Frequently asked questions regarding Circular hair loss
Both dermatologists and family doctors can make the diagnosis of circular hair loss based on the typical appearance.
The doctor also examines the fingernails for longitudinal grooves and dimples with the intent to provide information about other skin diseases.
It is also important to rule out trichotillomania. In this mental illness, affected people pull their hair out.
Together with these diagnostic options and comorbidities, medical practitioners recognize the disease easier than other autoimmune diseases.
Circular hair loss: course
The course of alopecia areata depends on shape and treatment. If therapy is successful, the hair in the bald areas usually grows back on its own. This is also observed without treatment.
If the autoimmune reaction subsides, an improvement can be expected. This is important because affected people suffer from the aesthetic consequences of hair loss.
Thirty percent of patients regrow their hair within six months,
Another 50% observe newly grown hair within twelve months.
75% of patients can expect to grow it back within five years if no further relapse occurs.
Circular hair loss: therapy
The treatment for circular hair loss depends on the attending doctor. The official guideline provides cortisone injections in bald areas, as well as Anthralin (Cignolin).
According to conventional medicine, the disease is not curable, the treatment suppresses the symptoms and hopes that it will subside on its own.
The most common therapies:
The use of Anthralin, as a cream with 0.5% to 1% concentration, is a common therapy for circular hair loss. They, furthermore, apply this drug for psoriasis.
The substance kills and detaches upper horn cells (keratinocytes) and inhibits inflammation in the lower layers of the skin. This process stops the autoimmune reaction.
Another common therapy for circular hair loss is local cortisone therapy. Here, the doctor injects low-dose cortisone into the upper skin layers of bald spots.
It is of the essence to have a low dose and low injection depth so that the cortisone does not get into the bloodstream. This prevents symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. Cortisone has a temporary effect and aids in the control of heavy flare-ups.
Scientists do not officially approve DPCP for the treatment of alopecia areata. It is called topical immunotherapy because the substance can cause irritation to the skin.
The skin’s self-regulation and self-tolerance should be restored. Treatment with DPCP is effective and improves the symptoms of the ailment in 80% of patients.
One can only expect limited success, however, which is lasting throughout the treatment and hair loss occurs again after stopping the medication. In the long term, DPCP treatment is not recommended.
PUVA is a combination of the active ingredient psoralen and UV-A radiation on the skin. This is where skin irritation occurs and this treatment is just as successful as DPCP. This therapy is also used for psoriasis, neurodermatitis and vitiligo.
Doctors use Minoxidil sporadically and studies have shown it to be less successful.
If patients suffer from the aesthetic consequences of the disease, they can find help with psychological treatment and support groups.
This teaches the affected persons how to accept their bodies despite illness. If self-acceptance is successful, the symptoms expectedly improve as well.
Circular hair loss forms
Three predominant forms of circular hair loss exist. They differ with regard to the frequency and occurrence of hair loss on the body:
1- Alopecia Circumscripta is the predominant form of circular hair loss with a frequency of 80%. This form only affects part of the scalp.
2- Alopecia Totalis affects 10% to 20% of patients. This type influences the entire scalp area.
Alopecia Universalis is the rarest form of Alopecia areata. Here, The entire body is affected.
Circular hair loss: prognosis
The prognosis for circular hair loss depends on the age of the sufferer, the duration of the ailment and the type of therapy.
Children have a higher rate of spontaneous healing (remission) than in adults. Hair often grows back in bald spots, but they are pigmentless (white), because the pigment-producing melanocytes first have to recover. This phenomenon is called poliosis.
Officially, science considers this disease as incurable and lifelong. With successful therapy, spontaneous remission or a healthy lifestyle, however, the healing and regrowth of the affected areas can occur.
With a healthy diet and lifestyle, patients can influence the course of the disease. The health of the body is closely related to the symptoms.
A natural and nutritious diet like the Paleo diet has proven itself. In addition, affected people can also expect improvement with a dietary supplement. Vitamin D, zinc and manganese or medicinal plants such as turmeric or green tea have proven their worth.
FAQ circular hair loss (alopecia areata)
Last but not least, we answer your most frequently asked questions:
Is circular hair loss contagious?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease and, therefore, not contagious. The causes of the disease are not contagious and lie in the immune system. One shouldn’t expect or worry about a transfer to others.
What really helps?
In addition to conventional medical therapy, methods from complementary medicine have proven their worth.
I truly recommend stress reduction and a lot of time in nature. A healthy and nutritious diet is also important. Sufferers should consider nutritional supplementation with vitamin D and curcumin.
Circular hair loss: how long until hair grows back?
This depends on the treatment and lifestyle. In 30% of cases, hair grows back within six months, in 50% of cases within twelve months, in 75% of cases within five years.
The regrown hair often remains pigmentless (white) at first and returns to its original color over the years.
This article contains only general information. Please do not use it for self-diagnosis or treatment. My post cannot substitute a visit to the doctor or naturopathic physician.
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