Alopecia Hair Loss

Alopecia Aerata

Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins. The damage to the follicle is usually not permanent. Experts do not know why the immune system attacks the follicles. Alopecia areata is most common in people younger than 20, but children and adults of any age may be affected. Women and men are affected equally.

Over 6.6 million people in the United States and 147 million worldwide have, had or will develop Alopecia Areata at some point in their lives. The disease affects significantly more females than males. Alopecia Areata can occur in people who may have no other health or skin issues and often first appears in late childhood or young adulthood. The condition is not contagious; it often occurs in people who have affected family members, suggesting that it is hereditary.

What happens in alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata usually begins when clumps of hair fall out, resulting in totally smooth, round hairless patches on the scalp. In some cases the hair may become thinner without noticeable patches of baldness, or it may grow and break off, leaving short stubs (called “exclamation point” hair). In rare cases, complete loss of scalp hair and body hair occurs. The hair loss often comes and goes—hair will grow back over several months in one area but will fall out in another area.

When alopecia areata results in patches of hair loss, the hair usually grows back in a few months.1 Although the new hair is usually the same color and texture as the rest of the hair, it sometimes is fine and white.

About 10% of people with this condition may never regrow hair.2 You are more likely to have permanent hair loss if you:

  • Have a family history of the condition.
  • Have the condition at a young age (before puberty) or for longer than 1 year.
  • Have another autoimmune disease.
  • Are prone to allergies (atopy).
  • Have extensive hair loss.
  • Have abnormal color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.

In some people with alopecia areata, the fingernails and toenails become pitted—they look as if a pin had made many tiny dents in them. They may also look like sandpaper.

How is Alopecia Areata diagnosed?

Alopecia Areata is diagnosed through a medical history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask you questions about your hair loss, look at the pattern of your hair loss, and examine your scalp. And he or she may tug gently on a few hairs or pull some out.

If the reason for your hair loss is not clear, your doctor may do tests to check for a disease that could be causing your hair loss. Tests include:

  • Hair analysis. Your doctor will take a sample of your hair and examine it under a microscope. A scalp sample is also sometimes taken.
  • Blood tests, including testing for a specific condition, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism).

    Alopecia Totalis

    Alopecia Totalis

    This is where a person loses all hair on the scalp only.

    Telogen Effluvium
    Telogen (TE)

    TE is probably the second most common form of hairloss dermatologists see.  Telogen effluvium (TE) is probably the second most common form of hair loss dermatologists see. High fever, illness, surgical procedures, childbirth, stress, thyroid disease, crash diets, and some medications can cause the actively growing hairs to cycle to a resting then falling out stage. The result is all-over shedding, or TE hair loss

    It is a poorly defined condition; very little research has been done to understand TE. In essence though, TE happens when there is a change in the number of hair follicles growing hair. If the number of hair follicles producing hair drops significantly for any reason during the resting, or telogen phase, there will be a significant increase in dormant, telogen stage hair follicles. The result is shedding, or TE hair loss.

    TE appears as a diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp, which may not be even all over. It can be a bit more severe in some areas of the scalp than others. Most often, the hair on top of the scalp thins more than it does at the sides and back of the scalp. There is usually no hair line recession, except in a few rare chronic cases.

    The shed hairs are typically telogen hairs, which can be recognized by a small bulb of keratin on the root end. Whether the keratinized lump is pigmented or unpigmented makes no difference; the hair fibers are still typical telogen hairs.

    People with TE never completely lose all their scalp hair, but the hair can be noticeably thin in severe cases. While TE is often limited to the scalp, in more serious cases TE can affect other areas, like the eyebrows or pubic region.

    Alopecia Universalis

    This is where all body hair releases including but not limited to: Scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.

    Having dealt with all stages of Alopecia since the age of 13 1/2, and now successfully live with Alopecia Univsersalis,

    I understand all the emotions this condition can create. I found that the secret to creating peace of mind while on this rollercoaster was to make sure I could look in the mirror and be wearing something that felt and looked like “me” and not a woman looking like she was wearing a thick helmet of hair! However wigs are an artistry and are a process so you just need to have a little patience while you find what is correct for you.  

    Fortunately, those who suffer from Alopecia Areata do not need to sacrifice their self-image and style due to the many hair replacement options available today. Women who have lost only a patch or two of hair may opt for partial hairpieces to replace just the areas they have lost. For women with Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis, however, investing in a high-quality wig can be their salvation.

    If you are hesitant to wear a wig because you may think it can look phony, CreatedHair offers hair replacement options that are indiscernible from your natural hair on its best day. While 100% natural human hair wigs cost more than their cheaper counterparts, they are truly a fine long-term investment for women with Alopecia. They give the wearer a natural look and can be washed and styled throughout their long lifetime with proper care.

    Women with Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis are concerned with not only quality of appearance, but also secure, comfortable fits on their heads. Some wigs and hairpieces traditionally clip into some of your existing hair, but women with Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis obviously do not have that choice.  For this situation, we suggest either two sided wig tape or our Wig Secure™ WigBand, a comfortable lightweight medical band placed on your head and worn under a wig that will hold the wig securely in place.

    CREATEDHAIR has a variety of comfortable base wig caps to choose from.

    One option is a CreatedHair custom-made wig from the Luxury European Hair Collection with the 100% Hand-Tied or Close Wefted Cap with Silicone Strips, which was made for those who prefer no tape or glue on their scalp, yet crave lightness, breathability, all day use and, above all, natural, beautiful hair.

    Another option is made with an all Lace Top Crown Cap — or Lace Front – Our Most Premium Wig—combining ultimate comfort with the most beautiful authentic look in the front and crown.

    For those of you who want to achieve this same look but prefer more durability than lace we suggest our cap with a Thin Front Edge with added baby hair.

    Although Alopecia Areata is a devastating disease that can strike a woman at any time. Please know that if you or any of your loved ones are afflicted by the condition, you still have options to ensure that you never lose your confidence and can continue to be and feel who you have always been!

    Some helpful additional info:

    AlopeciaWorld.com
    NAAF.org