This is a condition where hair loss is localised and patchy, typically resulting in round, coin-like patches of baldness on the scalp. It's said to affect around 0.01% of the population (about 1 in 1,000).
The exact cause is uncertain, but it’s thought to be auto-immune mediated. In other words, the body’s immune system becomes ‘disordered’ and immune cells start recognising hair follicle cells as being ‘foreign’ and attack them.
Alternative triggers for this disease are the same as those triggering other forms of hair loss including stress, medications, pregnancy, hormone imbalances and anaemia.
The good news is that most cases of alopecia areata are temporary and resolve within around 18 months. This is because the hair follicle isn’t destroyed, it’s simply stressed.
Severe disease, however, can result in a total loss of hair which may or may not re-grow. As is typical of auto-immune diseases, repeated episodes are not unusual.
This condition can be treated with a variety of drugs, but the most commonly used treatments are topical steroid creams to suppress the activity of the immune cells. Other prescription drugs also target the immune system and immune cellular responses.
How we can help
The first step, of course, is to ensure the condition is properly diagnosed by your doctor or consultant.
For us to be able to help cosmetically disguise the hair loss, it's important your condition has stabilised - in other words, the hair is no longer falling out.
This is because extensions are attached to your existing hair and if this isn't stable, our work will simply "fall out" when your own hair falls out.
Once stabilised, depending upon the pattern of loss, we can either potentially use carefully applied and baby-fine Mark Glenn hair extensions as a temporary measure whilst your hair grows back; or alternatively, our more advanced Kinsey System for female hair loss where the loss is more substantial or thought to be permanent.
We can advise accordingly during a free consultation at our London studio.