What is alopecia?

Alopecia is a hair-loss condition which usually affects the scalp. It can, however, sometimes affect other areas of the body. Hair loss tends to be rather rapid and often involves one side of the head more than the other.

Alopecia affects both males and females. This type of hair loss is different than male-pattern baldness, an inherited condition.

What causes alopecia?

Current evidence suggests that alopecia is caused by an abnormality in the immune system. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia, for unknown reasons, the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune cells inside of the hair follicles where they are not normally present. What causes this is unknown. Alopecia is sometimes associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Sometimes, alopecia occurs within family members, suggesting it maybe heredity.

Who is affected by alopecia?

Alopecia tends to occur most often in children, teens, and young adults. However, it can also affect older individuals and rarely toddlers. Alopecia is not contagious. It should not be confused with the hair loss that may occur following the discontinuation of estrogen and progesterone therapies for birth control or the hair loss associated with the end of pregnancy.

How can permanent cosmetics help alopecia?

Permanent makeup can help by filling in eyebrows and eyelashes that have been thinned out or are no longer visible due to alopecia.