What is alopecia areata?

There are lots of types of hair loss and today we are going to take a closer look at alopecia areata and how our Toppik products can help with this condition.

alopecia areata

What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. The damage to the hair follicles is usually not permanent but despite this experts still, don't know why the immune system attacks the hair follicles.

Alopecia areata is most common in people younger than 20, but children and adults of any age may be affected. Women and men are affected equally.

What happens in alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata usually begins when clumps of hair fall out, resulting in smooth, round hairless patches on the scalp or other areas of the body. In some cases, the hair may become thinner without noticeable patches of baldness, or it may grow and break off, leaving short stubs of hair.

In rare cases, complete loss of scalp hair and body hair occurs. The hair loss often comes and goes-hair will grow back over several months in one area but will fall out in another area.

When alopecia areata results in patches of hair loss, the hair usually grows back in a few months. Although the new hair is usually the same colour and texture as the rest of the hair, it sometimes is fine and white.

About 10% of people with this condition may never regrow hair. We have listed some of the cases below in which you are much more likely to have permanent hair loss:

  • Have a family history of the condition.
  • Have the condition at a young age (before puberty) or for longer than 1 year.
  • Have another autoimmune disease.
  • Are prone to allergies (atopy).
  • Have extensive hair loss.
  • Have abnormal colour, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.

How is alopecia areata diagnosed?

Alopecia areata is diagnosed through a medical history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask you questions about your hair loss, look at the pattern of your hair loss, and examine your scalp. And he or she may tug gently on a few hairs or pull some out to inspect it further.

If the reason for your hair loss is not clear, your doctor may do tests to check for a disease that could be causing your hair loss. Your doctor will take a sample of your hair and examine it under a microscope analyse it. A scalp sample is also sometimes taken. Your doctor may also take some blood tests, including testing for a specific condition, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.

How will alopecia areata affect your life?

Because hair is an important part of appearance, hair loss can result in feeling unattractive.

Alopecia areata does not affect you as another condition might: it is not painful, it does not make you feel sick, and it does not result in serious health problems. You cannot spread it to other people, and it should not interfere with school, work, or recreation.

But if hair loss is making you feel unattractive, it is important to talk to someone about it. A counsellor can help, as can talking to other people with the same condition.

If you wish to hide thinning hair or cover up areas of hair loss during this difficult period then it's important to look at using our Toppik Hair Building Fibers. Our hair fibres are ideal for anyone who wants to disguise the challenge of thinning hair. The hair fibres are safe, natural and blend undetectably with your existing hair. This helps to create the appearance of natural looking hair. Whether you are thinking of using these for a short period or long term they made give you the confidence of a full head of hair.

Extra Tip: During this difficult hair period it's important you wash your hair correctly and care for it as well as possible. Including our Toppik Shampoo & Conditioner into your daily hair care routine ensures that your hair is kept healthy and well maintained.

Our Toppik Shampoo strengthens, repairs, and revitalises damaged hair which is exactly what happens during Alopecia Areta. Our Toppik Conditioner also contains keratin protein ensuring your hair gets the hair care it needs during this difficult time.

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