Living With Alopecia: The Coily Hair Perspective
|Full, Thick, Healthy Hair Can Hide Alopecia|
About 9 years ago, I saw 2 bald spots on my head full of relaxed hair. I remember clearly: I was at the hairdresser, who softly asked me if I was on any medication because she saw a bald spot "the size of a quarter" on my scalp. I won't lie, I freaked out. I went to the doctor immediately, and had them do blood-work. Nothing showed up on the labs, maybe a thyroid number slightly off--but nothing else. Especially nothing else to explain why my hair follicles were "under attack".
I harassed a dermatologist to inject me with steroids--so my hair would grow in quicker. And grow--my hair did. Before I even realized it, my bald patches (2 of them) had grown in quickly, and even caught up with the normal length of my hair. The dermatologist explained to me that my hair would have grown back without the steroid injections (but I was pretty impatient about seeing my bald patches go away).
Fast forward to today. I've got a head-full of curls now. My recent attempt at getting my curls flat ironed straight revealed a large circular bald spot (about the size of a half dollar)!
|Alopecia Areata on Coily Hair|
I share this post for those of you who (are currently or) have experienced alopecia (there are a few different causes for the different types of alopecia). For instance, Alopecia Areata is speculated to be genetic, while Alopecia (traction) usually has external causes (like pulling, or tension on the hair). Some folks who suffer with Alopecia Areata struggle to figure out what they may have done wrong to cause this situation. Understand that it is totally out of your hands. Genetics and stress are the top causes for this type of reaction from the body.
Check out the helpful information below from www.niams.nih.gov.
|Two Strand Twists on Thinning, Fine Coily Hair|
As always, Stay Beautiful!
What Is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a disease that affects the hair follicles, which
are part of the skin from which hairs grow. In most cases, hair falls
out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. Many people
with the disease get only a few bare patches. Some people may lose more
hair. Rarely, the disease causes total loss of hair on the head or
complete loss of hair on the head, face, and body.
Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public
Who Gets Alopecia Areata?Anyone can have alopecia areata. It often begins in childhood. There is a slightly increased risk of having the disease if you have a close family member with the disease.
The cause is not known. Scientists think that a person’s genes may play a role. For people whose genes put them at risk for the disease, some type of trigger starts the attack on the hair follicles. The triggers may be a virus or something in the person’s environment.
The following are some treatments for alopecia areata. They may help hair grow back, but none of them prevent new patches of hair loss or cure the disease.
Corticosteroids are drugs that reduce swelling and pain. They also affect the immune system. Corticosteroids may be given in three ways for alopecia areata:
- Injected in the skin
- Swallowed as pills
- Rubbed on the skin as a cream or ointment.
- Minoxidil (5%)
- Squaric acid dibutyl ester (SADBE) and diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP).
In photochemotherapy, a person is given a drug called a psoralen, which is affected by light. The drug can be swallowed or rubbed on the skin. Once the drug is taken or applied, the area with hair loss is exposed to an ultraviolet light source. This combined treatment is called PUVA.
Some people with alopecia areata try other treatments. These alternatives include acupuncture, aroma therapy, evening primrose oil, zinc and vitamin supplements, and Chinese herbs. Because many alternative therapies have not been studied in clinical trials, they may or may not help hair grow back. In fact, some may cause more hair loss. Talk with your doctor before you try alternative therapies.
- Learning as much as you can about the disease.
- Talking with others who are dealing with the disease.
- Learning to value yourself for who you are, not for how much hair you have or don’t have.
- Talking with a counselor, if necessary, to help build a positive self-image.
- Use sunscreens for the scalp, face, and all exposed skin.
- Wear eyeglasses (or sunglasses) to protect eyes from sun, and from dust and debris, when eyebrows or eyelashes are missing.
- Wear wigs, caps, or scarves to protect the scalp from the sun and keep the head warm.
- Apply antibiotic ointment inside the nostrils to help keep germs out of the nose when nostril hair is missing.
- Try wearing a wig, hairpiece, scarf, or cap.
- Use a hair-colored powder, cream, or crayon applied to the scalp for small patches of hair loss to make the hair loss less obvious.
- Use an eyebrow pencil to mask missing eyebrows.
- Hair follicle development
- Immune treatments
- Stem cells in the skin
For More Information About Alopecia Areata and Other Related Conditions:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
1 AMS Circle
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Toll Free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
This publication is not copyrighted. Readers are encouraged to duplicate and distribute as many copies as needed.