Tomorrow is Alopecia Awareness Day. In honour of this, I repeat the post below
Q: Dr Ketch well done and good job you’re doing. Please, my hair is pulling off on its own at both sides and in front. I am not on any drugs but a hair specialist told me it could be alopecia which is immune system working against the hair follicles. So please, what do I do to gain my hair back or boost my immune system?
A: Thanks for your kind words.
There are different types of hair loss (alopecia)
• The hair loss due to cancer treatment is well known and well documented. This is called anagen effluvium and hair would start to grow back a few months after chemotherapy stops.
• There is the male and female pattern baldness: This is more common in men starting as they age (around 50 years of age) and is thought to run in families. Male pattern baldness usually starts with thinning of the hair in front followed by thinning of the hair at the sides and the crown of the head.
This situation is less common in women but it could happen in women who have been through menopause.
• The hair follicles (the holes from which hair grows) could be destroyed due to disease conditions and the hair never grows back. This condition can occur in both men and women.
• Hair loss could also be due to a problem with the immune system which could very well be what your doctor has diagnosed. This would usually occur on the scalp but can occur anywhere in the body. They also occur at any age though they are more common in teenagers and young adults. Usually, after a few months, the hair grows back, oftentimes white and finer than it was before. It would then become thicker and go back to its natural colour after some time. Some people with this condition, however, go on to develop a condition in which they never recover their scalp hair or a condition in which they never recover the hair on both scalp and body. This condition can be treated with steroids or with a procedure called immunotherapy.
• Widespread thinning of the hair occurs in a condition known as Telogen effluvium. Triggers for this condition include pregnancy due to hormonal changes, periods of intense emotional stress and physical stress like child birth, crash dieting, long term illness like cancer and severe short term illness like severe infection, some medications etc The good news here is that most cases would stop and hair would start to grow back within 6 months.
As noted above, most causes of hair loss would reverse on their own. If your hair loss continues, does not reverse to itself and does not respond to therapy suggested, please see a dermatologist. Some treatment options available include medications, hair transplants and/or artificial hair implants. Wigs are also a stylish way to deal with this.
Hair loss may have emotional impact on people as it is part of our identity. Find people you can confide in and talk through your feelings.
To prevent this, especially for the ladies, avoid tight hair styles and pulling at your hair. Treat your hair gently eg combing with a wide toothed comb after washing your hair and try air drying instead of blow drying all the time. With the recent craze for going natural, this advice should not be too difficult to adhere to 😀
Have a good night, y’all 😀