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Philadelphia and Mainline Center of Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

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: 3853
Last updated: 2/11/2021 4:23 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%
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 WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

I ejoyed the beauty of the office-a nice place to be. I was anxious to meet the Dr.-and I found her to be great-very thouough,friendly and professional

#12020-03-10

Everyone was very nice!

#22020-05-31

I enjoyed being seen in a timely fashion...Left my last dermatologist because of hours long wait times. Thank you for valuing my time.

#32020-06-02

The fact you aren't rushed.

#42021-01-29

Clean, bright, well appointed office

#52020-12-09

The entire staff was friendly and attentive to my childs needs. Thank you!

#62021-01-26

dr and med asst. made me very comfortable instead of the traditional white coat syndrome

#72011-06-02 13:39:55

Everything was explained to me in detail; the doctor especially was very thorough both during and after her examination.

#82020-04-15

Both Alana and Dr. Ringfeil listened to all of my concerns. Excellent doctor and office, will highly recommend.

#92011-05-25 10:21:24

good service

#102020-03-05

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Can't think of anything staff were very helpful

#12020-02-28

more than adequate service!

#22021-01-19

No major suggestions. I got all the answers I needed.

#32020-12-08

before prescribing a very expensive treatment, inform the patient you are doing so.

#42020-03-11

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

#52020-08-17

Maybe directions as "across from the Lexus place." Have the assistant say there may be a name recall test later, as she introduces herself.

#62010-12-07 10:07:04

I have an unusual challenge getting to and from the office. Your practice is doing a great job; I will deal with the transportation issues.

#72011-03-21 10:03:43

The only (minor) thing that I was disappointed in was that when I booked the appt. via phone, I was told that in addition to my cosmetic questions and consult, the Dr. would also be able to do my full body check. It turned out that there was not enough time to do both.

#82011-07-27 15:04:39

Just continue your good work to keep your credibility in place.

#92010-10-12 10:33:59

My next appointment could not be scheduled for 6 weeks. I wish I could be seen sooner!

#102010-12-16 10:06:03
Customer Rating : 4.5

Based on 178 ratings
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