Understanding Alopecia

Have you noticed more hair left behind on your pillow or in your hairbrush? If so, then you may be suffering from a hair loss disorder and more specifically, alopecia. If your dermatologist has diagnosed you with this common condition, then continue reading to gain a better understanding of alopecia.

Cause

The word alopecia means “hair loss,” and alopecia areata (alopecia) causes bald spots and is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system attacks its own body. Hair grows everywhere on your skin except for the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. These hairs can be very fine and nearly invisible, and they are made up of keratin, which is a protein that’s produced in the skin’s hair follicles. In someone with alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles and causes hair to fall out in quarter-sized, round areas.

Risk Factors

Having another autoimmune condition, such as eczema, vitiligo, or thyroid disease, may increase your risk for alopecia. Also, there appears to be a link between stress in one’s life and the onset of alopecia, so your dermatologist may advise that you learn stress management techniques and avoid activities or situations that cause you anxiety to help speed your recovery.

Treatment

Although alopecia is not a curable condition, it can be treated and your hair can grow back—and many people experience regrowth of their hair within a year. There are several treatment options that your dermatologist may recommend. Corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory medications, can be injected into the affected area, rubbed on as an ointment, or taken in pill form. For patients with more significant hair loss, topical immunotherapy can be a good option. Finally, your skin doctor may advise you to take minoxidil (Rogaine) or other medications used to treat immune diseases.

Do you suffer from alopecia and need a trusted dermatologist in Salt Lake City for hair loss treatment? If so, then please contact Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology at (801) 266-8841 to schedule your appointment.

Categories: alopecia

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