Alopecia Areata- A Common Hair Loss Condition

Eeman Sarfraz:8/1/2022

Alopecia, commonly known as hair loss, is a patterned loss of hair that occurs mostly on the scalp, but may also appear on the body. This condition can be temporary or permanent. Alopecia may be a result of hormonal changes, genetics, any external medical conditions or due to ageing process. The intensity of condition is different in different people. Some people may lose a small amount of hair from a certain body part, others may face an extreme hair loss. Hair may or may not grow back after one suffers from alopecia. This condition may occur to anyone, but is more common in men. 

Causes of Alopecia Areata

This conditions occurs when the body immune systems attacks the hair follicles. This results in the inflammation of hair follicles, causing the hair to fall off the roots. There is no actual known cause of what triggers the autoimmune to attack hair, thus it is believed that genetic conditions and certain external factors ( fungal infections, medications, associated diseases, stress, disturbed dietary habits etc) contribute towards the occurrence of alopecia areata. The stress associated hair loss is referred to as telogen effluvium. Women are more prone to telogen effluvium. Nutritional deficiencies (especially lower intake of iron and vitamin D) also lead to alopecia.

Symptoms of Alopecia Areata

The major symptom of the condition is the prominent hair loss from scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes or any other part of the body. These hair loss patches may be of any size. These patches may grow in size. Hair might grow back in these patches, and all out from any other part of body. Apart from hair loss, the symptoms may occur in toenails and fingernails, making them red, brittle and swollen. The bald patches from alopecia areata can cause tingly and itchy sensation. Other than these symptoms, the patients are perfectly healthy and show no other signs.

Do hair grow back after Alopecia Areata?

Fortunately, in most cases, the hair grows back. But it might not always be the case. Sometimes the hair loss and baldness becomes the permanent state. The regrowth process is a bit slow. It may take a few months to even a year. The hair colour may be changed from the regular one at the start. It is to keep in mind that while the hair regrows on one patch, it may fall from another area. 


There is no complete cure of alopecia. But it can be coped and treated with the following measures:

Use of steroids: The autoimmune causes the inflammation of hair follicles. These steroids are anti-inflammatory in nature and can cope with the condition.It is directly applied on the effected areas. Steroids can also be taken orally in form of pills. 

Minoxidil: This is one of the most tested and effective treatment for patterned baldness. 

Topical treatment: Use of certain medicines (prescribed best by the physician) and chemicals on the scalp or other effected areas triggers the follicles to come in action and struggle for the hair regrowth. This process may be a bit itchy, but itchiness is the symptom of success of the chemicals being used. 

UV light therapy: This light therapy enhances the blood circulation in hair follicles and stimulates the hair growth. 


Alopecia areata is not a severe medical disease. But the hair loss can lead to severe anxiety, depression and other psychological effects. People suffering from alopecia are prone to become isolated and their personality may be destroyed. Since this is an unpredictable disease with unknown definite causes, people having alopecia should learn to live with the acceptance of this condition, or may turn to aesthetic procedures (hair transplant, microblading etc) to enhance their outlooks. 

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