Alopecia areata is the third most common form of hair loss.

Types of hair loss: Alopecia areata

People can experience thinning hair for many reasons throughout their lives. Not all treatments will have the same effects on everyone, since there are a multitude of underlying causes. Understanding the reasons your hair is falling out will help you find the best treatment option. 

Alopecia areata
While alopecia refers to all types of hair loss, alopecia areata specifically means losing hair in patches. At any point in your life, you may experience a bald patch on your scalp. In most cases it will just be one circular patch, but in some cases there could be multiple overlapping bald spots. In extreme cases, the hair loss can be more extensive.

"The disease usually occurs in otherwise healthy people."

Alopecia areata, the third most common cause of hair loss, is an autoimmune disease in which a person's immune system attacks his own hair follicles. This is similar to rheumatoid arthritis, except it attacks the follicles instead of the joints.

While some believe that this hair loss can be stress-induced, there is very little data confirming this, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Although stress may trigger it in some cases, researchers believe that only certain individuals are genetically predisposed to alopecia areata. 

The disease usually occurs in otherwise healthy people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In most cases the individual will just lose a patch of hair, but about five percent of those suffering from AA will lose all of the hair on the scalp or body. Patches of hair can fall out, grow back and fall out again over many years. 

Who is at risk?
This disease can affect men, women and children of all ages. Unfortunately, children who begin to suffer from alopecia areata early on are less likely to have success with treatments later on. Researchers believe AA is carried in a number of specific genes. 

Treatments
Doctors may prescribe different topical drugs that can change the body's immune system in that area so it no longer attacks the hair follicles. If successful, these treatments will allow healthy hair to grow in the affected areas once more. In some cases doctors may prescribe a combination of topical drugs. 

If you're suffering from alopecia areata and you'd like to learn more about medical hair restoration, schedule an appointment with Marotta Hair Restoration. Dr. Marotta is a dual-board certified facial plastic surgeon with expertise in various medical treatments for hair loss. Visit our website to learn more about the hair restoration treatments we offer.