How to identify and treat alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a disease characterized by rapid hair loss, which usually occurs on the head, but can also occur in other regions of the body that have hair, such as eyebrows, beards, legs and arms. In rare cases, it can happen that hair loss is on the entire body, when it is called alopecia areata universal.

Alopecia areata has no cure and its treatment depends on the severity of the hair loss, but it is usually done with injections and ointments that are applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth, and it is important that the treatment is guided by a dermatologist.

How to identify alopecia areata

In alopecia areata hair loss can happen anywhere on the body that has hair, however it is more common to see hair loss on the head. Where there is hair loss, the formation of a single, round, smooth and shiny skin plaque is usually seen.

Despite the absence of hair, the hair follicles were not destroyed and, therefore, it is possible that the situation can be reversed through proper treatment. In addition, it is common that when the hair grows back in the region it will have white color, but then it will have the normal color, however it may fall out again after a while.

Main causes

The causes of alopecia areata are unknown, but it is believed to be a multifactorial situation that may be related to genetic and autoimmune factors, mainly vitiligo and lupus, or be related to stress or anxiety. In addition, changes in the thyroid may also increase the risk of developing this type of alopecia.

How is the treatment

The choice of treatment must be made with the dermatologist, and can be done with:

  • Cortisone injections: are applied once a month to the area where hair loss has occurred. Along with the injections, the patient can also use creams or lotions to apply to the affected region at home;
  • Topical Minoxidil: liquid lotion that must be applied twice a day in the region with hair loss, but is not effective in cases of total hair loss;
  • Anthralin: sold in the form of a cream or ointment, it should be applied to the affected region, which may cause changes in skin color. The concentration to be purchased and the time of application of this medication must be done according to medical advice.

More serious cases and loss of hair in various regions of the body can be treated with the use of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, according to the doctor’s guidance.

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