Alopecia has found its way back into the news again lately. Maybe that should be no surprise given that September is National Alopecia Areata Awareness Month – Certainly anything that can be done to raise awareness of this challenging condition can only be good and is worthy of our support.
So what exactly is Alopecia? The word translates literally into hair loss, so as you might imagine it is a broad church with a range of versions and causes. In fact, Androgenetic Alopecia is the technical name for male pattern hair loss – which means that at some point in their lives the majority of men will endure a personal relationship with Alopecia. But there is no doubt the condition is better known for the aggressive version with a sudden onset, Alopecia Areata. The sufferer will experience patches, usually circular, of scalp randomly appearing on their head – often associated with stress it is easy to imagine how this must exacerbate an already difficult situation, particularly for a child. Not least because it can develop and become Alopecia Totalis, where all body hair is lost.
Alopecia In The News
The diminutive Scottish lass Gail Porter, formerly the doyenne of youth TV programming, has been telling her Alopecia story to anyone that will listen… because she currently living in what is known as the Big Brother House taking part in the UK version of the Celebrity Big Brother there turn out to be rather a lot of people listening. In a touching show of support one of her housemates asked her to remove his own impressive locks… a move that made for some positive
Causes and Cures
Alopecia Areata affects 3 in every 2000 people in the UK. It is believed to be triggered when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, the resulting inflammation causes the hair to fall out – though the follicle itself remains undamaged holding the promise of future function. It is unclear what causes the immune system to behave in this way but a range of factors from diet and medication to a virus or environmental factors are all possibilities.
While there is no quick cure for Alopecia there are at least a range of treatments available to your Doctor as prescriptions. Most, like Minoxidil, help promote growth. There is an interesting exception to that rule, Diphencyprone can be applied to the bare patches to deliberately attempt to provoke an allergic reaction in the hope of resetting the immune system… by introducing something it is meant to be fighting with.
An Important Option
For some, those who choose to do something about their hair loss, Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) uniquely offers a return to the appearance of a full head of buzz cut hair. For Alopecia sufferers forced into wearing hats it can be a transformative experience. SMP does no damage to the existing follicles so when your hair does start growing again it will simply cover it over… Of course in the meantime you will be free of the type of confidence issues Gail Porter did such a good job of voicing.