Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. Hair tends to fall out over a short period of time and leaves bald spots on the scalp.
Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune disease, triggered by white blood cells that cluster around and cause inflammation of selected hair follicles causing them to prematurely and rapidly enter the resting phase (telogen), which leads to hair loss.
Factors that can influence alopecia areata include genetics, long-term chronic stress, allergies, infections, chemicals, and physical trauma.
Alopecia areata presents as small, patchy bald spots, with the loss commonly occurring more on one side of the scalp than the other. Those who experience alopecia areata tend to have a slightly higher incidence of conditions related to the immune system such as asthma, allergies, and hypothyroidism.
Alopecia areata often occurs in people who are otherwise healthy. However there are suggestions that some people are genetically predisposed towards the development of alopecia areata. There may also be an external trigger such as a sudden shock or extreme stress.
Alopecia areata affects less than 1% of the population. Initial presentation most commonly occurs in early childhood, the late teenage years, or young adulthood, but can happen with people of all ages.
Medical advice is advised for people who experience alopecia areata. In 1% to 2% of cases, the condition can spread to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or to the entire body (alopecia universalis).
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment for alopecia areata can be very successful. Treatments that may be effective in the promotion of hair growth include Minoxidil and the HairMax LaserComb. Both are clinically proven, MHRA licensed and FDA approved for the treatment of hair loss in men and women.
There are many other hair loss products developed, manufactured, produced, and marketed to treat hair loss in men and women. None (except from Propecia) have the same assurances as Minoxidil and the HairMax LaserComb, however some may be beneficial in supporting optimum scalp health and healthy hair growth.