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3 signs that your hair fall is actually alopecia areata

Published on:7 March 2021, 12:00pm IST
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that usually results in sudden and patchy hair loss.
Grace Bains
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alopecia areata
Does it seem like nothing can fix your hair loss? Then read this. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which is often unnoticeable. This condition develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. This condition may manifest in the form of sudden hair loss on the scalp and even eyebrows, eyelashes, and face.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition and such conditions develop when the immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign substances and defends your body against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. In the case of alopecia areata, your immune system may mistakenly attack your hair follicles, which are structures from which hairs grow. The follicles, as a result of the mistaken attack, become smaller and stop producing hair, leading to hair loss.

To help you catch the condition as early as possible, we present to you three signs that will help you manage alopecia areata-

  1. Sudden hair fall

The main symptom of alopecia areata is sudden hair loss, wherein hair usually falls out in small coin-sized patches on the scalp. You may notice clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower. You may also notice itching or burning in the area before hair loss.

  1. Clinical signs

You may also notice exclamation mark hairs which occur when a few short hairs get narrower at their bottom and grow in or around the edges of bald spots. Moreover, you could also experience cadaver hairs, that is hair that breaks before ever reaching the skin surface and white hair may also grow in areas affected by hair loss.

alopecia areata
Take care of your hair with these tips! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  1. Changes in nails

Alopecia areata can also affect the fingernails and toenails, and there are a number of changes that can occur to nails, such as pinpoint dents, white spots, lines, roughness, loss of shine and thinning and splitting of nails. 

There is no treatment available yet, but we can start adopting a few tips to keep the hair healthy and strong so that we can slow the balding process:

  • Dietary protein: Hair is made up of protein and incorporating food items such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, and nuts will help give strength and texture to hair.
  • Be gentle: Avoid tight hairstyles, such as braids, buns or ponytails.
  • Seek treatment: If you catch it early, then treating hereditary hair with medications can be a viable option to explore. Medical consultation should be obtained before starting treatments based on Finasteride (blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone to fight hair loss) and Minoxidil (slows progressive balding in hereditary hair loss).

Remember, hair fall is normal in most cases but if you’ve had it for a prolonged period of time and nothing seems to fix it, you should probably book yourself for a consult.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.