September is Alopecia Awareness month. Many women and men suffer from alopecia areata, though not many know much about it. It is a type of autoimmune disease. This means it is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the healthy hair follicles on the head. This ends up causing instances in which small patches of hair – often round in shape and about the size of a quarter – fall out. Many people can see more severe forms of this condition while others have just a small area of impact that comes and goes over time. In all situations, it can create a variety of concerns in terms of self-awareness and image.

Who Has the Condition?

You may not know someone has alopecia unless they tell you that they do. That is because it is often possible to hide the condition with a new hairstyle or hat. Though the condition is most commonly noticeable in individuals who have a severe form in which they suffer significant balding, it is not as common. Still, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, more than 6.8 million people in the United States, as well as 147 million people across the globe, experience some form of this condition. 

Why Does It Happen?

The true underlying cause of the condition is not fully understood. Researchers continue to work to understand what triggers the body’s immune system to take on such a role. However, many research studies indicate stress plays a significant role in the development and early onset of the condition. Stress – which can take all forms and occurs in individuals of all ages – can be a precursor to this condition. However, there may be a genetic disposition in some people to develop the condition if the circumstances arise to make it possible.

What Can Be Done About It?

In some situations, there is no need to find an advanced treatment for this condition. In individuals with mild symptoms, such as a small, coin-sized area of hair falling out, the condition may resolve itself within a few months.
Other treatment options may help. Some doctors recommend the use of corticosteroids on the impacted area. This is a type of anti-inflammatory treatment or drug that can help to suppress the immune system. By doing this, it may be possible to reduce the frequency or severity of alopecia. It is often given as a type of topical ointment, but it can also be done orally or through the use of an injection.
However, there is no cure for this condition. As a result, many men and women who have it will see it come and go over time. In some situations, medications and treatment options can help to reduce the instances, but they carry their own side effects and can be beneficial only for a limited amount of time. Nevertheless, many people who have alopecia will see their hair grow back at some point depending on the severity of their condition.

Be A Part Of It

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation is encouraging everyone to get out there and educate the public on what this condition is and how it impacts the quality of life for many men and women. The organization offers a variety of ideas on how to celebrate and bring public awareness to the condition including hosting an awareness day, craft fair, or other family-friendly events. Learn more about it by visiting the website. You can be a part of changing the image and the lives of those who are living with this condition.

Contact the team at Unique Hair Concepts for a free, private consultation to learn about the options available for alopecia areata.