Alopecia Areata: Hair Loss

Losing hair is usually a natural process of aging, but there are certain conditions that can cause hair loss from an early age. People who have alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, may experience different types of hair loss due to the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles.

Alopecia areata typically manifests as hair loss in patches on the body or scalp, usually from a young age. Symptoms may include:

  • Coin-sized round patches of hair loss
  • Hairs that are thinner at the ends
  • Complete hair loss
  • Nail issues such as dents, roughness, or white spots

A dermatologist may perform biopsies or observe follicles under the microscope to initially diagnose alopecia areata. Treatments may include medications to suppress or alter the immune system, and topical treatments to help hair regrowth or prevent further hair loss.

For many patients, hair may regrow without the help of medications, typically following several cycles of hair loss. However, the length of time the disease lasts and goes away can be unpredictable, which can cause emotional stress. Fortunately, there are many support groups that are available that have resources and tips for those living with alopecia areata.

The following are some ways to hide areas of hair loss:

  • Wearing a wig, hair accessories, or hats
  • Styling hair to cover patchy areas
  • Opting for a completely shaved look
  • Using makeup for hair loss on the face

If you notice sudden hair loss or suspect alopecia areata, the first step in getting a diagnosis and treatment is to see an experienced dermatologist. Dr. Juan Vaillant of Old Bridge Dermatology has been specializing in dermatology for decades and has helped many patients with skin, hair, and nail issues. Dr. Vaillant is a compassionate, board-certified dermatologist who regularly treats common conditions like acne, eczema, dandruff, hair loss, skin cancer, psoriasis, age spots, warts, and dermatitis. Please contact our Old Bridge, NJ office at (732) 679-0222 to schedule an appointment today!