Throughout my career I have come across many cases of Alopecia (bald patches) in varying degrees of severity. My job is to work around the hair and give a haircut that can cover the areas as best as I can (if the cases are not TOO severe) Because this condition can affect both sexes (although most common in late teenage years, early childhood, young adulthood) it can happen with people of all ages so I wanted to write about the basics of Alopecia so people can understand and be made aware of it. We as hairstylists mostly come across Numbers 2 and 3 types (see below).
What is it?
It is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, usually the scalp. It can cause anywhere from one or two bald patches (which is most common) to can spread to the entire scalp and epidermis. Alopecia is NOT contagious. What types are there?
1. Diffuse Alopecia Areata – Hair lost more diffusely over the whole scalp
2. Alopecia Areata Monolocuris – One spot of baldness
3. Alopecia Areata Multilocularis – mutiple areas of hair loss
4. Alopecia Areata Totalis – Loss of all hair on the scalp
5. Alopecia Areata Universalis – Loss of all body hair
6. Alopecia Areata Barbae – limited only to the beard
What does it look like?
Here are show some different stages of Alopecia as mentioned above:
What causes it?
Some of the strong suggestions lead us to believe that the factors that cause it are:
Hereditary – Families with 1 or 2 affected family members or members with Autoimmune Disorder (in which the body attacks is own hair follicles) Emotional Stress, or an infectious agent/germ can trigger off the condition.
What can be done about it?
With cases where there are small patches involved, Steroid Injections are used in the sites. Other medications (ointments and topical cream) can also be used in different combinations. In 90% of cases, the hair will ultimately grow back. In more severe cases of hair loss, there has been limited success treating Alopecia, and in the case of Alopecia Totalis, adapting to the disease rather than trying to treat and cure it, is probably the best way to go. For example, wearing your baldhead as is, or wearing wigs. Remember that Bald is Beautiful as shown below: