Thursday, 24 November 2016

Alopecia: What is it and how can we treat it?

Alopecia is a type of hair loss which is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the hair follicles.  It is thought to affect as many as 1 per 100 people in the UK, and whilst for some sufferers the effects will be temporary, for others the results are permanent.  There are three main types of alopecia:

Alopecia Areata – This is where the hair loss occurs in patches, often in the shape and size of a coin.  Whilst some sufferers may only experience one or two patches, others will experience several.  Alternatively, the hair can become patchy all over the head.  The hair loss can occur very rapidly for some people, whereas for others it can fall out gradually over weeks or months.  

Alopecia Totalis – This is a more severe form of alopecia which involves hair loss all over the head.  It can follow on from a slow developing Alopecia Areata, but for others it can occur very suddenly.

Alopecia Universalis – This is the most advanced form of the condition, whereby the sufferer will not only lose hair from the head, but from the body and face as well.

Causes of Alopecia

Whilst we know that alopecia is caused by a malfunction with the immune system, it is not known why this occurs.  Some scientists believe the condition to be genetic, whilst others feel that external factors such as stress can trigger alopecia.

How is alopecia treated?

There is no cure for alopecia, and for many sufferers, the hair will grow back in its own time.  Whilst the hair loss itself is not life threatening nor does it cause physical harm, the psychological and emotional effects of the loss of hair can be devastating for many patients.  There are various treatments which patients may be able to try to see if hair growth can be stimulated, such as corticosteroid injections, topical corticosteroids, immunotherapy and ultraviolet light treatment, though these are not always successful and can cause unpleasant side effects. 

Alternatively, the hair loss can be disguised using wigs, hair pieces, scarves or hats.  In the past, many wigs were very unnatural looking and uncomfortable to wear, however techniques have improved greatly in recent years and patients can choose from synthetic or real hair wigs to cover their heads. The wigs provide a practical solution for the hair loss, whether the wig is required just for a few weeks or months, or if the loss is to be more permanent.  

Our team at Pink Hair Solutions have over 25 years’ of experience at creating hair replacement solutions for women who are experiencing hair loss.  We will endeavour to recommend a hair piece which suits the individual’s lifestyle and budget, and we’ll provide full instructions related to taking good care of the hair piece.  To find out more, call the team on 0121 350 3826.

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