Alopecia Areata Treatment

Alopecia Areata - Overview

Alopecia areata is a disorder that affects hair follicles and is reflected in round patches of hair loss. Normally, the immune system functions to protect the body against infection and disease. In alopecia areata, the body’s immune system mistakenly recognizes hair follicles as foreign and attacks them. The cause is not known, but the prevailing scientific hypothesis is that genetics plays a significant role in predisposition and a trigger initiates the attack on the hair follicles.

Diagnosis

Alopecia areata often begins in childhood. The risk is significantly increased if you have a close family member afflicted with the disease. Emotional or physical trauma typically precedes the hair loss by up to 3 months. Hair falls out in small, round patches leaving a smooth hairless scalp in affected areas. Degree of hair loss varies from one bare patch to considerable balding. In rare cases, the disease causes complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or total body (alopecia universalis). Rarely, alopecia areata presents as diffuse hair loss. On occasion, a scalp biopsy may be performed. If additional signs or symptoms are present, blood tests may reveal other autoimmune conditions.

Management

In most instances, the hair regrows spontaneously; however, this process takes several months. When alopecia areata is located on the scalp and cannot easily be hidden by covering hair or clever hairstyles, the psychological impact of alopecia areata can be severe. There is no make up that imitates hair and a hat may be inappropriate in a school or working environment. A wig can temporarily become necessary.

Treatment and Medication

Alopecia areata is difficult to treat and only few treatments have been assessed in randomized controlled trials. The most common treatments seem to facilitate faster regrowth of hair rather than treat the underlying problem. Typical therapy includes topical corticosteroids, steroid injection under the skin surface, and ultraviolet light therapy, especially narrowband UVB. Irritating drugs may be applied to hairless areas to stimulate hair growth. Rarely, systemic immune suppressive treatments are indicated. Some people with alopecia areata try alternative treatments including acupuncture and Chinese herbs. There is no cure for alopecia areata.

Coping

Many are profoundly upset by their hair loss and some may require psychological support. It might be difficult to cope with relapse following or during initially successful treatment. These considerations are particularly important in children, as social disruption and focusing of the child's attention on their hair loss may result from active treatment. Contact with other sufferers or a patient support group is strongly recommended.

Prevention

When emotional stress is the known trigger, efforts should be made to redirect or avoid these stressors. Some may do well with biofeedback training, mediation or Yoga; others will find their own way of coping with these stressors.

General considerations to keep your hair healthy and minimize the appearance of hair loss include a nutritionally balanced diet; and gentle handling of your hair. Whenever possible, allow your hair to air-dry naturally; avoid tight hairstyles, such as braids, buns or ponytails; and avoid compulsively twisting, rubbing or pulling your hair.

How can we help you?

    SKIN

Uncensored Patient Reviews

Performance Report

(Based on 3692 surveys)
Would you recommend us?
definitely
93.1%
probably
6.16%
maybe
0.58%
not likely
0.08%
no
0.02%
Compare our service to other similar practices
excellent
87.9%
very good
10.1%
good
1.8%
poor
0.06%
very poor
0%
Overall doctor performance
excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
good
0.80%
poor
0.03%
very poor
0%
The doctor listened to you attentively
excellent
93.9%
very good
4.97%
good
1.05%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%
The doctor took time to answer your questions
excellent
94.0%
very good
4.66%
good
1.27%
poor
0.02%
very poor
0%
The doctor explained treatment options
excellent
94.3%
very good
4.16%
good
1.25%
poor
0.14%
very poor
0.02%
The doctor explained treatment options
excellent
92.0%
very good
5.69%
good
2.18%
poor
0.11%
very poor
0.0%
Front desk performance
excellent
85.6%
very good
10.2%
good
3.66%
poor
0.31%
very poor
0.08%
Aesthetician performance
excellent
88.6%
very good
7.61%
good
3.39%
poor
0.24%
very poor
0.08%
Office comfort
excellent
90.9%
very good
6.93%
good
2.08%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0.05%
Parking
excellent
66.4%
very good
14.4%
good
15.7%
poor
2.49%
very poor
0.9%
Friendliness of the staff during appointment
excellent
90.9%
very good
7.23%
good
1.85%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

What did we do Well?

(answers:674)
#1
2014-12-16
Timeliness and attention.
#2
2010-12-15 11:51:05
I found this to be a very pleasant and professional appointment -- better than most .... I would absolutely recommend to others and will utilize the many services available at this office.
#3
2015-03-20
It was delightful to find a physician who really listened! Thank you.
#4
2014-06-24
I thought everyone was very professional and nice.
#5
2014-12-22
staff/ambiance/cleanliness
#6
2011-05-03 10:51:30
All was excellent
#7
2014-09-11
I really liked that I felt as though I was in a warm and friendly environment vs the sterile and cold feel many other physicians offices maintain. I also thought the tablet P.C. was very cool!
#8
2015-01-21
Very relaxed and comforting environment. This was my first visit with a dermatologist and am quite happy with the experience.
#9
2010-12-16 12:15:00
I like the knowledge and confident in Dr Ringpfeil.
#10
2011-11-17 15:30:47
Dr. Heckman gave me a lot of information and listened and answered all of my questions.

What can we do better?

(answers:373)
#1
2011-02-21 10:56:55
Coffee, Tea? only kidding. Hope I gave the reader a smile today.
#2
2015-03-17
Only the 30 minute wait time really should be shortened.
#3
2011-01-24 14:33:36
Nicer chairs in office
#4
2014-09-07
There was some wait between my initial interview with the medical assistantand my meeting the physician. This wait could have been shorter.
#5
2014-12-08
Keep it up!
#6
2015-05-11
Keep it up!
#7
2014-09-20
May be by considering the comfort of the patients by allowing a grace period of atleast10-15mins and also by functioning on weekends too
#8
2014-10-26
No recommendations - very satisfied/pleased with everything about the visit and the office and the Doctor and her assistants. thank you to everybody for makinng me feel so comfortable (i was verrrrrry nerous)!!
#9
2011-09-08 11:08:45
Have the patient internet working
#10
2010-10-07 10:02:42
everything was beyond my expectations . No doctor has ever given me such a complete exam