What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata (also known as spot baldness) is a condition which causes patchy bald spots. It’s a peculiar form of hair loss that usually affects small, round areas of the scalp. It’s an autoimmune disorder which damages the hair follicles. Alopecia areata affects men and women of all ages, including young children.

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What causes these patchy bald spots?

Currently, the exact cause is unknown, however, evidence suggests two reasons. There are two factors which have been linked to causing these patchy bald spots:

1. Immune system abnormalities
Abnormalities in the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles and disturbs the normal hair matrix.  The immune system targets the hair tissues, and after a few months, it causes patchy bald spots and hair loss associated with alopecia.

2. Psychological factors
Stress and/or emotional shock have been considered triggers that eventually leads to circular or patchy bald spots.

Signs and symptoms of alopecia areata

The main symptom of alopecia is hair loss. Circular patches of hair loss can occur in one spot or in several places. These appear in a round or oval shape on the scalp or the body, e.g., eyebrows, beard, arms, and legs. Patches of bald spots appear over time, and some even lose all the hair on their body. Some people may see hair regrowth after about 6 to 12 months.

Alopecia areata treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all cure. A specialist can recommend a safe, effective treatment, but it really depends on the extent of the hair loss. The treatment must, therefore, be adapted to each case of alopecia areata. Among these treatments is aromatherapy. Some people have reported positive effects using aromatherapy an alternative natural treatment.

The importance of psychological help

Many people who suffer from this disorder have been known to seek psychological help due to the emotional stress and pain it causes. This type of pain can lead to depression and isolation for some individuals. There are support groups that help people cope with negative feelings relating to alopecia areata. Group or individual support can make suffering more bearable and even contribute to treating this condition.

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