Glossary On Causes of Alopecia Areata

‘On account of lack of knowledge about its exact cause and mechanism, a lot of odd treatments have existed for alopecia; not to mention that these only cause further damage to the scalp!’

Alopecia areata belongs to the category of diseases classified as auto-immune conditions. These are conditions in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells – in this case the hair follicles - and destroys them. This results in hair being lost from the affected area. This abnormal behavior of the immune system can be triggered by a number of factors such as:

  • Testosterone: High levels of the male hormones (which are present in men as well as in women) can trigger the onset of alopecia
  • Disorders of thyroid gland
  • Anemia
  • Low intake of protein
  • Drugs and medications:
    • Chemotherapy drugs
    • Large doses of Vitamin A
    • Oral contraceptive pills
    • Antimalarials like Chloroquine
    • Beta blockers (used for treating hypertension)
    • Certain antidepressants
    • Anticoagulants
  • Chemical treatment of hair
  • During recuperation after some major surgery
  • Sudden weight loss due to dieting
  • SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus)
  • Local fungal infection of the scalp

Besides the aforementioned, emotional stress and genetics also play an important role in alopecia areata. A family history of alopecia areata or any other auto-immune diseases is seen in many cases suggesting a role of genetics in causing this disorder.

Alopecia Areata