What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is quite common it attacks the hair follicle, the tiny organs in the skin that produce hairs. Typically, the hair falls out in coin-shaped patches. The patches are not itchy, red or scaly, and the skin looks normal. Although alopecia does not cause the sufferer physical pain, hair loss can be the source of deep emotional distress.
Alopecia is a condition that is seen frequently by our consultants and depending on the severity of the condition and the stage it has reached, treatment for alopecia in many cases can be very successful.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alopecia
Below are some frequently asked questions about alopecia. If you feel you need more information then why not arrange a FREE confidential and no obligation consultation.
Alopecia is an autoimmune hair loss disease that affects men, women and children of any age. The onset of the hair loss is often sudden, random and frequently recurrent. The different types of alopecia are:
Alopecia Areata: Used to describe hair loss occurring in patches, usually small and round, anywhere on the body.
Alopecia Totalis: Total loss of the hair on the scalp.
Alopecia Universalis: Total loss of all hair on the body.
Androgenetic Alopecia: Male pattern baldness and Female pattern baldness (which is not auto-immune). While the disease itself is not damaging to bodily health in any other way, apart from possible changes in the appearance of the nails, coping with hair loss can prove challenging
The body’s immune system wrongly attacks the growing cells in the body’s hair-producing `follicles’, where the hair starts to grow. This stops them producing new hair and causes existing hair to fall out. The cells which produce the hair, the follicles, do still remain active so with the right treatments the potential for hair to start re-growing is always there. A person’s ethnic origin, social status, their sex or age has no apparent bearing on the likelihood of them suffering from alopecia.
There are varying figures available, but it is commonly accepted that something approaching 1% of the UK population will have alopecia to some degree during their lifetime with both men and women being equally affected. About 25% of people with alopecia have a family history of the disorder
Genes are thought to influence the likelihood of getting alopecia. About 25% of patients have a family history of the disorder. However, your genes alone are not going to make Alopecia occur. Neither are you going to pass on an `alopecia gene’ to your children. It is thought that there is a combination of genes which predispose you to the condition, meaning it is possible you may have the symptoms at some point in your lifetime
Over 20% of people with alopecia have a family member with it. If you have had eczema, asthma or a thyroid disease you are more prone to alopecia. However, the majority of people with alopecia are not aware of being in either of these categories and susceptibility is probably due to their combination of genes. Some studies show a link with stress or trauma.
The effectiveness of treatments tends to vary and something that works well for one person may not work well for another.
The vast majority of people with alopecia experience with the right hair treatment some degree of regrowth. The growing cells that supply the hair follicle remain active, so the potential for hair to regrow and even achieve complete regrowth is always possible.
So if you find one treatment doesn't work, don't assume others won't either. But bear in mind that for some people none of the treatments are effective.