Alopecia areata (AA) is probably the third most common form of hair loss dermatologists see, after androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium. This is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in small, random patches. The hair loss usually affects the scalp, but it can also occur in other areas of the body. Chemical alopecia though, is when a person loses hair due to a chemical drug or treatment. Therefore, this type of alopecia occurs more in cancer patients who use chemotherapy for treatment.
Alopecia areata (A.A)
Alopecia means loss of hair or baldness. It’s an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in small patches. It develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Sudden hair loss may occur on the scalp and other parts of the body. The condition rarely results in total hair loss, or alopecia universalis, but it can prevent hair from growing back. There’s currently no cure for alopecia areata. However, there are treatments that may help hair grow back more quickly and that can prevent future hair loss. There are also resources available to help people cope with the disease.
Causes and factors
The condition occurs when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and dramatically slow down hair production. However, it is still unknown what causes the immune system to attack hair follicles in this way. Alopecia areata can occur at any age but most cases first develop in teenagers and children. At least half of the people with alopecia areata develop their first patch of hair loss before they are 21. Although, researches still haven’t shown the exact cause of this diseases. It seems that genetics are involved as alopecia areata is more likely to occur in a person who has a close family member with the disease. Both males and females can equally develope A.A . And the condition tends to be milder when it first develops at an older age.
Symptoms and sings
The most prominent symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss mainly in the scalp. Any site of hair growth may be affected, though, including the beard and eyelashes. In a small number of cases, all scalp hair, body hair, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes are lost. This is called alopecia universalis. Apart from the bald patch or patches, the scalp usually looks healthy and there is no scarring. Occasionally, there is some mild redness, mild scaling, mild burning or a slightly itchy feeling on the bald patches. Alopecia areata can also affect the fingernails and toenails, and sometimes these changes are the first sign that the condition is developing. Quite often the bald patch or patches re-grow hair within a few months. However, if hair grows back, it may not have its usual color at first and look grey or white for a while.
In other hand, chemical alopecia is losing hair due to chemical trauma. It may be due to chemotherapy or the over use of chemical hair products and styling. Hair loss from chemical alopecia is possible where the follicles become sufficiently so damaged which causes burns to the scalp. When these burns are severe enough to harm the follicles but not cause permanent scarring. The result is chemical trauma and hair loss treatment is often possible.
Hair loss due to chemical alopecia is not uncommon. It can happen either due to excessive use of hair chemicals, straighteners and relaxers, or a certain cancer treatment.
This is a potential side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Hair loss may occur throughout the body, including the head, face, arms, legs, underarms, and pubic area. Hair may fall out entirely, gradually, or in sections. In some cases, hair will simply become thin and may become duller or dryer. Fortunately, hair loss due to cancer treatment is usually temporary. Most of the time, hair will grow back after the patient finishes the treatment.
Chemical products straighteners and relaxers
Chemical hair care can cause scalp damage that results in permanent hair loss. However permanent loss is not common after just one treatment. It’s the over use of these chemicals that result chemical alopecia. If the chemicals are left on the scalp for too long, they can definitely damage the hair bulb. If the hair bulb is damaged, it can stop producing hair permanently. And even if the hair grows chemicals will strip it of natural moisturizers that protect it and make it shiny. As a result, the hair breaks off, tins and becomes dull, dry and frizzy. However, if the follicles are scared, treatment is possible.
First of all, give your hair and scalp a break from chemical styles. And begin treating them by applying healing and nourishing natural hair masks. Also try to shampoo your hair with an organic all natural shampoo and conditioner. The natural treatment will work wonders, however, the already damaged hair wont be cured, but the new growing hair will look healthier. And put in mind that treatment may take time depending on the damage of the hair follicles.