You might find yourself minding your own business until, one day, you notice a significant amount of falling hair. You might see the hair loss on your pillow, your comb or hairbrush, in the shower, or someone might have even pointed out a bald spot at the back of your head.
What is happening? Before you start panicking, allow us to enlighten you and tell you all about a condition called alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata (AA), also known as spot baldness, is an autoimmune disease. This means that the cells in your immune system mistakenly attack your hair follicles (where your hair grows), which results in unpredictable hair loss. The hair falls out usually in coin-sized patches, affecting only a limited area.
This skin disorder is relatively common and can affect anyone at any age, though most occurrences happen before or around the age of 30. The length and severity vary from person to person.
For some people, the condition causes total baldness (alopecia totalis) or complete loss of body hair (alopecia universalis). For others, the hair grows back within 12 months or less, but recurrences do happen even years after between instances.
But why do your cells mistakenly treat your hair follicles as foreign invaders?
Who or what is at fault? What are the symptoms?
The culprit: Like most autoimmune diseases, what triggers alopecia areata is not entirely understood. Studies and most cases, however, associate the skin disorder to the following:
- having other autoimmune conditions
- vitamin D deficiency
We are all sitting ducks here, unfortunately, until more research is done to pinpoint the cause.
How to spot it:
The most prominent symptom for alopecia areata is patchy hair loss, around the size of a quarter, usually from the scalp. But other hair growth sites may be affected as well, such as the beard or eyelashes.
Hair loss may come on suddenly within days or weeks. You might feel itching or burning in the affected area before hair loss. Even tiny changes in your fingernails and toenails may also indicate AA. They could show telltale signs like becoming rough, lackluster, thin and split, or having pinpoint dents, white spots, and lines.
Other clinical signs:
AA symptoms may also include
- cadaver hairs (hair breaks before reaching the skin surface)
- white hairs around the affected area
- Exclamation mark hairs (few short hairs that get narrower at their bottom and grow in or around the edges of bald spots)
Who is more likely to suffer from AA – men or women?
Alopecia areata affects both men and women. But although men are more likely to experience hair loss (such as male-pattern baldness), women are more often diagnosed with AA than men. The reasons for this, like its cause, remain a mystery.
Children can also develop alopecia areata. Most people with AA experience hair loss before their 30s. While the disease is often linked to one’s heritage or genetics, parents with this condition do not always pass it on to their child, nor does it tell us that kids who have AA have a parent who has suffered from it as well. So, do not go blaming your folks for this! All your close relatives are innocent until proven guilty.
But AA can be cured, right?
Sadly, there is no cure for alopecia areata. It is just as unpredictable as other autoimmune diseases, and much research is still needed before it can be fully understood. Some only experience AA once in their life, while others have spontaneous recurrences for weeks, months, years, or even decades after previous patches have cleared.
But before you subject yourself to a pity party night of ice cream and movie binge, we are telling you now: Do not fret, for hair regrowth is possible! Some lucky individuals have their hair grow back on their own, while others require a little more assistance from several treatment options.
So, what do I do now? How do I treat AA?
The kind of treatment you receive largely depends on your age, the amount of hair loss, and which area/s are affected by the disease. Like diet or exercise, no treatment miraculously works for everyone.
But some options a trichologist or your dermatologist may recommend topical and intralesional steroids. Other treatments include UV light therapy, topical irritants, microneedling, and systemic immunomodulators.
All this sounds a little intimidating and pricey, we know. But do not worry, there are more natural and cost-efficient options for treating alopecia areata.
What do we suggest then?
We always go for a more innovative yet holistic approach when it comes to dealing with our hair. It is our crowning glory, after all. Not to brag or anything, but we like our products Danish-made with a unique expertly curated formula from 100% natural and vegan ingredients simply because they are naturally healthier and scientifically proven successful in hair regeneration.
Ladies, you can steer clear from costly and potentially harmful medical treatments! Opt for a natural, plant-based hair care regime that works right through those hair proteins and follicles with active ingredients that deeply penetrate your scalp.
For this, we recommend our Bio-Pilixin Routine Series. It is a 3-step routine that works to rebuild, strengthen, and add richness and volume to those locks.
Having luscious, healthy hair starts with a clean scalp. The Bio-Pilixin Strength Shampoo takes care of that by cleansing and rebuilding damaged hair. To strengthen and condition those locks, the Bio-Pilixin Recovery Conditioner works to nourish your hair and reactivate regrowth by applying a protective layer over the strands and reduce the scalp’s oiliness. And to stimulate the hair growth, the ultra-potent Bio-Pilixin Growth Serum strengthens the development of the hair follicles and prolongs the life of the hair fibers.
Like your current (or next) relationship, your success takes full commitment. But with prolonged use, following this routine is the perfect remedy to treat hair loss and a surefire way to get your confidence back.
Now go and feel free to flip that gorgeous hair like the model you are!