Alopecia areata is one of the most common forms of hairloss in patches. It manifests as small, bald patches on the scalp. They may appear suddenly or in a relatively short span of time. Patchy hairloss is not life threatening but it can cause significant damage to one’s self image.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, in which White Blood Cells (WBC) attack and destroy our hair follicles. This causes the hair to rapidly fall out resulting in the formation of bald patches.
Alopecia areata is non-contagious and does not spread because of using common combs, hair brush or contact with a person suffering from it. It affects both sexes and all ages.
Total hair loss of hair on scalp is called Alopecia Totalis and complete loss of hair all over the body including eyebrows, eyelashes and other parts of the body is called Alopecia Universal. The exact reason why WBC’s start behaving this way is not understood, although the following may be implicated:
1/5th of individuals with patchy hairloss may have family history of this type of hair loss.
Persons having thyroid disorders are more prone to develop patchy hair loss.
Anemia and Stress could trigger patchy loss of hair.
Post treatment when hair begins to grow back in the bald patch, it is light in color and thin initially. Over a period of time, the thickness gets better, just as normal colour is regained. When patchy hairloss presents with large patches or does not respond to treatment, the individual may resort to wearing a wig or hairpiece. The extent of patchy hairloss varies from person to person.