Alopecia simply stated is hair loss.
It is estimated that alopecia effects tens of millions of American men, women and children across all ages, socioeconomic statuses, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Actual figures may be much higher because many have not been diagnosed by a medical professional.
Alopecia can affect anyone at any time. Different for every individual, the onset may occur in childhood or adulthood with hair loss being cyclical, temporary or permanent. Alopecia can be scarring or non-scarring and may include partial or total loss of hair of the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic hair, and body hair. The cause can be the result of genetics, hormones, immune system dysfunction, illness, nutrition, medication or hair care practices.
The majority of those with alopecia, like myself, are basically healthy and regardless of the reason or type of alopecia, hair is lost in varying degrees on the scalp, face and/or body resulting in patterned or complete baldness. There are individuals in which Alopecia is temporary and it will correct itself with or without any medical intervention, some will experience cycles of loss and regrowth throughout their lives and there are those whose hair loss is permanent.
The only FDA approved drugs for hair loss are Rogaine (Monixidil) and Propecia (Finasteride) which are typically used to treat Androgenetic Alopecia and require long-term usage to maintain results. While some treatments such as steroids in the form of creams, gels, injections or pills and antibiotics have regrown or slowed down hair loss for some, but the results have not been consistently successful. As of yet there is no cure for many types of Alopecia.
It is vital to acknowledge the psychological impact of Alopecia and it should never be perceived as a condition that can be remedied simply by wearing a hair-piece (weave, wig, toupée), hat or a scarf. A 2015 report on hair loss by doctors Katya L. Harfmann & Mark A. Bechtel states, “It is important to not underestimate the emotional impact of hair loss…because studies have demonstrated that the burden of hair loss may be comparable with chronic or life-threatening diseases.”
Contact a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis of the type and cause of your alopecia as well as information about treatment options.