Hair loss is not just associated with age. This condition does not discriminate and can be caused by several factors – one of which is an autoimmune condition called alopecia. Normally the immune system protects your body against infection and disease. With an autoimmune condition, the immune system turns on your own body. In the case of alopecia, it attacks the hair follicles causing large circular areas of baldness to occur. Alopecia can occur at any age but it generally first appears in teenagers and children. At least half of the people with alopecia develop their first patch of hair loss before their early 20s.
While the cause is still unknown, some scientists think genetics play a big role in alopecia. For people who are genetically predisposed, there is always a trigger that causes the body to attack the hair follicles. The trigger can be caused by an illness, an environmental factor, or even stress. The condition can appear and then the hair can grow back on its own but there is no guarantee that the hair will not fall out again. This disease varies from person to person. There are treatments available to help the hair to grow back faster, and there are some experimental laser treatments in clinical trials that have been producing amazing hair growth results for alopecia sufferers.
Some of the most common medications that your dermatologist may prescribe are corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system. Minoxidil is also a hair re-growth medicine that may help some alopecia patients. Anthralin is a topical medication that alters the skin immune function and DPCP is also a possible treatment that prevents the inflammation that causes the autoimmune response.
The main thing to know about alopecia is that the hair will regrow when the body starts to read the correct signals. This can happen without treatment or it can require patience and several treatments. Everything depends on the immune system. At Kwan Dermatology, we understand alopecia can be devastating. During a consultation with our highly trained staff, we can develop a customized treatment plan to promote hair re-growth and prevent future hair loss.