This week, 12-20 November 2022 is Alopecia Areata Awareness Week. Held annually in the third week of November, this initiative aims to raise the profile of this often misunderstood skin condition and promotes ways to support friends or loved ones as they cope with the associated hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the hair follicle causing inflammation around the hair root. The hair root then becomes inactive, and the hair falls out.
In general, those that develop alopecia areata have a genetic predisposition due to its autoimmune basis, although stress can also be a trigger.
Despite the visible loss of hair, it is a misconception that the hair follicle has died. In fact, it remains alive waiting for a signal to be transmitted to restart the hair growth cycle. Unfortunately, there are usually no warning symptoms for alopecia areata, the hair simply stops growing and falls out.
Alopecia areata affects males and females equally and can develop in people of all ages, and most commonly occurs in people who are otherwise healthy.
Treatments focus on stimulating hair regrowth and include:
• Topical lotions and creams
• Cortisone injections
• Irritants to activate the immune system
• Oral corticosteroids tablets
• In serious cases, immune suppressants.
As part of its services, the Skin Health Institute offers a Hair Clinic with specialist dermatologists.
We also support the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation Inc. (AAAF), which was established to be the national body supporting research to find a cure or acceptable treatment for all forms of alopecia areata, support those with the disease and their families, and inform the public about all forms of alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata can be a lifelong condition that can deeply affect self-image, self-esteem, confidence and mental health. This week, make sure to educate yourself about this skin condition, whether it be listening to the Spot Diagnosis Podcast, watching the Institute Update from 29 June 2022 or visiting the AAAF website.