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autoimmune conditions alopeciaAmong the many causes of hair loss, the most frustrating can be alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that affects five million people in the United States alone. Both men and women are susceptible, and the disease seems to be most pronounced between the ages of 15 and 29. Unlike other causes such as extreme dieting or hair pulling, alopecia is a condition that cannot be reversed by simply stopping a behavior. But don’t despair! There are numerous hair solutions that can help you look and feel your best, such as medications, hair wigs and hair loss replacement treatments. If you or a loved one is suffering from alopecia, the best initial action for you to take is to get informed. So, keep reading for more information.

How Does Alopecia Cause Hair Loss?

Alopecia is a disease that attacks the body’s natural defense mechanism, its immune system, against invading and harmful cells. The body loses its ability to distinguish between good and bad cells. With alopia, the body attacks hair follicles because it is no longer able to recognize them as good cells. Hair follicles are essential to hair growth. Essentially, the immune system becomes the body’s enemy, and not its defender.

Who is at Risk?

People who suffer from or have a family history of other autoimmune disorders are at risk of developing alopia. Some examples include thyroid disease, anemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Addison’s disease. Having one of those disorders does not imply you will suffer from hair loss, but they do compromise the body’s immune system, which can lead to alopia. Alopia is also common in people with Down syndrome.

What Kind of Hair Loss Does Alopecia Cause?

People suffering from alopecia will first start to notice that their hair is falling out in small round patches. Hair loss is not limited to the head; it may also include eyebrows, nasal and ear hair and eyelashes. There are many classifications of alopecia, according to how and where the body experiences hair loss. These conditions are unique to some individuals and not others. Some examples of these include alopecia totalis (the entire scalp is affected), alopecia universalis (all body hair is lost), triangular alopecia (thinning or complete loss of hair in the scalp and around the temples), scarring alopecia (localized areas of bald patches and scarring, hair follicles are not visible) and loose-anagen syndrome (hair comes out when brushing).

What Treatment is Available?

Because alopecia is not dangerous to your health, treatment is not always necessary, and sometimes people do go into remission. Hair usually grows back at a slow rate, and comes back in its original color. However, if you are anxious to do something about your condition, you might consider medication, such as corticosteroids (steroids) or antibiotics such as co-trimoxazole and sulfasalazine. Or you might try alternative natural solutions, such as aromatherapy and acupuncture. You may also use a topical application, such as Minoxidil (Rogaine®).

How about a wig? Today’s hair wigs are designed to look and feel exactly like real, healthy hair. Have some fun experimenting with new looks and colors! Hair loss replacement treatments are another option. For more information, ask your Personal Capilia Stylist, she will be happy to answer any questions about your hair.

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