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Alopecia areata: 7 tips for treating patchy baldness or patchy hair loss

by Lotte Lindgren on May 25, 2022

Read through by Dorthe Kristensen

Hairdresser and former co-owner of the award-winning hairdressing chain Zoom by Zoom
With many years of experience in the hairdressing industry, Dorthe has advised many customers about hair and hair care. Dorthe has read through this blog entry to ensure high quality and professionalism. This blog post is professionally updated on April 9, 2024.

Table of contents

Alopecia Areata and baldness

If you experience sudden, patchy hair loss, an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata may be at play.

Did you know…?

  • According to the Alopecia Society of England, four out of five people with alopecia regain their hair within a year of losing it without using any treatment.
  • Alopecia areata is in some cases hereditary, and in 20% of those who suffer from the disease, there is someone in the family who also suffers from it
  • Alopecia areata affects at least 147 million people worldwide.
  • There is no cure.

    What is alopecia areata?

    Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease that causes sudden patchy hair loss. The exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune reaction to a virus or other foreign substance. Alopecia areata typically affects the scalp, but can also cause hair loss in the beard, eyebrows and eyelashes. In its most severe form, alopecia areata can lead to complete baldness, or total alopecia.

    This can be a hard diagnosis for those affected, as it can lead to low self-esteem and even depression. There is no cure for alopecia areata, but there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms, prevent further hair loss and even regrow hair. These treatments may include steroids that are ingested or applied topically and other medications, such as minoxidil.

    In most cases, the hair will grow back on its own within a year or two, but there is no guarantee that this will happen. For some people, alopecia areata can be a lifelong condition that requires ongoing treatment to maintain hair.

    You can read much more about alopecia areata at sundhed.dk .

    Are there other types of alopecia?

    There are several different types of alopecia, each with their own characteristics. Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that only affects the scalp and appears as small, circular bald spots.

    In some cases, these spots can spread over the entire scalp until all the hair is gone, which is called alopecia totalis. Another type of alopecia, called alopecia universalis, results in hair loss all over the body.

    While alopecia areata is a fairly common condition, total and universal alopecia are extremely rare. In most cases, hair loss does not develop into either total or universal alopecia. Alopecia universalis is relatively rare and affects less than 1% of all people with alopecia areata.

    Although alopecia areata can be distressing, it is important to remember that most cases are mild and do not cause long-term damage. With early diagnosis and treatment, many people with alopecia areata can expect to have their hair grow back. So if you're experiencing hair loss, don't panic - see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

    Androgenic alopecia is another type of alopecia, and is an inherited condition that mostly affects men. This may mean that some men will begin to experience thinning hair and baldness in their early twenties.

    What is the cause of baldness, or alopecia areata?

    Some believe that stress can cause stress spots. There is no evidence that stress causes alopecia areata, and there is no evidence that food or vitamin deficiencies are to blame. Stress appears to be a trigger for alopecia areata in rare cases, but it is also possible that this connection could be a coincidence, as many of those affected have little or no stress.

    Alopecia areata can occur at any age, regardless of gender and background, but most cases occur suddenly and before the age of 30. This is why alopecia areata is often associated with children and teenagers.

    Signs of alopecia areata

    There are a few different ways that people can experience alopecia areata. The most common symptom is patchy hair loss, which appears as smooth, round, bald spots on the scalp. Other symptoms include:

    • Visible hair loss within a short time
    • Thinning of the hair over time
    • Receding hairline
    • Complete baldness (alopecia totalis)
    • Loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis)

    People with alopecia areata can also experience nail changes such as pitting, grooves or thinning of the nails. In some cases, people with alopecia areata may also have other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid diseases, vitiligo or rheumatoid arthritis.

    Alopecia areata treatment: 7 tips for treating patchy baldness or patchy hair loss

    We always recommend seeing your doctor if you suspect you have alopecia areata. However, there are some things you can try in the meantime, but remember that these methods may help the hair to grow back, but they cannot stop the spread of new bald spots.

    1. Improve blood circulation in the scalp

    Good circulation is important for hair growth because it brings oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle. This helps the follicle to produce healthy hair. Circulation also helps remove toxins from the follicle that can lead to unhealthy hair. One of the best ways to improve blood circulation in the scalp is to get regular head massages.

    This can be done with or without oil, but we recommend using a light oil such as jojoba or coconut oil , or our Grow and Glow hair serum , for best results. Start by massaging your scalp in circular motions for several minutes. You can also add a drop or two of essential oils to your massage oil to give it an extra boost.

    You can also advantageously use a scalp brush in the bath while washing your hair. It exfoliates the skin, stimulates the blood supply to the scalp and hair roots and thus increases hair growth.

    Another great way to improve circulation is to use a dry brush on your scalp before you shower. This will help stimulate blood flow and promote healthy hair growth.

    2. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner in the bath

    There are a few reasons why it is good to use a mild shampoo and conditioner when suffering from alopecia areata. First, gentle cleansing can help remove excess oil or sebum that can clog follicles and cause hair loss. Second, using a mild shampoo and conditioner can help keep the scalp healthy, which is important for hair growth. Finally, you can avoid irritating the scalp by using a mild shampoo and conditioner, which can also lead to hair loss.

    Our Grow and Glow range is sulfate- and silicone-free and has been developed to stimulate hair growth and reduce hair loss using gentle and natural ingredients.

    It is important to avoid silicone in your hair regimen, it prevents ingredients from properly penetrating your hair ❌

    3. Prevent stress

    As mentioned before, there isn't a scientifically proven link between stress and hair loss, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it could be a factor. In general, it is a good idea to reduce the stress level as much as possible, as overloading can have psychological and physical consequences.

    There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how to prevent stress, as the best way to do it can vary from person to person. However, some general advice on how to prevent stress is: exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat healthy, avoid alcohol and drugs, take breaks during periods of intensive work or activity, and learn relaxation techniques such as music, crafts, meditation or yoga.

    You can also try to identify the sources of your stress and take steps to avoid them if possible. If you feel that you are having difficulty dealing with stress, it is important to seek professional help.

    You can use yoga to lower stress levels

    4. Protect hair and scalp from the sun

    The sun can damage hair and scalp in several ways. First, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight can break down the protein structure of the hair, making it weaker and more prone to breakage. Second, the heat from the sun can dry out and damage the hair shaft, making it more susceptible to breakage. Finally, the sun can cause the scalp to become irritated and inflamed, which can lead to hair loss.

    There are several ways to protect your hair from sun damage. First, you can wear a hat or a scarf to cover your hair when you are outside for a long time. Second, you can use a conditioner or a leave-in treatment that contains sunscreen to protect your hair. Finally, you can avoid using hot styling tools such as curling irons and blow dryers, which can further damage sun-damaged hair.

    5. Stove anti-inflammatory

    Inflammation plays an important role in many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and can help prevent or treat conditions that can lead to hair loss.

    There are many foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These include omega-3 fatty acids, colorful fruits and vegetables, certain herbs and spices, and probiotics. Adding these foods to your diet can help reduce inflammation.

    Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that have anti-inflammatory effects.

    Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from inflammation.

    Certain herbs and spices, such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon, have anti-inflammatory properties.

    Probiotics are live bacteria found in fermented foods and supplements. They help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which can reduce inflammation.

    The connection between diet and health is well established. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a number of chronic diseases, while a healthy diet can help prevent or manage these diseases. This also applies to alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Although there is no guarantee that following an anti-inflammatory diet will always be an effective treatment for alopecia areata, it can certainly help improve your overall health.

    6. Essential oils

    Some essential oils are anti-inflammatory and can help treat alopecia areata by reducing inflammation. You can use essential oils topically or inhale them (via an oil burner), or you can add the oils to shampoo or other products.

    7. Take care of the hair you have

    If you are affected by Alopecia, it is important to treat your remaining hair well so that you minimize the stress on your hair. You can do this via silicone and sulfate-free hair products, among other things. This will mean that your hair strands will not be closed in the same way and means that your hair has a better absorption of the nutrients you get from shampoo, hair treatment or conditioner.

    Frequently asked questions about alopecia

    Who is affected by alopecia?

    Alopecia is an autoimmune disease, which means that it more often affects people who are related to people who have autoimmune diseases. This could be, for example, diabetes, atopic eczema or something else. Alopecia affects men and women equally.

    How does alopecia start?

    It often starts with a few coin-sized spots in the hair, which then grow bigger and bigger. That means it starts as baldness.

    Will I get my hair back?

    More than half spontaneously regrow their hair after 6 to 12 months. And 80% experience regrowth of the hair.

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