ALOPECIA AREATA

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OUR DERMATOLOGISTS ARE EXPERTS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF HAIR LOSS, INCLUDING ALOPECIA AREATA.

 

IN OVER 90% OF CASES, WE ARE SUCCESSFUL IN RE-GROWING HAIR WITHIN A FEW WEEKS.  

Our hair specialists are internationally recognised experts in managing alopecia areata in all ages & severity. Some treatments are partially covered under Medicare.

OUR FACTS ON ALOPECIA AREATA...

  • New medical therapy means hair loss can be effectively treated in the most cases

  • Re-growth can be seen as early as 2 weeks

  • Medicare partially covers the most common treatments

  • Treatments take 2-3 minutes to perform 

  • Dermatologists can diagnose & manage even the most complex hair loss problems

ASK US ABOUT TREATING HAIR LOSS

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MEET OUR HAIR LOSS EXPERTS

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DR. ESHINI PERERA

Dermatologist

Dr Perera has attained a Fellowship in Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and developed a broad range of experience in dermatological clinical research. She completed further training at Queensland Institute of Dermatology

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DR. HEBA JIBREAL

Dermatologist

Dr Jibreal completed her dermatology specialist training overseas and in Australia at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Queensland Children’s Hospital. She holds dual qualifications as a fellow of the Australian College.

What does Alopecia Areata look like?

Alopecia areata has several different patterns and types such as:

Patchy alopecia areata:

 

o   The most common type and the main characteristic of this type of alopecia areata is one or more coin-sized patches of hair loss on the skin or body. The patches can expand and become alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis.

 

Alopecia totalis:

 

o   Alopecia totalis happens when you have hair loss across the whole scalp. Up to 5% of autoimmune hair loss is affected by alopecia totalis.

 

Alopecia universalis:

 

o   Along with losing hair on the scalp, people with this type of alopecia areata also lose all hair on the face, eyebrows, and eyelashes. It can also lead to loss of other body hair, including chest, back, and pubic hair. Alopecia universalis happens rarely and affects less than 1% of the cases of autoimmune hair loss.

 

Diffuse alopecia areata:

 

o   It results in sudden and unexpected thinning of hair all over the scalp, not in just one area or patch. The Persisting new growing hair tends to grey, thus descriptions of 'turning white overnight'. It can also be confused with other clinical conditions.

 

Ophiasis:

 

o   It is a type of alopecia areata that affects the back and the lateral of the scalp. The bald area can then encircle the scalp.

 

Alopecia areata of the nails:

 

Alopecia areata in nails affects 10–50% of those who have alopecia areata. It can cause pitting, which are tiny depressions on the nails, and ridging.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks hair follicles causing hair loss. The hair loss happens suddenly in round non-scarring patches which can affect the hair follicle in different parts other than the scalp like beard, eyelashes, eyebrows, as well as other parts of the body.

Does alopecia areata scar?

No. Alopecia areata doesn’t destroy the hair follicle itself, but the autoimmune-induced inflammatory response causes damage to the resulting hair which gives the possibility of hair regrowth and this also differentiates this disease from other similar conditions. 

 

The condition can extend to hair loss of the whole body (alopecia universalis) or cause hair loss throughout the entire scalp (alopecia totalis). The hair regrowth can happen slowly, but it’s not guaranteed, and the hair may fall off again. The degree of hair loss and regrowth varies from person to person.

What can cause Alopecia Areata? 

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system, which is normally the natural defense that protects the body from infections and other diseases, triggers an inflammatory response against the growing hair. 

 

The main cause is unknown; however, some triggers can contribute to it: 

 

●      Viral infection

●      Trauma 

●      Hormonal changes

●      Emotional/physical stressors

●      Previous history of other autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes 

●      Family history of Alopecia Areata: about 20% of the cases

What are the symptoms of Alopecia Areata? 

The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss which usually happens in small patches at first. The hair loss is symptomless in most of the patients, but some feel a tingling sensation when the patches start losing hair. 

How is Alopecia Areata diagnosed? 

  •  A dermatologist diagnoses alopecia areata through examining the patches where hair loss is found, taking medical and family history, and performing some in-consultation tests such as the hair-pull test which is a simple test to measure the severity of hair loss. 

 

  • Alopecia areata also has a characteristic sign called Exclamation mark hairs that are 2 to 3 mm in length, broken or tapered, with a club-shaped root. The dermatologist may also do a biopsy to exclude other conditions that cause hair loss and perform blood tests if other autoimmune diseases are suspected. 

 

  • Dermatologists also use trichoscopy (use of a dermatoscope to examine hair and scalp) to confirm the diagnosis. 

How is Alopecia Areata treated? 

Alopecia areata may resolve by itself. In most cases, the hair regrowth happens spontaneously. Dermatologist may hasten regrowth with topical & intralesional anti-inflammatory medications, which most of which are different forms of steroids. 

Treatment options include: 

 

  1.  Topical agents: treatment applied on the affected areas to stimulate hair growth:

 

  • Minoxidil: act as a hair growth stimulant for cases with limited alopecia areata. Applied twice daily and needs a long period to show results. Minoxidil is also found in both foam and topical solutions. 

  • Anthralin: a drug that acts by creating inflammation by generating free radicals, which have antiproliferative and immunosuppressive actions.

  • Topical Steroids: decrease the inflammation of the hair follicle and are found as creams, ointment, foams, and lotions. 

    2. Injections:

 

  • Steroids injections: it is for mild cases and injected to the affected area. Tiny needles inject the steroid and treatment has to be repeated every one to two months to regrow hair. The injection doesn’t prevent new hair loss from occurring. 

When do dermatologists prescribe medications to regrow hair?

Systemic oral drugs may be prescribed by your dermatologist in the following cases:

  

●      More than 20% of scalp hair loss

●      Rapid hair loss

●      Chronic hair loss

●      Severe distress

Medications used are:

 

●     Corticosteroids: decrease the inflammation but causes a lot of adverse effects and are difficult to use in the long term. 

 

●    Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors; a new approach to alopecia areata is to use immunosuppressors to modulate the autoimmunity causing the disease. The drugs were effective in some cases, but it still rarely used due to their side effects. 

What to know more about the science of treatment... 

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