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Alopecia Areata: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

A common autoimmune skin disease, alopecia areata results in hair loss on the scalp, face, and other areas. Affecting people of all ages, sexes, and ethnicity, alopecia areata touches around 6.8 million people in the U.S.

Though alopecia areata typically appears first during childhood, it can surface at any age, as well as disappear for years and return, or never come back.

Causes of alopecia areata

Alopecia areata occurs when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, shrinking them and in turn causing them to slow down hair production. In other words, the body’s immune system thinks the normal cells in your body are foreign cells and attacks them to protect you.

Currently, researchers do not know why the immune system attacks the healthy hair follicles. However, people generally believe that genetics are likely involved.

Symptoms of alopecia areata

The most prominent symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss from the scalp, beard, eyelashes, or other places on the body. Itching or burning could also occur before the hair loss. Fingernails and toenails may develop pinpoint dents or white spots and lines, and nails could become rough, lose their shine, or become thin and split.

Alopecia areata proves unpredictable, so the severity and pattern of the hair loss and regrowth as well as the length of time the disease lasts is different for all those who experience it. The hair loss, however, is not permanent, and while the disease has no cure, it is treatable.


One treatment option for alopecia areata includes the use of injectable steroids into the affected area to block inflammation and suppress the immune system; using topical ointments or taking steroids orally are similar options.

Experiencing alopecia areata can be difficult or traumatizing due to the emotional trauma of hair loss. If you suffer from this disease, the Hair by Janet team is here to help. Our hair replacement systems are custom-made and maintained, color managed and blended, and cut and shaped to fit in with your natural hair. Give us call at 650-592-3691 today to learn more about alopecia areata and our services!

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