Alopecia Areata is a highly psychological distressing condition that is not just hair loss, as evidenced in this personal recount from Channel NewsAsia. It may cause you to lose hair on all areas of your body, adversely affecting your emotional wellbeing. The good news is that you can treat it! Continue reading to learn more about this autoimmune condition and your treatment options for alopecia areata.
What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia is the medical term for bald. Areata means patchy.
Alopecia areata is a disorder that occurs when the body assaults its .hair follicles (from which hair grows), resulting in hair loss anywhere on the body. Hair loss is often unpredictable. Without therapy, hair may regrow. This is more common when a person has a few bald patches. When the hair regrows, it may or may not fall out again.
Alopecia areata causes a circular or oval bald patch on the scalp in many people. If you have alopecia areata, you may see dents, ridges, or brittle nails. Some people’s nails turn red. There are related forms of the disease, such as androgenetic alopecia.
What causes alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that your immune system is wrongly attacking healthy cells. The immune system cells surround and destroy your hair follicles (the part of your body that makes hair). This attack on a hair follicle causes the associated hair to fall out. The more hair follicles your immune system destroys, the more hair loss there is.
While anyone can get alopecia areata, some people are predisposed to it:
- Have close relatives suffering from alopecia areata: It is estimated that 10% to 20% of patients with alopecia areata have a family relative with the condition.
- People with asthma, hay fever, atopic dermatitis, thyroid disease, vitiligo, or Down syndrome are more prone to develop alopecia areata.
When does alopecia areata begin?
It can start at any age, although most people get it throughout their childhood or adolescence.
Can alopecia areata be cured?
It cannot be cured, although it is possible to regrow hair. For some people, regrowth will occur on its own. Because alopecia areata cannot be cured, people who have regrowth may experience more significant hair loss in the future. Some people have hair loss and regrowth cycles. If your hair does not regrow on its own, medical interventions will be helpful.
What are the signs and symptoms of alopecia areata?
The only symptom of alopecia areata is frequently unexpected hair loss. The hair loss spots may enlarge. Sometimes the patches merge to form a single huge bald spot.
A round or oval bald spot on the scalp is frequently the first sign of alopecia areata. Other clues that you have alopecia areata include:
- Gray and white hairs frequently persist in areas of hair loss.
- Hair begins to regrow on its own where it has fallen out.
- Hair begins to grow in a bald area and begins to fall out in another location.
- Alopecia areata can result in the loss of eyelashes, brows, or both.
- Brittle nails that split, red nails (as seen here), pits in the nails, ridges that run the length of the nails, or nails that have gotten so hard that they feel like sandpaper.
- Some people get ophiasis, which is a band or strip of bald skin on their head
Alopecia areata does not typically cause pain. Some people, however, claim that just before losing their hair, they experience tingling, itching, or burning on the skin where the hair would fall out.
Alopecia areata can also cause widespread hair loss, leaving a person with little or no hair on their head, and in extreme cases, all of their hair.
How do I diagnose alopecia areata?
Your journey with us at our Hair Loss Clinic in Singapore will begin with a thorough consultation with one of our female doctors, Dr Grace Ling or Dr Lim Luping. During our thorough 30-minute doctor consultation, we will:
- Conduct a complete medical and lifestyle history to test for potential causes of hair loss.
- Objective Scalp Analysis- Using our hair and scalp scanner from Korea, we will examine the state of your scalp and hair.
- Make a note of any particular medical history, such as drug allergies or previous surgeries. You may also express any specific issues you have regarding your scalp, hair, or treatment plan.
- Our doctors will discuss realistic expectations that you can achieve with the treatment regimens during the appointment.
- Finally, we will create a personalised Hair Loss Reversal Treatment Plan for you based on your concerns, needs, budget, and timetable.
We have a private hair studio at our clinic to protect your privacy. Each session is regenerative and pampering to your scalp and hair since we use cell bio-signalling to penetrate micro-nutrients into the hair transdermally.
What are the treatment options for alopecia areata?
If you’ve only recently been diagnosed with alopecia areata and have had it for less than a year, your physician may advise you to wait and see. Your hair may regrow on its own, removing the need for treatment.
When treatment is required, our doctors will assess a variety of issues, including:
- Your age
- The extent of your hair loss
- Where you have thinning hair
No single treatment is effective for everyone. To find one that works for you, you need to have a well-rounded and customised treatment plan involving different therapies and medications. Here’s what your doctor might suggest:
Treatment for children below 10 years old
Alopecia areata frequently begins in childhood. If your child is having trouble coping with his or her hair loss, treatment can often help regrow hair. Treatment options for children aged 10 and under include:
- Applying a corticosteroid to bald spots: Corticosteroids prescribed by a doctor can aid in hair regrowth for young children. This drug is used once or twice a day.
- Minoxidil: Often known by the name Rogaine®, it can help sustain regrowth after stopping using the corticosteroid. It has few adverse effects, making it a suitable choice for children.
Treatment for older people with patchy alopecia areata
The extent of hair loss determines treatment choices for older people.
- Corticosteroid injections: Your dermatologist will inject this drug into the bald regions to help your hair regenerate. Because these injections are typically administered every 4 to 8 weeks as needed, you will need to return to your doctor’s clinic for treatment. For patients who have a few patches of hair loss, this is the most effective treatment.
- Minoxidil: It can help you maintain hair growth in conjunction with another treatment. You should apply it 2 to 3 times a day. It is beneficial to the scalp, beard, and brows.
- Anthralin: Apply this medication to the bald spots, let it sit for as long as your doctor recommends, and then wash it off. It will irritate the skin slightly. You will also need to utilise minoxidil to have the most significant effect.
Loss of eyelashes
Our eyelashes protect our vision. If you lose some (or all) of your eyelashes, your dermatologist may recommend the following treatments to help protect your eyes:
- Fake eyelashes
- Sunglasses: Wearing glasses protects your eyes and makes the hair loss less visible.
- Bimatoprost is a prescription medicine used to treat glaucoma and high eye pressure. The FDA has also approved it to help eyelashes grow longer.
Loss of eyebrows
If you have alopecia areata and are losing your brows, your doctor may recommend:
Intralesional corticosteroids: A dermatologist can inject this drug to help the brows grow back. If the injections are effective, using minoxidil as indicated may help you maintain the regrowth.
Treatment for extensive alopecia areata
Our doctors may recommend oral medication or hair growth supplements to enhance the in-clinic and home use treatments for severe hair loss cases.
Oral corticosteroids in pill form are sometimes administered for severe scalp hair loss to inhibit disease activity and restore hair. Corticosteroid tablets are frequently well tolerated by healthy young adults with few adverse effects.
Treatment options at Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic
With our range of options and experienced clinicians, all patients with alopecia areata can be treated based on their age and severity of the condition.
We recognise that many patients are unaware that science and technology have advanced to the point where clinical-grade hair loss treatments administered early on can result in adequate restoration.
Our clinic employs cutting-edge clinical hair therapy that combines Bio-Signalling Technology from Korea with PDRN and Israeli transdermal technology to provide our patients with a game-changing technique to regenerate their hair follicles at the cellular level!
Check out our guide to hair loss treatment for an in-depth assessment of our options.
Is the treatment painful?
No, the procedure is not at all painful! It can be rather pleasant, comfortable, and therapeutic. In our clinic, we have a dedicated hair lounge explicitly made for your relaxation.
How long does it take to see results?
It takes at least 4-6 months for moderate to severe hair loss disorders to transform the scalp to a healthier state. However, you may observe less hair loss in less complex situations as soon as 2-4 weeks after beginning treatment. Our physicians will also advise you if any lifestyle issues can disrupt or delay hair regrowth.
Many individuals who suffer from hair loss are frequently emotionally upset and want to see results as soon as possible. Hair loss treatment takes time and patience because it is a journey.
- First and foremost, we will rebalance the scalp so that unhealthy hair shedding is decreased and slowed.
- Following that, we include a range of micronutrients that work together to ensure hair growth stimulation and the ability of the hair to remain healthy and survive its designated life span.
Following the consultation and scalp analysis, our doctor will advise on the frequency of treatment or visits.
Are the results long-term?
We are pleased to share that patients who diligently adhere to the treatment regimen and cooperate with our home care cell-signal hair program can obtain long-term outcomes.
What can I do about my alopecia areata?
Many patients admit that they tried to conceal areas of hair loss. They didn’t want to inform anyone and were hoping their hair would regrow. Their hairless patches also made them question if they had cancer. Alopecia areata is not a sign of cancer. Many persons with alopecia areata are generally healthy.
You should seek a doctor who has the required skills, knowledge, and experience to diagnose and cure hair loss. They can help you identify the treatments that are best for you.
If you have hair loss on your scalp, protect your skin by applying sunscreen or wearing a hat before going outside. This will lower your chances of being sunburned and developing skin cancer. To get the required protection, use a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, an SPF of 30 or higher, and water resistance.
Many persons who have alopecia areata report feeling stressed out before a cycle of hair loss. Learning how to control your stress through meditation or yoga, may help lessen hair loss cycles.
Hair loss can make you feel alone, decrease your self-esteem, and make you depressed and anxious. If you are experiencing these emotions, there is help available.
Our lady doctors have helped patients from all walks of life with hair loss problems that have undermined their self-esteem and confidence. We have a combined 40 years of experience in family medicine and medical aesthetics. Dr Grace herself experienced hair loss issues following both of her pregnancies, so she understands how her patients feel firsthand.
Contact us now for your first consultation!