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What Are the Early Signs of Alopecia?

If you have experienced significant hair loss, you may be one of many people in the world with alopecia. Many people with alopecia experience it as a disturbing and disheartening condition.

Unexpected hair loss is embarrassing, but it doesn’t have to remain this way. At the first sign of noticing hair loss, it is important to see a dermatologist to discern the best treatment plan for moving forward with confidence.

Before you do, here’s some background about alopecia and some early signs to look out for.


What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder in which hair follicles are attacked by the immune system and result in hair falling out, often in clumps the size of a quarter. Some people lose hair in just a few spots and others lose quite a bit of hair in many spots. In rare cases, some people can lose all the hair on their head.

Each case of alopecia is different. Occasionally, the hair grows back and then falls out again, and in other cases the hair grows back for good.


Early Signs of Alopecia

There are a variety of causes for alopecia, which can affect people of any gender, ethnicity, or age group. This condition can often show up during childhood. While it takes more than simply genetics to cause it, alopecia can stem from a number of genes provided by both parents. Stress is an additional trigger.

Alopecia brings with it a variety of symptoms. A common symptom includes small, round patches of hair loss on the scalp, beard area, or other “hairy” parts of the body. Those with alopecia may also notice hair loss and regrowth at the same time, but in different areas of the body. Hair may also only be missing from one side of the scalp and not the other. You might also see “exclamation point hairs” that narrow at the scalp, or rows of tiny dents on the fingernails.


Is There a Cure?

While there is no cure for alopecia, there are a variety of treatments you can try, including corticosteroids, topical immunotherapy, and Rogaine.

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs either injected into the scalp, taken in pill form, or used as an ointment. These sometimes take a long time to work.

Topical immunotherapy is best used for significant hair loss. Chemicals are applied directly to the scalp to essentially produce an allergic reaction, which helps make the hair grow. Topical immunotherapy will likely have to be repeated several times to continue the hair growth.

Rogaine is another option. Applied directly to the scalp, Rogaine takes about 12 weeks to provide hair growth results.

If you would rather not do any kind of treatment, many people with alopecia opt for simply wearing hats, wigs, or scarves.

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of alopecia, it is important to get in touch with a dermatologist as soon as possible. If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas, get in touch with Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute. We can find an appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

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