Alopecia affects nearly 6.8 million people in the United States today.
Alopecia is hair loss on the scalp and body that results from hormonal changes, aging, autoimmune disorder, manual manipulation, medications, and other rare causes. It affects men and women and can be temporary or permanent. In some cases, people will notice small, quarter sized patches of hair loss in one centralized location. Others will see widespread hair loss covering the entirety of the scalp. Bald spots caused by alopecia may grow back over time, but may fall out again after regrowth. It is important to understand the various patterns of hair loss, as well as the underlying causes, to build the most effective treatment plan.
Symptoms may vary by each case. The most common symptoms include:
- Circular bald spots
- Gradual or sudden thinning of the hair
- Receding hair line
- Widening hair part
- Rash on the scalp
- Complete loss of hair on the body
Examples of causes of alopecia
Hereditary hair loss, the most common cause, is attributed directly to your family’s genetics. This condition is also known as androgenetic alopecia and is associated with hormone levels and aging. This occurs in both men and women and is more commonly referred to as male/female pattern hair loss. Hereditary hair loss is typically gradual and appears in noticeable patterns.
Medication and supplement intake can also have an affect on hair growth. Hair loss may be a side effect of certain oral medications. If you believe a medication is causing hair loss, contact your dermatologist to express your concerns before you stop taking the medication.
Hormonal changes such as childbirth, pregnancy, menopause, and various thyroid conditions have a history of causing slow and prolonged hair loss.
Underlying autoimmune conditions may also play a role in gradual hair loss and/or sudden bald patches. People with a history of prior autoimmune diseases like vitiligo, may be more likely to experience hair loss at some point in their life.
Beauty treatments that include harsh chemicals or continuous use of heating tools can cause inflammation of the hair follicle and can lead to sudden hair loss.
Our dermatologists are dedicated to crafting the most effective treatment options for hair loss. Our main goal is to regenerate hair growth and prevent immune cells from attacking hair follicles in the future. Treatment options vary dependent on your diagnosis, age, and the amount of hair loss you are experiencing. The most common treatments include:
- Topical immunotherapy
- Corticosteroid injections
- Oral corticosteroids
- Platelet-rich plasma
If you are interested in learning more about our treatment options, book a consultation today with one of our board certified dermatologists.