Alopecia Areata Causes and Treatments
At Chicago Hair Institute, we offer a comprehensive range of advanced surgical hair loss solutions designed to address all types of hair thinning and baldness. While many people automatically - and understandably - associate hair restoration with pattern baldness, a significant number of our patients seek treatment for hair loss due to skin diseases and other medical conditions. Among the most common of these conditions is alopecia areata.
Unfortunately, hair transplant surgery is generally not a viable option for patients with alopecia areata. This does not mean, however, that there are not a number of good treatment options to explore for patients with the condition. At our hair restoration clinic in Chicago, alopecia areata causes and treatments can be discussed in detail during confidential consultations between patients and our experienced, highly esteemed hair loss expert, Dr. Raymond Konior.
If you or someone you love suffers from alopecia areata, we encourage you to meet with Dr. Konior at your convenience to discuss your possible treatment options.
What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss characterized by the sudden loss of hair, usually in small patches. These patches can occur on the scalp, in the beard area, in the eyebrows, in the eyelashes, on the chest, or elsewhere on the body. The disease affects both males and females and can occur at any age, although most people experience the first attack before the age of 20.
In most cases, the hair loss is incomplete and temporary; however, in extreme cases, all of one’s hair can fall out, and the hair loss can be permanent.
What causes alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body mistakes its own cells - in this case, the cells that comprise the hair follicles - as foreign bodies and attack them. This causes the hair to fall out. Like other autoimmune diseases, the exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown; however, people who have relatives with the disease or other autoimmune diseases are at slightly greater risk of alopecia areata. The triggers for hair loss are also unknown, but may include stress, illness, infection, and certain medications. There is currently no cure for the condition.
How is the condition treated?
It is worth noting that alopecia areata is not a dangerous condition; however, it can affect a person’s self-esteem. Some patients have had excellent success with steroid injections or topical steroid creams and gels. We have observed mixed results with minoxidil. Some patients who augment their steroid therapy with minoxidil achieve good results, as well.
While hair transplantation is generally not advisable for alopecia areata sufferers, that is not to say that the option cannot be discussed. There are rare cases in which strategic transplantation, especially in the eyebrow area, has been successful. What all patients must understand is that alopecia areata is an extremely unpredictable disease and that, therefore, no treatment can be guaranteed to produce results. Nevertheless, if you are self-conscious about your appearance due to alopecia areata, it is better to explore your treatment possibilities and take a chance on success than to do nothing at all.
Learn More about Alopecia Areata Causes and Treatments
To learn more about alopecia areata causes and treatments, please contact Chicago Hair Institute today.