What is Alopecia Areata ?
The term alopecia means hair loss. In the form of Alopecia known as Alopecia Areata, it usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp and can progress to total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or complete body hair loss (alopecia universalis). Alopecia areata can occur at any age, including in childhood.
What causes Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder – What occurs is that lymphocytes around the hair follicles release chemical messengers (called cytokines) that reject the hair for unknown reasons resulting in hair loss.
In most forms of Alopecia Areata, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair re-growth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.
Alopecia Areata occurs in males and females of all ages and races; however, onset most often begins in childhood and can be psychologically devastating. Although not life-threatening, Alopecia Areata is most certainly life-altering, and its sudden onset, recurrent episodes, and unpredictable course have a profound psychological impact on the lives of those disrupted by this disease. But there is hope. In all cases, hair re-growth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.
Is there a cure ?
There is no known reliable cure for alopecia areata. There is a variety of "treatments" available - hydrocortozone creams and steroid shots from Dermatologists but there, unfortunately or now only work briefly or not all all. Alopecia is a complex autoimmune disorder, so until more in-depth research is completed there is going to be no magic pill.
There are also a large variety of hair clinics who make a large variety of claims as to cure alopecia. Be very wary of any person claiming they can cure alopecia, while there can be some instances of people's hair growing, there is no indication that the person was in remission anyway. These treatments are usually expensive, so if you do look into these "treatments" check out an alopecia forum (alopecia world, alopecia uk) to read others experiences with them. You will find that some claims on the treatment websites don't match with results reported by people with alopecia.