Focal baldness (focal alopecia, alopecia areata) is a type of hair loss in which baldness develops in certain areas of the head. In some cases, the hair falls out over a large area or even on the whole body. Usually hair growth is restored within a few months, but sometimes baldness becomes permanent. Estimates of the number of people affected by this disease at one time or another in their lives vary from one to two people per 1000 population.
Focal alopecia can develop at any age, but in most cases (60%) hair loss occurs before the age of 20.
In the younger age groups, the proportion between boys and girls is equal, but in the future, women suffer more from focal baldness than men.
In older age, the disease proceeds milder, the lesions are usually smaller, and in most cases the hair is restored by itself, naturally.
How does focal alopecia proceed?
Usually baldness begins with the sudden appearance of one or more bald spots on the scalp. As a rule, they have a round shape and the size of a coin, but they can quickly increase. At the same time, the skin looks completely healthy, without scars or other damage. Only sometimes there is a slight redness, slight itching or burning, so relatives, friends or a hairdresser are the first to notice a receding hairline.
In May 2013, the American National Alopecia Areata Foundation held a meeting for the 28th time for children suffering from focal hair loss and their parents. The purpose of such annual meetings is psychological support for children and adolescents who are often ridiculed by their peers because of their baldness. In addition, at such events, parents can exchange experience in the treatment of this disease.
Causes of focal baldness
Focal alopecia is considered an autoimmune disease in which the immune system fails and lymphocytes attack the hair follicles. It is not known why only some areas of the skin are affected. In addition, the affected follicles are not destroyed and, if the immune system returns to normal, they are able to produce normal hair again.
The causes of autoimmune diseases are still unknown, but it is believed that they are caused by external factors, including infections, viruses, disturbed ecology and medications. It is also known that the tendency to autoimmune diseases is inherited: every fourth patient suffering from focal baldness has a close relative with the same problems.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that if you suffer from focal alopecia, then your chances of contracting other autoimmune diseases are higher than average. However, most people who have undergone focal baldness do not encounter them.
In mild cases, focal baldness passes by itself, so that in a period of several months to a year, you can take your time with treatment. Sometimes areas of baldness appear and disappear for many months or years, in different places of the hairline and have different sizes.
Treatment options for focal baldness
Today there are several treatment options for focal alopecia. It is difficult to determine whether any of them will benefit you specifically. In the case of focal baldness, it is generally difficult to investigate the effectiveness of therapeutic tactics: with this disease, the hair often regenerates itself without any treatment, so it is impossible to determine whether therapy helped or the disease receded naturally.
Read more in our next publications. We remind you, if the doctor told you to buy propecia (or another drug to restore hair growth), then you can do it on our website, follow the link from the main page and get healthy hair!