What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair loss. It can affect men, women, and children of any age. The hair loss usually appears as one or more bald patches on the scalp. In some cases, it can also lead to complete hair loss on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or total body hair loss (alopecia universalis).
How Do I Know if My Alopecia Areata is Spreading?
If you have alopecia areata, you may be worried that the condition will spread and cause more hair loss. While it’s true that alopecia areata can spread, it doesn’t always happen. In fact, most people who have alopecia areata only lose the hair on their scalp. only a small percentage of people with alopecia areata will lose all the hair on their body, including their eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
If you have alopecia areata and you notice that your hair is thinning or falling out in other areas, it’s important to see a doctor right away. A doctor can determine if your alopecia areata is spreading and offer treatment options to help prevent further hair loss.
Can Anything Help Slow the Spread of Alopecia Areata?
There is no sure way to prevent alopecia areata from spreading. However, there are treatments that can help stop the progression of hair loss and even regrow hair.
If you have alopecia areata, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Topical corticosteroids. These are drugs that reduce inflammation. They are usually the first line of treatment for alopecia areata. Corticosteroids can be applied to the skin as a cream, lotion, foam, or ointment. They can also be injected into the affected areas of the scalp. Most people with alopecia areata will see new hair growth within six to eight weeks after starting treatment with a topical corticosteroid.
Oral corticosteroids. These are drugs that reduce inflammation throughout the body. They are typically used only for a short period of time because they can have serious side effects, such as high blood pressure, bone loss, and an increased risk of infection.
Minoxidil (Rogaine). This is a topical medication that is available over the counter. It is applied to the scalp twice a day. Minoxidil can also be used to treat other forms of hair loss, such as female pattern baldness.
Steroids. These are drugs that can be taken orally, injected into the skin, or applied topically. Steroids can help to stop the immune system from attacking the hair follicles. They can also help to promote hair growth.
Anthralin (Drithocreme). This is a topical medication that is available by prescription only. Anthralin is applied to the scalp once or twice a day and should be left on for several hours before being washed off.
These are just a few of the treatments that are available for alopecia areata. Your doctor can help you to decide which treatment is right for you.
In addition to medical treatments, there are a few things that you can do at home to help manage your alopecia areata.
Wear a hat or scarf when you go outside. This will help to protect your scalp from the sun and wind.
Avoid harsh hair treatments. This includes hot oil treatments, perms, and hair colorings. These can make your hair fall out more easily.
Use a soft brush on your hair. Don’t use a comb or anything else that could scratch your scalp.
Don’t pull on your hair or play with it excessively. This can cause more hair loss.
Try to reduce stress in your life. Stress can worsen alopecia areata.
If you have alopecia areata, it’s important to see a doctor. They can prescribe medication and provide other treatments that can help stop the hair loss from spreading.
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