Alopecia areata is a condition that is typified by patchy hair loss over the scalp or body. It comes in several forms ranging from a single patch to total body hair loss (alopecia universalis). Its cause may be difficult to diagnose but many cases appear to link directly to imbalances in the immune system that can be treated effectively. In most cases hair will reappear on its own but some patients develop more extreme variations that are more difficult to treat.
It is important that sufferers diagnose their condition correctly by visiting their doctor and undergoing a series of blood tests to check factors such as hormone levels. This will allow your physician or dermatologist to accurately diagnose your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment regime.
The treatment chosen will depend on the causes identified by the blood tests as any underlying problems must be addressed first. In severe forms of alopecia areata successful treatment may prove problematic. In other cases the problem may rectify itself without external treatment.
At present successful treatment regimes are somewhat limited but the following may prove useful in stimulating hair growth:
1. Daily application of minoxidil (Rogaine).
2. Injection of cortisone into patchy areas of the scalp (this must be administered by a physician). Creams and lotions containing cortisone can also be used but results are variable.
3. Dithranol can be applied to the scalp in mild or early cases.
4. Application of 100% aloe vera gel.
5. Massage the scalp with rosemary and lavender essential oils in a jojoba base.
6. Use of a hair loss product containing the Chinese herb He Shou Wu.
7. A product called Calosol has recently generated positive feedback.
Please note, however, that none of these is guaranteed to work due to the unpredictable nature of alopecia areata. It is this uncertainty that offers opportunities for scamsters to make outlandish claims. The fact remains, there are no miracle cures for advanced forms of alopecia areata so sufferers may wish to consider other options such as head coverings and wigs.
This does not mean that patients are without hope because, even in severe cases, hair can spontaneously start to grow again even after years of loss.