Alopecia totalis is a type of hair loss in which the person would lose all the hair from the scalp. It is one of the common types of hair problem faced by millions of people. It is believed that 2 persons in every 100 would have some form of hair loss (alopecia areata) and among them 2 persons would develop complete hair loss from their scalp leading to alopecia totalis. This type of hair loss problem is said to originate from autoimmune disorder. Treatment for alopecia totalis is available in the form of steroid injections, creams/lotions and laser therapy. Alopecia totalis is not a disease and is not contagious.
Hair loss is the one and only symptom of alopecia totalis. It can happen suddenly as a matter of just few days or it can happen gradually as a process. The person affected with alopecia areata will lose hair as patches and as more and more hair follicles are destroyed it would lead to total hair loss on the scalp. Some people may develop itchy red patches on the scalp and the skin can become painful in that area.
Alopecia totalis is caused by negative response of immune system. The body’s own immune system will perceive the hair follicles as foreign bodies and destroys them eventually. This results in inflammation of roots of hair follicles causing baldness. Alopecia totalis is considered to be triggered by stress. Heightened emotions and stressful life can cause total hair loss.
Very often, the process of hair loss and hair re-growth comes in a repetitive cycle. The affected person will develop new hairs even if he/she is not taking any treatment. But this is followed by loss of hair again. Genetic factor can also be involved in causing alopecia totalis.
Who are at risk?
Alopecia totalis can affect anyone, but people with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and AIDS are likely to develop this condition. Children and young adults are prone to develop alopecia totalis.
Simple physical exam of the scalp is enough to detect alopecia totalis.
Pictures of Alopecia Totalis :
There is no cure for total hair loss but treatments can help you to manage the symptoms. Hair can regrow in the area of baldness in just a few months even without treatment. In many cases taking treatment would improve hair growth but in some people it may not respond causing further hair loss. Your dermatologist will give a shot of steroid injection over the affected area of the scalp. This would trigger hair growth in few days.
Creams are available to treat alopecia totalis. Minoxidil is an effective drug prescribed for controlling hair loss. Laser therapy and UV therapy are the most sought out options for complete hair loss. If you think the above methods are expensive and not durable, you can use wigs to cover your bald head. The outcome will be favorable for most of the people who take treatment for alopecia totalis, except for few people with other autoimmune disorders like eczema.