Alopecia is becoming a real concern for millions of women in the UK and is a sensitive subject that many would rather not talk about. This short article introduces the subject of alopecia and discusses the key information that women need to know about hair loss.
Types of alopecia
Generally alopecia can be divided into two main types:
- Alopecia areata (hair loss occurs in patches across the scalp)
- Alopecia universalis (complete hair loss on the scalp and entire body)
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the hair follicles, halting the production of hair cells. This causes hair to fall out in clumps from the scalp. Alopecia universalis, on the other hand, results in a total loss of hair throughout the whole body.
Causes of alopecia universalis
Scientists are not entirely sure what causes the Alopecia universalis. A majority of the cases seem to be related to episodes of high stress in the sufferer. Shock and trauma have also been recorded as triggers of this condition.
An immune system response causes hair follicles to enter into their resting or telegen phase. This means they no longer produce new hair cells and balding occurs. It is not uncommon for the process to reverse should the cause of the autoimmune response be resolved. In some cases, hair cell production resumes automatically after some time, however this is rare without medical intervention.
Treatment options for alopecia
For stress-related hair loss, dealing with the cause of the stress is often enough to reverse the impact of alopecia. Hair follicles enter the growing or anagen phase and start producing hair cells again.
Treatment options include the following:
- Applying a topical steroid cream
- Steroid injections
- Medical ultraviolet light
Dealing with the cause of stress still remains the most effective method of combating alopecia, kicking the immune system back into gear and initiating new hair growth.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia is a common cause of hair loss in African American/Afro Caribbean women and known as hot-comb alopecia in some circles. Hot styling tools and harmful hair-relaxing chemicals have been blamed for this type of hair loss since the 1950s. However, studies have shown that women who have not used these styling techniques may also suffer from the condition.
The effects of alopecia can be managed and in some cases reversed, if caught early. The experts at Vinci Hair Clinic can help with diagnosis of your condition and offer a variety of treatment options.