The symptoms of alopecia areata are bald patches on the scalp and other parts of the body with hair. Even young people frequently develop alopecia areata. Alopecia areata treatment is a quite difficult procedure but appropriate treatment methods allow reducing the symptoms of the disease.

Alopecia areata – characteristic features

Alopecia areata involves chronic inflammation of follicles. The causes of alopecia areata have not been found yet. A group of hair falls out creating a bald patch. It is the second the most common cause of alopecia areata in humans. People of all ages and both sexes develop alopecia areata. Hair loss can be permanent or temporary. Bald patches are of different shapes and sizes. Sometimes they can blend. The course of the disease is different depending on the case. In order to effectively treat alopecia areata it is necessary to find its cause and eliminate other diseases.

Causes of alopecia areata

It is obvious that alopecia areata results from genetic factors. Its common cause is an autoimmune disorder. Other main causes include diabetes type I, lupus, albinism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. However, appropriate treatment of the cause of the disease can stop its process or reduce hair loss. Some researchers claims that the disease may be genetic and it applies to 20 – 60 per cent of patients. Identical twins and next of kin have an increased risk of developing alopecia areata.

alopecia areata

alopecia areata

About 10 per cent of patients with Down syndrome also suffer from alopecia areata. Therefore, researchers link genes surrounding chromosome 21 to alopecia. They also claim that the cause of hair loss can be psychodermatological diseases resulting from long-term stress and intense emotional states. Another cause of alopecia areata is a hair growth cycle disorder leading to extensive hair loss. Poor blood circulation in the scalp can also be linked to excessive hair loss as well as vitamins and mineral deficiencies.


Alopecia areata treatment options

There are a few effective alopecia areata treatment options. They include topical application agents such as glucocorticosteroids, minoxidil, dithranol, calcineurin inhibitors, diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP), squaric acid dibutylester (SADBE) and dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB). In some cases it is recommended to inject triamcinolone solution into bald patches.

Photochemotherapy three times a week (UV) is highly effective, produces little side effects and stimulates follicle growth. Another treatment option is using photosensitive agents, called psoralens. Then the patches are exposed to UV light and methoxsalen is administered at the dose of 0.5 mg/kg body weight. This method can produce the following side effects: nausea, feeling unwell and headaches.

Another recommended method is DPCP and DNCB immunotherapy. They involve the topical application of DPCP or DNCB (2%) to cause a contact allergy. After 2 weeks a lower concentration (0.0001) is chosen. The above therapy should be performed only in a specialized clinic. An effectiveness assessment is performed about 3 months later.

Alopecia areata – prevention

Natural methods are equally important in alopecia areata treatment. Some of them can be performed at home. A patient is recommended to do needle mesotherapy (derma rollers) on his/her own. An appropriate roller with 540 microneedles is required. Injections stimulate the scalp and circulation leading to a better flow of nutrients into the hair.

mezoterapia iglowa łysienie plackowate

needle mesotherapy alopecia areata

Massages can also help as they stimulate middle skin layers. In some patients aromatherapy can have goods results. This therapy uses essential oils such as rosemary, thyme and lavender. Additionally, a diet rich in food with a low glycemic index has a significant influence on alopecia areata prevention . It is also worth considering methods that can aid in relaxation such as yoga classes, psychologists and psychiatrist support.

Alopecia areata – summary

It is important to start treatment once you see the symptoms. A quick diagnose and treatment allows the taking of medicines for a shorter period of time. Topical application of formulations in some cases shows excellent results.

Dr Piotr Turkowski

About Dr Piotr Turkowski

Aesthetic medicine doctor, specialist and enthusiastic surgery, completing the specialization in plastic surgery. The only officially registered member of the international hair restoration surgery (ISHRS) in Warsaw, which brings together the world's best specialists in this field.