Alopecia areata (AA). Alopecia means bald and areata means patchy.
What is it?
It is a disease process where the body attacks the hair follicles and causes the hair to fall out in bald patches. Most commonly, AA occurs in the scalp region. However, alopecia areata can develop anywhere hair grows on the body. This includes both the eyelashes and the beard area. Additionally, alopecia affects both children and adults.
In black women, alopecia is commonly in the central area of the scalp and radiates outward. Centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), destroys hair follicles. Unfortunately, scarring which leads to (permanent) hair loss results from centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA).
What is the cause of alopecia areata?
Many different factors cause alopecia areata. These include: genetics, atopic dermatitis, stress, asthma, thyroid conditions, chemicals (products, relaxers, hot oil), and trauma (heat, excessive tension from braids/rollers/weaves/extensions). Commonly, there is also inflammation.
What treatments are available for AA?
Early treatment for alopecia areata is often more effective. Especially before permanent hair loss. We treat non-scarring alopecia in our office. We use injectable corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, topical minoxidil to stimulate hair growth, medical grade restorative shampoo and conditioner for gentle hair care, and hair growth serum. In addition, we recommend limiting styling products, and relaxants. Lastly, to decrease inflammation and hair breakage, avoid excessive tension on the hair.
For children, World’s Famous Dermatologist often recommends a “wait and see” approach. This is because hair normally returns without treatment in 12 months. However, sometimes they need topical treatments.