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Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

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

# of surveys: 3781
Last updated: 04/01/2019 1:44 PM

PATIENT RATINGS

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%
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0%

Overall doctor performance

excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
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0.80%
poor
0.03%
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The doctor listened to you attentively

excellent
93.9%
very good
4.97%
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1.05%
poor
0.05%
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The doctor took time to answer your questions

excellent
94.0%
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4.66%
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1.27%
poor
0.02%
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The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
94.3%
very good
4.16%
good
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poor
0.14%
very poor
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The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
92.0%
very good
5.69%
good
2.18%
poor
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Front desk performance

excellent
85.6%
very good
10.2%
good
3.66%
poor
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very poor
0.08%

Aesthetician performance

excellent
88.6%
very good
7.61%
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Office comfort

excellent
90.9%
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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%
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7.23%
good
1.85%
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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

I did not have to wait to be seen at all. From the start of my visit until I walked out the door the doctor & staff were very professional & took the tim to answer my questions and listen to me also. I have been seen by other dermatologist and I was defibately impressed here.+++A+++ Higly recommended.

#12019-06-06

Once in the examining room, I was treated professionally by both individuals whom I saw.

#22011-06-01 16:55:08

I have been to a number of derm docs....often it seems as though they have you try this or that but never seem to have a clear plan as to how they will treat ALL of the issues at hand. Thank you for taking the time to address each one of my concerns.

#32019-11-18

welll...besides the freeezing sensation applied to my paipai, i loved the paintings...for sure

#42020-03-20

Doctor was very direct and specific on probable course of treatment and potential effectiveness.

#52020-03-07

I really liked all aspects of my visist. I feel as though I have finally found a dermatologist. She and her staff were willingly to listen and give me their professional opinion and hopefully find a treament that will work longterm.

#62020-03-07

efficiency, carefulness, thoroughness very much in evidence.

#72019-08-29

Very Professional and Friendly. Would definitely recommend to friends and family.

#82019-07-13

Friendly staff and very nice office space

#92011-05-27 14:24:47

Dr. Ringpfeil was excellent.

#102020-02-10

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Complain to the insurance industry that they cove too little, complain to the product manufactures that they truely charge too much for the products. I feel that the industry in general is very slow to treat because of insurance allowances. Patients have busy work schedules and pay for monthly coverage that covers too little. In one hour or less could do what multiple appointments do to remove or treat small skin defects require many visits. Should provide payment better incentives.

#12010-11-10 12:28:11

Everything was great.

#22019-11-18

I do not believe there is a need to improve.

#32010-11-01 14:00:26

NO COMMENT AT THIS TIME.

#42019-07-16

keep on what you are doing because you are doing a good job

#52020-03-19

There's nothing better, u already doing well.

#62020-02-13

With such excellent service, there's nothing I can add to it. I am a very satisfied patient.

#72010-09-09 11:12:17

no complains

#82020-03-30

let people know about opportunity for free consultation with Jill(?) when making appointment.

#92010-09-13 11:24:22

While I totally understand the late policy, unfortunately my daughter and I drove 1.5 hrs to the facility and given the weather and errorous directions, we ended up being 7 mins late. I immediately called the office while on route to explain that we were lost and sought correct directions. The receptionist was very curt, short and condesending. Upon our arrival, there was no warm greeting and very limited eye contact. Again,as a heath care provider myself, I appreciate the need to follow a schedule, however, our appointments were in direct succession and I do not think it would have had a significant impact on the work schedule, given our special circumstance.

#102011-03-24 10:10:11