Alopecia areata is characterised by patches of hair loss that typically appear on the scalp. While not physically harmful, alopecia can have a significant psychological impact.
Alopecia areata can affect males and females of all ages, with patches of varying sizes that can also appear in beards and eyebrows. While often lost hair will grow back of its own accord eventually, this may take several months, and in some cases the hair loss can become permanent. Find more information on alopecia areata and its causes below, and the treatments available at The Dermatology Clinic.
About alopecia areata
If you have alopecia areata, it might be because your immune system is mistakenly attacking your hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Hair is typically lost in clumps in this case, leaving bare patches on the scalp. Sometimes, however, the hair grows and breaks off, leaving short strands. In rare cases, alopecia areata can lead to hair loss on other parts of the body.
The cause of alopecia areata is not clear, but it has been linked to other autoimmune disorders including:
- Thyroid disorders
Alopecia areata has also been associated with stress.
Alopecia areata treatment
At The Dermatology Clinic, we offer a variety of approaches for alopecia areata. Treatments vary depending on the nature of your hair loss, your health status and your own preferences. You will have the freedom to choose your preferred course of treatment after discussing each option with one of our consultant dermatologists.
Intralesional steroid injections
You might decide on this treatment if you have limited hair loss. These injections promote faster hair growth and are repeated at regular intervals.
If your alopecia areata is more severe, we may occasionally suggest oral steroids to speed up your hair growth.
Topical immunotherapy and phototherapy
You may not benefit much from steroids if your hair loss is very severe, but topical immunotherapy applied directly to the scalp can be very effective. Phototherapy using an ultraviolet B light can also encourage faster hair growth.
Dithranol cream is another option. If you choose this treatment, one of our dermatologists will prescribe the cream and you can apply it onto the patches to stimulate hair growth. There are also alternative steroid creams, which we will discuss with you during your appointment.
Hair loss can be a very distressing problem with a major impact on your life, but treatment with our professional team really can make a huge difference. Book an appointment today to arrange a consultation for alopecia areata treatment.