually lasts for between a fortnight to one month. Phase three of the cycle is the telogen state, also called the resting phase. At the end of the telogen phase, hair begins to fall out.
Hair loss in women is when a woman experiences an excessive or heavy hair loss (When the hair follicles enter the telogen phase). Excessive hair loss can range from several different factors; hereditary, side effects of certain medications, underlying health issues, hairstyles, or autoimmune disorder. Hair loss is also referred to as ‘alopecia’. Hair loss can affect anyone, but it is most common in certain groups. Hair loss in women is common among; Women older than 40, women who have just had babies, women affected by certain medication and chemotherapy, and women who wear tight hairstyles. Alopecia Areata is probably the second most prevalent types of hair loss in women.
Alopecia Areata in women
Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition that causes your hair to fall out in patches. It is usually not noticeable at first but may later become noticeable. According to research, females are more likely to experience alopecia areata than men. The reason though is not clear.
This condition develops when the human immune system attacks your hair follicles resulting in loss of hair. The hair follicles are structures from which the human hair grows. An autoimmune condition occurs when the body mistakes healthy cells for foreign substances. To protect the body, the immune system naturally defends the body from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances.
In alopecia areata, the immune system wrongly attacks the hair follicles, making them shrink and stop producing hair. Unlike the female pattern hair loss that is the gradual loss of hair over a large area of the scalp, alopecia areata only affects small spots on the scalp. In a few cases, it may also affect other areas of your body, such as the eyebrows and eyelashes. It develops slowly, and sometimes it results in total or complete hair loss. Alopecia areata can prevent hair from growing back. When hair grows back, there’s a tendency that the hair may fall out again.
Although it’s been difficult to pin down the exact cause of Alopecia areata, it often occurs in women who have a family history of autoimmune conditions. For this reason, scientists suspect that genetics may contribute to the development of this hair loss condition. According to research, it is also believed that some environmental factors may trigger alopecia areata in women who are genetically susceptible to it. The quantity or extent of hair loss varies from individual to individual.
The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. You begin to lose hair in small patches from the scalp and sometimes other areas of your body. However, hair loss is not enough to diagnose alopecia areata. Visit your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis if you begin to lose hair more than you should daily (50-100 strands).
Types of Alopecia Areata.
There are several types of Alopecia areata. Each type is characterized by the extent or degree of hair loss and other symptoms that you may experience. Each type of Alopecia has a different treatment method, as well. Some of the common types of alopecia areata include:
- Alopecia Totalis: Alopecia Areata is usually hair loss in small areas or spots on the scalp or body. But Alopecia totalis a type of alopecia areata which occurs when hair loss expands throughout the entire scalp.
- Alopecia Universalis: This type of alopecia areata occurs when there’s hair loss across the face, such as the eyebrows and eyelashes and other areas of the body.
- Diffuse Alopecia Areata: Like female pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia, diffuse alopecia areata is the sudden and unexpected thinning of the hair on the entire scalp.
Treatment for Alopecia Areata
There is currently no permanent cure for diffuse alopecia areata or a single treatment option that works for everyone with alopecia areata. However, there are some treatment options available to stop the autoimmune disorder or promote hair regrowth. The type or extent of your alopecia areata and your age will determine your treatment options.
Treatment options for Alopecia Areata are as follows:
- Over the counter medication: Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication sold under the generic brand Rogaine. It is applied to the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and other parts of the body affected by alopecia areata. It helps to stimulate hair regrowth. Although minoxidil may take a year before you start to see results, it is safe with little to no side effects. Research shows that topical minoxidil is only effective on women with mild alopecia areata
- Corticosteroid creams: These are medicines or drugs applied directly to the skin to reduce inflammation & irritation and stimulate hair growth on the body’s parts affected by alopecia areata. It is usually available in creams, lotions, foams, gels, and ointments.
- Oral immunosuppressants: Oral immunosuppressants are medications taken orally to block the immune system’s attack on the hair follicles. You should limit the use of this medication for a short period of time due to the possible risk of side effects such as high blood pressure and kidney damage.
- Steroid Injections: These are common and effective options for mild alopecia areata. Steroid injections help to regrow hair on bald patches or spots. This treatment has to be repeated for hair regrowth.
Although alopecia areata affects millions of women, you don’t have to suffer alone. Vinci Hair Clinic has successfully been treating women suffering from a variety of hair loss types, and we’re ready to help you too. Why not give Vinci a call or complete our booking form for your free consultation today.