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What is Alopecia and Do I Have It?
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What is Alopecia and Do I Have It?

Author: Gary Heron

Alopecia is the loss of hair from the scalp, face, body or all three. It can vary in appearance from tiny random bald patches to total baldness. Although the condition does not cause the sufferer any physical pain, it can be the source of deep emotional distress.

Approximately forty-six types of Alopecia exist. Most of them are a symptom of illness or changes in body chemistry. Fortunately, most of them are curable and with the right treatment, hair nearly always grows back. Diagnosis is essential, as this will give a very strong indication of the prognosis or likely outcome.

Alopecia can be:-

Congenital - Acquired from birth

Genetic - Inherited from parents

Acquired - Caused by some outside factor

Iatrogenic - Drug induced

Cicatricial - Follicles destroyed by scarring

Post natal - Following childbirth

Traction - From continuous pulling

Alopecia Areata

A common condition, where normal hair growth is interspersed with totally bald, round or oval patches. It often begins in childhood and reoccurs throughout a person's lifetime, but rarely affects the elderly.

In most cases, the condition is confined to one or two spots, but it can spread and become Alopecia Totalis where the entire scalp becomes bald.

Alopecia Universalis is an even more distressing, but rare, condition where the hair is lost on the head, face and body.

What causes Alopecia Areata?

The immune system, which fights off viruses, bacteria and foreign tissue, turns and attacks the hair follicles stopping hair growth.

Although there isn't one specific cause, but there are number of theories:

Trophoneurotic - Relating to nerve damage or change.

Genetic Influences – There is a genetic link with being prone to autoimmune diseases. Alopecia Areata sometimes occurs in people whose family members have suffered from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, pernicious anemia or Addisons disease.

One in five people with the disease, have a family member who has had Alopecia Areata. And if the relation lost their first patch of hair before age 30, the risk to other family members is greater.

Atopic States - Alopecia Areata does seem to be more common in those people prone to eczema, asthma and nasal allergies.

Emotional Stress - This is thought to frequently trigger Alopecia Areata and its influence has long been underestimated by the medical professions.

Other conditions associated with Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata often affects the finger and toe, nails. They may show longitudinal ridges or pitting of the nail plate. The sufferer may also be more prone to eye disorders and Vitiligo, where patches of skin lose their pigment.

How the Condition Progresses

The bald patches sometimes form very rapidly. As they spread, the hair bulbs (papillae) fail to produce normal hair before they stop working. This causes the hair to be finer just above the scalp at which point the hair breaks off.

If you examined these hairs under a microscope, you'd find that instead of being round/oval they are shaped like an exclamation mark. As this type are only found around the perimeter of a rapidly growing patch, they are a clear indicator that the patch is still growing. An absence of exclamation mark hairs, shows that the patch has reached its full size.

This form of Alopecia predominantly attacks dark pigmented hairs, white hairs are usually not affected.

If the amount of hair loss is minimum and the patches are fairly small, hair re-growth will often start in the centre of the patch within a period of three months. White hair often grows back in its place, but normally regains its real colour within a few weeks. If the problem is continuing, old patches will re-grow as new patches form.

In rare cases, the patches continue to spread and multiply until they merge into each other eventually leading to total loss of hair on the scalp.


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About the Author:

Gary Heron is one of Europe's leading trichologists for the past 20 years dealing directly with every type of hair loss and scalp disorder for both men and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
Gary has had over twenty years’experience in dealing with every type of hair or scalp problem. For example, he helps people suffering with scalp disorders such as psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, folliculitis or from hair loss and thinning caused by genetic baldness, alopecia or through chemical or physical damage.www.thewestminsterpractice.com

Gary says," Everybody will experience some degree of trouble with his or her hair or scalp at some time. However, if you are experiencing hair loss or an irritating scalp problem you do not need to just tolerate it. You can take an active step today and seek help from The Hair Centre".
All treatments products supplied are formulated especially for The Hair Centre by leading trichologists and chemists. They have undergone exhaustive clinical trials and testing to ensure we can target disorders of the hair and scalp effectively.
All ingredients are of the highest standard and meticulously sourced to make sure that these products are the crème de la crème. We are confident we are offering you the very best treatment for hair and scalp problems available today.
to email Gary : gary@thewestminsterpractice.com

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