The hair grows on average for 3-4 years, and then makes place for another. Normally, 100-150 hairs fall per day. Naturally, no one will count them, but one can easily notice if more hair gets on the brush, comb, or clothes.
Alopecia areata is a form of alopecia (hair loss). It’s a non-life-threatening disease of your immune system that affects the hair on your scalp. With this condition, your body mistakenly views your hair follicles as an enemy. Your body attacks the hair follicles. This causes some or all of your hair to fall out. It usually begins with the hair on your head.
There are three severe forms of alopecia, including:
1. Alopecia areata patchy : The most common form, with one or more coin-sized hairless patches on the scalp or other areas of the body
2. Alopecia totalis : Total loss of the hair on the scalp
3. Alopecia universalis : Complete loss of hair on the scalp, face and body
What causes alopecia areata?
There are lots of factors that contribute to developing this complex condition. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system mistakes the normal cells in your body as foreign invaders and attacks these cells.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure what “triggers” the immune system to attack healthy hair follicles when people have alopecia areata, or even if these triggers first happen inside the body (from a virus or bacteria), outside the body (from something in your surroundings) or if it’s a combination of both.
Hair loss can also be due to scalp infections, hormonal disorders, autoimmune diseases where the problem begins with small spots that expand over time, and other diseases.
Often, Internal factors leading to hair loss indicate a serious health problem that develops in the body. There are also cases where the underlying disease affects more intensively the hair loss than the specific organ in which the ailment takes place.
External factors include environmental pollution – industry-polluted air, high radiation, chemicals-related industries. Here we can add the harmful habits that cause various body damage, which can negatively affect the density of the hair. These include alcohol and cigarettes that damage the capillaries, and they begin to function poorly and disturb the nourishment of hair follicles.
Stress, anxiety, depressive conditions can also lead to hair loss. Various drugs also can cause this condition because they can weaken the hair roots – beta-blockers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, etc. The use of aggressive cosmetics, frequent change of hair color and hairstyle ,curls, straightening can also damage the hair chemically and physically.
According to Ayurveda, the diseases, including of course hair loss, are also caused by an energy imbalance in the body. Hair loss is mainly caused by deviations in the Pitta energy, which must be balanced. However, as mentioned, hair loss may be due to some chronic illness or the use of synthetic drugs. Genetic factors may also play a role.
Signs and symptoms of the different patterns of alopecia areata?All types of alopecia areata result in some form of hair loss. There is no way to predict the pattern of hair loss and regrowth you will experience or how severe or long lasting it will be. It’s important to remember that alopecia areata is different for everyone who has it.
Still, there are some common symptoms of alopecia areata that are good to know and recognize. However, the only way to be sure you have alopecia areata is to make an appointment and get a diagnosis from a doctor.
1. Small, round (or oval) patches of hair loss on the scalp, beard area of the face or other areas of the body with hair
2. Hair loss and regrowth at the same time in different areas of the body
3. Significant hair loss in a very short period of time
4. Hair loss that’s mostly on one side of the scalp, instead of both sides“Exclamation point” hairs that are narrow at the base/next to the scalp“Stippling” or “Pitting” (rows of tiny dents) on the fingernails
Treatment and care of affected areas?
There are a variety of treatment options available for disrupting or distracting the immune attack and/or stimulating the hair follicle — especially for those who have milder forms of the disease (less than 50% hair loss).
1. For those who have more than 50% hair loss on their scalp or other areas of the body, there are oral and injectable medications available.
2. Local steroid injections intracutaneously may be very helpful in restarting the hair growth cycle in treated areas. Steroid creams, lotions, and shampoos have been used for many years but are of limited benefit at best. Although oral systemic steroids are known to induce hair growth in affected patients, their long-term use is contraindicated because of the likelihood of undesirable side effects.
3.The topical sensitizers, diphencyprone or squaric acid dibutylester, have been used in those suffering from recalcitrant alopecia areata or those with more than 50% hair loss.
Still, there’s some evidence that certain natural treatments may benefit people with alopecia areata. These treatments include:
1. Korean red ginseng may help promote hair growth in people with alopecia areata.
2. Applying onion juice or garlic gel to parts of the head or body affected by alopecia areata may help promote hair growth.
3. Blend of essential oils of thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood appeared to aid in the treatment of alopecia areata for some people.These essential oils have been used traditionally for the treatment of hair loss.
4. Taking the time to massage your scalp each day can also help you relieve stress and tension. It’s thought that stretching forces during the massage encourage hair growth and thickness in the dermal papilla cells.
5. Consuming omega fatty acids can help to improve your hair from the inside, since they are filled with nutrients and proteins.
6. Ginsenosides are the active components of ginseng and are thought to be responsible for its positive effect on hair. Always take as directed and be sure to check for any possible side effects
7. Shirodhara: ‘Shiro’ refers to head and ‘dhara’ to flow. Here, warms oils are poured on your head and your head is massaged. This increases circulation and leads to better hair growth. This is one of the most effective Ayurvedic remedies for hair loss.
8. You may use herbs such as Aloe Vera, curry leaves, hibiscus, licorice, amla (gooseberry leaves), methi (fenugreek leaves), coconut oil and til (sesame seeds) oil. They are nourishing for the head.
Along with these Ayurvedic treatments for hair growth, your diet and your food habits are major factors in determining the quality and quantity of your hair.
Ayurveda therefore recommends the consumption of cooling products such as cucumbers, leafy vegetables, asparagus, potatoes, pumpkin, peppermint, coriander leaves, cherry, pineapple, yoghurt. However, ice cold drinks should be avoided
If you want to improve your hair, come up with a plan and stay consistent. Remember that the treatments may take a few months to yield noticeable results. Be creative with the remedies and mix them up as much as you like.
It’s important that you take time each day to focus on nourishing your hair to get the luscious locks you want. Taking this step and practicing self-care will be extra beneficial if your hair loss is related to any emotional or stress-related issue. Stay positive and do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle that will complement your hair treatment plan.
Talk to your doctor about medications or procedures if these natural methods don’t work for you.