ALOPECIA (AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER OF THE HAIR FOLLICLES)

WHAT IS ALOPECIA?

Alopecia also known as hair loss is known as a disorder of the skin characterized by sudden hair loss of the scalp, eyebrows, beards, and body hair. It can also be termed as patches on the skin or a bald spot, which isn’t contagious. It occurs both in males and females and is more common among African Americans. 

TYPES OF ALOPECIA 

The types of alopecia are listed below:

Alopecia Areata: It is a chronic autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles thereby leading to hair loss for the individual, leading to patchy hair loss occurring in all genders and ages but most prevalent in teenagers. 

Alopecia Barbae: It is a type of hair loss that affects mainly the beards around the jawline in a circular way; the hair loss is occasional which sometimes is due to physical and psychological stress faced by the individual. 

Traction Alopecia: It is a type of hair loss caused by when there is a force on the hair being pulled back, it happens mostly in ladies and causes the edges of their hair to be pulled out. Permanent hair loss can occur when the force exerted is too much on the hair causing the hair follicles to be pulled out completely.

Telogen Effluvium: It is a form of temporary hair loss that is caused or related to stress, trauma, bereavement of loved ones, or child loss. It results in more than 30% of the hair moving to the shedding phase (telogen). For regrowth of the hair, it is recommended that there is an intake of eggs in the diet to allow proper growth.

 Androgenetic Alopecia: It is a condition that occurs in both men and women, in which there is receding hair loss most importantly in the males and thinning crown, while in females there is an overall thinning of the hair but doesn’t result to complete baldness. The disorder occurs slowly over decades.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ALOPECIA?

There is no particular cause of alopecia; the main cause is an autoimmune disorder that affects the gene of the individual. 

RISK FACTORS OF ALOPECIA 

The risk factors of alopecia are listed below:

  1. Age: It occurs mostly in aged people 
  2. Cancer treatment (Radiotherapy and chemotherapy) 
  3. Frequent use of some hair care products which damages the hair follicles 
  4. Hormonal Imbalance mostly polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  5. Scalp infection 
  6. Stress can be physical, environmental, or psychological.
  7. Thyroid disease 
  8. Sudden weight loss
  9. Childbirth
  10. Surgery and trauma 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ALOPECIA 

The clinical manifestations of alopecia are listed below:

  1. Thinning of the hair 
  2. Sudden loss of the hair 
  3. Full body hair loss 
  4. Circular/patchy hairless regions
  5. Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp

TREATMENT OF ALOPECIA 

The following are the ways alopecia can be treated:

  1. Topical Immunotherapy: it is all about the application of chemicals like diphencyprone, dinitrochlorobenzene, and squaric acid dibutyl ester directly to the scalp of the person to stimulate the growth of hair from the follicles. 
  2. Topical Anthralin: Anthralin also known as scalp sensitizer is used for stimulating an irritant reaction that stimulates the immune system and encourages hair growth. 
  3. Corticosteroid injections: The injections are used in the treatment of alopecia by modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation, they act as cortisol.
  4. Oral corticosteroids: It works by suppressing the immune system and inflammation in the body, which in turn encourages hair regrowth in an individual

CAN ALOPECIA BE PREVENTED?

Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that cannot be prevented but in some cases in terms of reducing the risk, some things can be done, in ladies reduce the traction when packing their hair, reduce the use of relaxers, and also ensure eat an adequate diet with necessary vitamins.

COMPLICATION OF ALOPECIA 

The complications of alopecia are listed below:

  1. Depression 
  2. Anxiety 
  3. Low self-esteem issues 
  4. Low quality of life 

 

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