A non-contagious immune skin condition that causes hair loss and appears in the form of circular or oval hairless spots on the scalp or other places without any scars or marks, and this means that there is no permanent damage to the hair follicles in most of those affected, and hair often grows in the affected areas, and hair growth may take months. It can occur at any age, but most cases occur in the teenage years, twenties, and thirties. When it occurs in children under the age of 10, it tends to be more extensive and developed.

Types of alopecia:
  • Alopecia areata (the most common): Hair loss occurs in the form of one or more spots on the scalp or other parts of the body.
  • Alopecia that affects the beard: Hair loss occurs in the form of patches in the beard area.
  • Alopecia Totalis: Hair loss occurs completely on the scalp.
  • Alopecia universalis (rare): Complete or almost complete hair loss occurs on the scalp, face, and the rest of the body.
It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, causing hair loss. There are several factors that lead to the appearance of the disease, but the cause is not yet known.

People with alopecia areata are more at risk of:
  • Suffering from another autoimmune disease (such as thyroiditis or vitiligo).
  • Asthma and allergies, especially eczema and hay fever (allergic rhinitis).
  • A family history of a relative suffering from alopecia (especially before the age of thirty) increases the risk of developing it.
Hair loss is the first sign, as it usually begins in the scalp, but may also occur in the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, or legs, where it may include:
- Sudden bald spots that take a round or oval shape.
- Bald spots have a smooth texture and are free of hair follicles.
Alopecia can affect the fingernails or toenails, as they appear in the form of scratches, white spots, roughness, or loss of shine. Rarely, there is a change in the shape of the nails or they're falling out.

When to see a doctor:
When you notice sudden hair loss and the appearance of bald spots, sudden hair loss could indicate a medical condition that requires treatment.

There is no definitive treatment for it, as the result of treatment depends on the response of the immune system, and hair often grows on its own, but there are medications that help reduce and control the disease, which also helps in hair re-growth more quickly, which may include:
  • Corticosteroids: anti-inflammatory drugs, which are sometimes in the form of a cream, local injection, or topical ointment applied to the skin.
  • Corticosteroid pills: They are not routinely prescribed; Because they have serious side effects.
  • Topical minoxidil for hair re-growth.
The patient often receives more than one treatment to obtain effective results.

The infection cannot be prevented, but it can be controlled by following health guidelines.

Instructions for those suffering from alopecia areata:
  • Comb the hair using a soft-bristled brush or a wide-toothed comb to gently style the hair.
  • Avoid hair and skin products that contain harmful chemicals (such as hair dyes).
  • Allow the hair to dry naturally instead of using a hair dryer or any other dryer that uses heat.
  • Apply comfortable hairstyles, because tight hairstyles (such as braids) can affect the scalp, causing more hair loss.
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and water-resistant, to the area of the scalp affected by alopecia.
  • Wear prescription glasses or sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun and dust when losing eyebrow or eyelash hair.
  • Wear hats to protect the scalp from the sun.
  • Protect affected areas from cold temperatures by keeping warm with hats and scarves.
  • Apply a layer of moisturizing Vaseline inside the nostrils when losing nose hair, to protect against dust, germs and small airborne particles.
  • Try to avoid stress as much as possible.
  • Obtain medical examinations recommended by the doctor.

Last Update : 15 October 2023 09:51 AM
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