Alopecia Areata is a highly unpredictable, autoimmune skin disease that may lead to the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. This disease affects males and females of all ages and races, but it often begins in childhood. This disease affects approximately 2 percent of the population, or about 4.5 million people in the United States alone.
The exact cause of Alopecia Areata is unknown. It is thought that a combination of genes predisposes certain people to this disease, and some trigger-or possibly the confluence of several things-sets the disease off. The immune system then mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which shrink in size, arresting visible hair production.
Those that have been diagnosed and are looking for Alopecia Areata treatment options are often very emotional about their situation. They may become depressed and have trouble interacting with others out of fear of rejection. It is very important that they get the support that they need to make it through this very tough disease.
Current Alopecia Areata treatment options often include the use of topical sensitizers such as diphencyprone or squaric acid dibutyl ester, and topical medications like minoxidil or anthralin. Corticosteroids may also be applied topically or taken in pill form or injected. And some physicians utilize ultraviolet light and alternative therapies.
Currently there is no Alopecia Areata treatment that ensures a successful exit. Although some of the treatments listed above have been proven to hinder the spread of alopecia areata, the search for a cure is ongoing.
There are alternatives available.