How to Stop Alopecia Areata From Spreading

Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune condition. It affects the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. This condition can be distressing and impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence. To effectively manage alopecia areata, it’s important to understand its causes, triggers, and different types.

Causes and Triggers of Alopecia Areata

The exact cause of alopecia areata is still unknown, but researchers believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease. In this case, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, specifically the hair follicles. The exact triggers vary from person to person. Some common factors that can trigger alopecia areata include severe stress, certain infections, hormonal imbalances, and a family history of autoimmune diseases.

Different Types of Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata can manifest in different forms. Each has its own characteristics and hair loss spreading patterns.

Alopecia Areata

Round or oval patches of hair loss appear on the scalp or other areas of the body developing over a period of a few weeks or months followed, in most cases, by regrowth over several months. However, alopecia areata may persist for several years and sometimes resulting in total hair loss. Alopecia areata is the most common type.

Alopecia Totalis

Unlike patchy alopecia areata, where hair loss occurs in distinct patches, alopecia totalis results in complete hair loss on the scalp.

Alopecia Universalis

Results in the loss of all body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes. Alopecia universalis is relatively rare and is the most severe form of alopecia.

Woman inspecting her hair loss spreading on her scalp

 

Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia Areata

The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss, typically in small, round patches. These patches may be smooth or have a slightly raised border. In some cases, hair loss may progress and affect larger areas of the scalp or body. Recognizing the early signs of alopecia areata is important. Prompt intervention can help prevent additional hair loss and improve treatment outcomes.

How to Prevent Alopecia Areata from Spreading

There is no known cure for alopecia areata. You can take steps to prevent it from spreading and minimize further hair loss. It is essential to manage stress levels, as stress can trigger or worsen alopecia areata. Stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or regular exercise can help maintain a healthy mind and body. A balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins can support hair health and reduce the risk of hair loss spreading.

Good scalp hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of alopecia areata as well. Use gentle shampoos and conditioners that are free from harsh chemicals. Also, avoid excessive heat styling or tight hairstyles since they can strain the hair follicles. Lastly, protect your scalp from sun exposure. Wear a hat or use sunscreen to help prevent further damage to the hair follicles.

Expert Tips for Managing Hair Loss

Seeking guidance from experts in hair loss can provide valuable insights and strategies for managing alopecia areata. Dermatologists specializing in hair disorders can offer personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific condition. They can recommend topical therapies such as topical corticosteroids, minoxidil, or immunotherapy,  intralesional injections, oral immunosuppressive medications and the latest JAK inhibitor therapies to stimulate hair regrowth and prevent further hair loss. Hair loss support groups and online communities can provide emotional support and practical advice for coping with the challenges of alopecia areata.

Alopecia Areata Self-Care Tips

Taking care of your emotional well-being is crucial when dealing with alopecia areata. Accepting and embracing your appearance can help boost self-confidence and reduce stress levels. Experimenting with different hairstyles, wigs, or headscarves can be empowering and allow you to express your personal style. Remember to be gentle with your hair and avoid excessive brushing or styling, as it can further damage the hair follicles.

 Things to avoid when you have alopecia areata include practices that can worsen hair loss or irritate the scalp. Avoid using harsh chemical treatments, such as perming or coloring, as they can damage the already fragile hair follicles. You should also refrain from using tight hairstyles or hair accessories that pull on the hair. It is also advisable to avoid excessive heat styling tools, such as straighteners or curling irons, as they can weaken the hair shaft and contribute to hair breakage.

Hair Loss Treatment Options

There are various treatment options available for managing hair loss caused by alopecia areata. These include topical medications, oral medications, and injectable therapies. When applied directly to the affected areas, topical corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and stimulate hair regrowth. Oral medications, such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, may be prescribed for more severe cases. Injectable therapies, such as corticosteroid injections or platelet-rich plasma injections, can also promote hair regrowth.

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a cutting-edge treatment for hair loss, involving the extraction and concentration of platelets from the patient’s blood, which are then injected into the scalp. PRP contains growth factors that stimulate hair follicle health, encourage new blood vessel formation, and promote hair growth. This minimally invasive procedure has shown promise in enhancing hair density and quality, providing a non-surgical option for individuals experiencing hair thinning or alopecia. Florida Medical Clinic Orlando Health offers PRP in our Dermatology Clinic at Wiregrass office for all types of hair loss treatment.

Understanding Telogen Effluvium, Androgenic Alopecia, and Other Commons Hair Loss Problems

Apart from alopecia areata, there are other common types of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium and androgenic alopecia.

Telogen effluvium is a temporary condition where a significant amount of hair falls out as it prematurely enters the resting phase. It can be triggered by factors such as hormonal changes, stress, or nutritional deficiencies. It is important to note that it can be acute or a long-standing process and need to be evaluated and treated. The treatment will most likely be temporary as the hair grows back.

Androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness, is a genetic condition characterized by gradual hair thinning and hair loss, as you can see more of the scalp through the hair. Understanding these conditions and their specific management techniques can help you make informed decisions about your hair loss treatment. Here, the treatment would be long lasting as this is a genetic condition.

Alopecia hair thinning cycle for men and women

 

Female Pattern Hair Loss and Its Management

Female pattern hair loss is a specific type of androgenic alopecia that affects women. It is characterized by a gradual thinning of the hair over the crown and frontal areas of the scalp. Managing female pattern hair loss involves a combination of medical treatments, such as minoxidil or spironolactone, and non-medical approaches, such as hair transplantation or cosmetic camouflage techniques. Consulting with a dermatologist specializing in hair disorders can help determine the most suitable treatment plan for individual needs.

Contact Us

Managing and learning ways to prevent alopecia areata spreading requires a multifaceted approach that includes understanding the condition, adopting alopecia areata self-care practices, and seeking professional guidance. By implementing expert tips, practicing self-care, and avoiding certain triggers, you can effectively manage the spread of hair loss and regain confidence. If you are in the Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel, or Zephyrhills areas and seeking treatment, our experienced team is dedicated to providing support and tailored treatment options to help you manage and cope with hair loss.

For personalized and professional care, contact Florida Medical Clinic Orlando Health. Our experienced team is ready to provide tailored solutions and support to help you manage alopecia areata. Schedule a consultation today and take the first step towards regaining confidence in your hair health.

Meet Maria I. Hicks, MD, FAAD

Dr. Hicks is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was raised in Medellin, Colombia. She has been living and working in the Tampa area since 2011. Her fluency in English and Spanish allows her to connect with a wide range of patients. She is driven to help her patients understand what they are going through and develop solutions to their skin issues and hair loss problems. Her biggest passions outside the medical office are spending time with friends and family, dancing, traveling, and participating in community events. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Hicks by calling 813-780-8085.

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