This article looks at the symptoms and treatments of Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that affects hair growth. It’s a difficult condition to manage, but you can help your body cope with this chronic illness with natural remedies.
Alopecia areata is a condition that affects 2% of the world’s population. It may be a psychologically debilitating condition, even though it doesn’t cause physical discomfort or make you sick. This autoimmune condition causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and other body regions. It might appear out of nowhere and at any moment. It’s often confused with other causes of hair loss, such as androgenetic alopecia (also called male pattern baldness). On the other hand, your immune system attacks your hair follicles in alopecia areata. As a result, therapy methods must target the autoimmune reaction.
Physicians often prescribe traditional drugs and lotions to aid hair to regrow. However, the majority of them have negative side effects and only provide transient hair growth. Natural hair loss solutions may also assist in improving your immune system, decreasing inflammation, and addressing dietary shortages that may be exacerbating the problem.
What Is Alopecia Areata and How Does It Affect You?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune illness that causes hair loss by causing the immune system to assault the cells in your hair follicles. In Latin, the term alopecia means “baldness.” Areata is a Latin word that means “in patches.” Consequently, this condition, which causes little patches of baldness on the scalp and other regions of the face and body, makes perfect sense. Alopecia areata patients encounter varying degrees of hair loss. The most frequent symptom is the loss of little, circular patches of hair around the size of a quarter. Others lose a lot of hair or even all of it.
The following are the most prevalent alopecia areata symptoms:
- The scalp is the most prevalent location for hair loss. However, hair loss may also occur in other body areas, such as the beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes. According to studies, patients with alopecia areata who exhibit symptoms early in life have more severe hair loss. This is particularly true if hair loss starts in the first two decades of life. However, the disease’s progression is uncertain. Within the first year, 80 percent of patients’ hair regrows on its own. However, relapses might happen at any moment. Alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss on the scalp or other parts of the body, with one or more coin-sized spots on the scalp or other body parts. Alopecia areata may develop into one of two different kinds of alopecia. About 7% of people with alopecia areata experience this. There are two forms of alopecia that might affect patients:
- Alopecia areata totalis is a kind of hair loss that affects the whole scalp (occurs in about 5 percent of cases)
- Alopecia areata universalis – total hair loss throughout the whole scalp, face, and body, including regions such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, legs, and pubic hair (occurs in roughly 5% of cases).
- According to research, nail alterations are seen in 10 to 38 percent of people with alopecia areata. The degree of hair loss correlates to the intensity of the alterations. Nail pitting (depressions in your fingernails or toenails), rough, sandpapered nails, and vertical ridges or lines running from the base to the top are all frequent alterations.
Alopecia areata commonly strikes people between the ages of 20 and 40. On the other hand, symptoms of the condition might appear at any age. According to studies, by the age of 40, 82–88 percent of individuals would have developed alopecia areata. By the age of 20, 40% of people had developed symptoms. If symptoms appear early in childhood, there is a greater chance of developing a more serious condition later in life.
Anxiety and depression, thyroid disease (including Hashimoto’s disease), vitiligo, atopy (a heightened immune response to common allergens that can lead to conditions like asthma and eczema), lupus, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases are all risks for people with alopecia areata.
According to studies, 38–39 percent of people with alopecia areata exhibit indications of depression, and 39–62 percent develop a generalized anxiety disorder. These psychological problems may appear before or after alopecia areata symptoms appear. However, the majority of occurrences happen after the beginning of symptoms. Furthermore, research reveals that stressful events occur in roughly 10% of adults and 10–80% of children with alopecia areata before developing the condition.
Causes and Risk Factors
When you have alopecia areata, your white blood cells assault the cells of your hair follicles, which are designed to defend you from external invaders like viruses and bacteria. Consequently, the hair follicles get smaller, and hair production slows.
A combination of genes, according to scientists, may predispose a person to alopecia areata. However, unlike certain hereditary disorders, it’s unusual that a kid would inherit all of the genes necessary to predispose her to autoimmune disease. According to a comprehensive analysis published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, 0–8.6% of individuals with alopecia areata reported a family history of the condition during 51 years.
According to studies involving identical twins, environmental variables may have a role in the development of alopecia areata. The concordance rate of alopecia areata was determined in a research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, which looked at 11 pairs of identical twins and three sets of fraternal twins. Researchers discovered that identical twins had a concordance rate of 55%, while fraternal twins had a concordance rate of 0%. This suggests that alopecia areata has a hereditary component. However, since it isn’t 100 percent, environmental stimuli must also play a part in the disease’s progression. Virus infections, psychological stress, and trauma are some of the environmental variables that may play a role in the development of alopecia areata.
Environmental variables, according to scientists, promote an inflammatory reaction that interacts with your hair follicles and increases the body’s immunological response. This contact sets in motion the events that contribute to hair loss. To explain this further, experts refer to the disease’s seasonal cycle and a spike in relapses in the early spring, when viral infections are at their peak. In addition, according to research, people with other autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, Addison’s disease, or thyroid disease, have an increased chance of getting alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata has no known treatment. Hair regrows on its own in most cases. Treatments promote hair growth and help to avoid remission. The following are some of the most frequent traditional therapies for alopecia areata:
Corticosteroids: To decrease inflammation and increase hair growth, the doctor injects topical, locally injected, or systemic corticosteroids. Alopecia areata is often treated with corticosteroid injections by dermatologists. The operation must be done every four to six weeks. This therapy approach does not prevent the occurrence of fresh hair loss. It’s exclusively used to assist bald people in regrowing their hair. Corticosteroid injections have the potential to leave dells, or depressions, in the skin following therapy. Some of the additional adverse effects are a disturbed stomach, lightening of the skin tone where the injection was given, discomfort at the injection site, and inflammation at the injection site.
Minoxidil is a hair growth drug intended to help people regrow their hair. It’s present in prominent hair loss treatments like Rogaine. It is administered topically to both adults and children, with the drug being applied to the region of hair loss, whether it be the scalp, face, or body. Minoxidil therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments. However, it is ineffective in treating severe hair loss on its own.
Anthralin is a chemical that is used to change the immunological function of the skin. It is applied to the skin and left on for 20-60 minutes before being wiped off. Anthralin cream is used to help bald people regenerate their hair. However, it may irritate the skin and perhaps cause temporary brow discoloration.
Diphencyprone: Diphencyprone is a topical immune stimulant that is administered topically to regions of hair loss. It really triggers a slight allergic response, which stimulates white blood cells to migrate to the bald patches’ surface. The expectation is that this would reduce inflammation in the afflicted locations and encourage hair growth in the follicles. Serious forms of alopecia areata, such as alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis, are treated with this sort of immunotherapy.
Immunosuppressants, such as methotrexate and cyclosporine, work by inhibiting the immunological response that causes hair loss. In a 2014 trial of methotrexate’s effectiveness in alopecia areata, researchers discovered that 67 percent of patients saw hair regrowth of more than 50 percent. Nausea, diarrhea, sores, pale skin, and weariness are some of the adverse effects of immunosuppressants like methotrexate.
True, your digestive tract is in charge of your immune system. As a result, probiotics may aid in treating a variety of autoimmune diseases, including alopecia areata. According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the integumentary system of old mice was improved by feeding probiotic bacteria. This resulted in hair and skin that was healthier and younger appearing. Probiotic pills may help your immune system work more efficiently so that your body doesn’t respond to imagined threats and produce inflammation. Probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha, cultured vegetables, yogurt, and apple cider vinegar should be consumed regularly.
Zinc may help to cure alopecia areata naturally by boosting your immune system and repairing your gut, both of which are important for good immunological responses. Furthermore, zinc is essential for the hair follicles’ critical functional functions. Lower blood zinc levels are frequent in people with alopecia areata, according to a 2016 research published in the International Journal of Dermatology, with zinc levels being the lowest among patients with severe forms of hair loss illness. Zinc supplements, according to researchers, may have therapeutic value, particularly for people with zinc insufficiency. Zinc-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, lamb, chickpeas, cashews, yogurt, and spinach may also aid.
Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant that has been shown to decrease inflammation and protect against free radical damage. It has a high immune-boosting impact and acts to inhibit or down-regulate inflammatory pathways. This is why it’s often used to treat autoimmune illness symptoms. Compared to placebo injections, quercetin was proven to be beneficial in encouraging hair regeneration in mice in a 2012 research. This is thought to be because of quercetin’s anti-inflammatory effects.
Supplements and lotions containing quercetin may be found at vitamin and health food shops. Make sure you get these items from a trusted retailer. Make sure quercetin is the first item on the ingredient list. Bromelain is likely to be included in several formulations. Another anti-inflammatory enzyme used to combat immunological reactions is this one.
Ginseng is a well-known herbal remedy that includes several active ingredients. It acts to decrease inflammation and strengthen the immune system—this aids in immunological homeostasis in the organism. Red ginseng is an excellent and natural therapy for alopecia areata, according to a 2012 research done at Korea University College of Medicine. In addition, it may be used as a supplement to corticosteroid injections for those who already get them. Today, powdered, dried, and tablet versions of Asian and American ginseng are all accessible.
5. Lavender Essential Oil
The ability to cure and protect the skin is one of the numerous lavender oil advantages. It has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a potent antioxidant. In a 2016 study involving mice, researchers discovered that applying lavender oil topically to bald regions increased the number of hair follicles, deepened hair follicle depth, and strengthened the dermal layer. Compared to the placebo group, lavender oil therapy considerably reduced the number of white blood cells.
Aromatherapy treatment for alopecia areata was the subject of another research undertaken in Scotland. Patients in the therapy group rubbed lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood essential oils into their scalps regularly, mixing them with jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils. Only carrier oils were utilized in the control group. Only 15% of patients in the control group improved, whereas 44% of patients in the therapy group improved. The degree of improvement was substantial when hair growth was measured by photography, indicating that lavender oil and other helpful essential oils for hair may be used as a natural alopecia areata therapy.
6. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary oil is often used to thicken and grow hair. It works by stimulating hair growth by boosting cellular metabolism. According to studies, using rosemary oil topically is just as efficient as using minoxidil, a common alopecia areata therapy. Dandruff and dry scalp may also be treated with rosemary oil. Simply apply 2–3 drops of rosemary oil to the affected region twice a day.
Because it may lower the T1 cells that assault hair follicles and cause hair loss, acupuncture is utilized as a natural therapy for alopecia areata. It also helps to stimulate and warm hair follicles, decrease inflammation, and improve blood flow in the afflicted region. Acupuncture may also help with anxiety and despair. These are two issues that many people with alopecia areata face.
8. Include Anti-Inflammatory Foods in Your Diet
Eating healing, nutrient-dense meals that act to lower inflammation and enable your body to recover rapidly is one of the most crucial aspects of treating an inflammatory illness naturally. All processed and sugary foods should be avoided. Consume anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, beets, broccoli, blueberries, nuts, seeds, spices (particularly turmeric and ginger), wild-caught salmon, bone broth, and coconut oil instead. Antioxidants, vital minerals, and critical fatty acids are all found in these foods. Nutrient deficits are frequent in people with alopecia areata. So eat a well-balanced diet rich in a range of colors to ensure that you obtain the vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. Your levels may also be examined by a healthcare professional. Then, if there is a shortcoming, take explicit steps to fix it.
9. Stress Reduction
To cure thinning hair and hair loss caused by alopecia areata, lower your stress levels and give your body time to recuperate so your hair can regrow swiftly. A variety of stress relievers may improve blood circulation and increase hair growth. Some of these options include exercise (such as yoga), meditation, writing, and spending more time outside. Dealing with hair loss may be emotionally draining since it can make you feel uneasy about your looks. During this trying period, surround oneself with supportive friends and family members. Also, contact those who are coping with the same skin issue.
These natural alopecia areata remedies are safe to use both topically and orally. However, if you have any negative side effects, stop taking the herb, supplement, or essential oil and seek advice from your healthcare physician or nutritionist. In addition, find help from a community group or therapist if you’re dealing with the psychological effects of alopecia areata, such as anxiety, despair, or insecurity over your hair loss. To recover, you must eliminate stress as much as possible.
- Alopecia areata is an autoimmune illness that causes hair loss by causing the immune system to assault the cells in your hair follicles.
- Patchy hair loss and nail alterations, such as depressions in your fingernails, vertical ridges along with your nails, and rough nail texture, are the most prevalent signs of alopecia areata.
- Scientists think that alopecia areata is caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors.
- Corticosteroids (typically injectable), minoxidil, anthralin, diphencyprone, and immunosuppressants are all common therapies for alopecia areata.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can alopecia be cured naturally?
A: Yes, alopecia can be treated and cured using a combination of medication and dietary changes.
What medication is used to treat alopecia?
A: If a person is suffering from alopecia, they may require medication to help them deal with the hair loss. The most common medications that are used in this condition include Prednisone and Minoxidil. These medications will be applied directly onto the scalp over time until the hair on your head starts growing back naturally again.
How can I reverse alopecia naturally?
A: There are many ways to reverse alopecia naturally, such as using a vitamin supplement that boosts hair growth and diuretics like tea.
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