The hair loss condition known as alopecia areata is brought about by autoimmune causes. It is the result of the body mistaking its own hair follicles as a foreign object and sends out white blood cells to attack it. This slowly causes them to shrink and eventually lose hair. How alopecia areata comes about is unknown. There are some who theorise that it is brought about by stress or even through genetic factors. What exactly triggers it however has yet to be determined.
Alopecia areata is characterised by the random appearance of smooth, round bald spots all over the scalp. These bald spots do not remain in the same area and can move around every so often. This condition also comes about suddenly and often disappears just as quickly. It can however, progress into a more severe state called alopecia totalis or the loss of hair over the entire head. A related condition is called alopecia universalis or the loss of hair over the entire body.
This condition would find it difficult to be treated by a hair transplant. The two most popular options available are the follicular unit transplantation (FUT) method and the follicular unit extraction (FUE) method. Both require donor areas from which to harvest healthy hair follicles from. These are to be implanted unto a balding area. The nature of alopecia areata however is very volatile. Its bald areas can move around without warning, leaving new areas exposed. This would not bode well with a hair transplant treatment because of the long recovery period before the transplanted hair is able to exhibit substantial growth. It is expected that the transplanted hair created through an FUT or FUE procedure will fall out after a month or so. This will start to grow back after about three months at the earliest and will probably take about six months before it starts to grow to a certain length. To treat alopecia areata through a hair transplant procedure would be akin to chasing the bald spots about the scalp. Its constant movement and treatment might result in a patchwork of hair. There would be bald spots created by alopecia areata, recovering donor areas where hair was extracted from and the transplanted area where hair follicles are starting to regrow hair strands.
There are other ways to treat this condition. The use of corticosteroids is one such method that acts to suppress the immune system. This prevents the white blood cells from attacking the hair follicles and allowing it to grow. It could also lower the immune system and could make the person open to unwanted illnesses however. Another method is to apply minoxidil. It is popularly known as the topical cream sold under the brand name Rogaine. This is to be applied twice a day unto the balding areas of the scalp and works to widen the hair follicles making the treated area look denser. Rogaine is to be used daily to enjoy its continued benefits and cessation in its application would immediately bring about hair loss. The known side effects of minoxidil are itchiness and chest pains. Stress reduction is also a recommended tactic to help remedy alopecia areata. It is true that there has yet to be clinical studies to conclude how stress is connected to this condition. There are however, cases of balding that could be associated with the presence of stress.