Alopecia areata symptoms causes & treatment

Alopecia Areata

What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. This condition can be extremely distressing. Like all autoimmune disorders, alopecia areata occurs when the immune system, which ordinarily fights infection, instead attacks the body's own tissues.

The disease attacks hair follicles and causes a wide range of symptoms. The loss of hair, which could be first noticed as a small bald patch on the scalp, usually grows to involve other hairy parts of the body. Hair loss could be permanent or temporary. The good news is that it can be treated in most cases, although most patients will require medication or therapy.

Doctors do not yet know what causes alopecia areata, but they believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. Alopecia areata is more common in people with other autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis or thyroid disease. It also seems to run in families, so genetics may play a role.

Alopecia areata types

There are 4 types of alopecia areata, such as:

1. Alopecia Areata: 

Oval and round patches of hair loss on the scalp or some places of the body.

2. Alopecia Totalis:

Complete hair loss on the scalp results in a bald surface.

3. Alopecia Universalis:

Complete loss of hair on the scalp and other parts of the body.

4. Diffuse Alopecia Areata:

Hair thinning at certain places of the body or the scalp.

Symptoms of alopecia areata

Here are the symptoms of alopecia areata:

  1. Patchy hair loss
  2. Bald patches
  3. Hair loss on the scalp
    1. Hair thinning 
    2. Spontaneous hair regrowth
    3. Nail changes

      What are the causes alopecia areata?

      There is yet a lot of research that needs to be done on alopecia areata to define its underlying cause and a solution to it. However, the main cause of alopecia areata is genetics. Here are a few other factors that also play a role in alopecia areata.

      • Autoimmune disorders
      • Environmental factors
      • Stress
      • Lifestyle habits
      • Medication
      • Smoking and excess alcohol consumption
      • Harsh cosmetics

      How is alopecia areata diagnosed?

      There is no perfect treatment for alopecia areata as it is based on different factors and the results vary from person to person. For some after medical diagnosis, the hair regrowth occurs, for some hair fall might stop, and for some, the hair fall might increase. 

      Usually, the diagnosis is done in the following way, first, the medical history is considered, then there will be a physical examination, followed by a pull test, where a few strands of hair are pulled and sent for examination, then a skin biopsy followed by regular blood tests, based on the results, medication or medical procedure is suggested.

      Remedies to Treat Alopecia Areata at Home

      Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that causes patches of hair to fall out. This type of hair loss is not related to anything that a person has done, and it’s not contagious. The loss of hair can be either small or large. Eating a healthy diet can help prevent alopecia areata.

      Conventional home remedies or treatments for alopecia areata is a narrow topic and more research is needed to support that natural treatments for alopecia areata are effective enough.

      You can drink aloe vera for hair growth. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C, calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. It is rich in antioxidants and helps in the production of collagen required for hair growth.

      Some people recommend rubbing onion or garlic juice, green tea ice cubes, almond oil, honey, rosemary oil, or coconut milk into the scalp. These ingredients do not show any side effects and therefore, they can be worth giving a try.

      Take Away

      Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the scalp. In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing them to become smaller and eventually stop producing hair altogether. The exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown. However, experts believe that it could be caused by an autoimmune disease, genetics, or environmental factors.


      What deficiency causes alopecia areata?

      Vitamin D deficiency is the main reason for hair fall, alopecia areata, and most autoimmune disorders.

      What is the best vitamin for alopecia areata?

      As mentioned above, you can try Vitamin D and Zinc supplements to treat alopecia areata.

      What is the most common treatment for alopecia areata?

      The most common treatment for alopecia areata are multivitamin supplements and minoxidil solution, but the results are not positive for every individual.


      Alopecia areata: causes, diagnosis, and treatments. By Medical News Today, Dec 23, 2022.

      Alopecia areata overview. By American Academy of Dermatology Association. 

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