Alopecia universalis (AU) is the most severe form of alopecia areata (AA), a hair loss condition which causes bald patches on the scalp. In alopecia universalis, complete loss of hair on the different parts of the body happens. Considered to be a rare condition, it affects people of all ages but is more common in children and young adults who are below 40 years old.
While its exact cause is still unknown, experts believe that its onset may be brought about by the interplay between genetic factors and environmental triggers such as hormonal changes, trauma, viral infection and stress.
Apart from the loss of hair on the scalp and other parts of the body, alopecia universalis usually has no other symptoms. In some cases, an itching or a burning sensation on the scalp is experienced. Nail changes and conditions such as atopic dermatitis and thyroid disease may also be associated with alopecia universalis.
Generally, alopecia universalis is an unpredictable condition. While an estimated 10% of those affected fully recover after several years, the rest suffer from a cycle of hair loss and hair regrowth. Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia universalis. However, there are treatments available which stimulate hair growth.
Alopecia universalis may not be a physically debilitating condition; nonetheless, losing hair all over the body can be extremely distressing. If you are suffering from AU, below are some steps you can take to help you cope with your condition.
Consult A Trichologist Or A Dermatologist
The first thing you should do is to see an expert equipped to diagnose and treat hair loss problems like a trichologist or a dermatologist. These specialists can recommend the right treatment for your condition as well as give you advices on how you can best deal with your situation. Naturally, an accurate diagnosis is necessary before a treatment can be prescribed.
Learn About Treatments And Other Options Available
Currently, the most promising treatment for alopecia universalis is topical immunotherapy which has a success rate of 40%. Hair growth happens after six months of continued treatment. It involves the application of a topical drug on the affected areas to generate an allergic reaction, which helps stimulate hair growth.
In addition to medical treatments, the use of wigs is another option you may want to explore. Nowadays, wigs come in different lengths, hairstyles and colour. They can also be custom-made to better suit you. Meanwhile, for your eyebrows, you may want to consider cosmetic mircopigmentation treatments. Also referred to as cosmetic tattooing and permanent or semi-permanent makeup, cosmetic mircopigmentation can help recreate your eyebrows. The output of this procedure is waterproof and smudge-free. Most importantly, it generally lasts long, around two to three years.
With the help of wigs and cosmetic micropigmentation, many alopecia sufferers have regained the courage to face the outside world again. These things helped restore their confidence and improve their overall self-esteem.
Join A Support Group
Aside from your family and friends, hair loss support groups can help you hurdle the challenges you are experiencing. A support group can be a venue for you to share your struggles to people who know what you are going through. You may also find motivation and inspiration from the stories of other members of the group. Moreover, they can be sources of helpful information on how you can better cope with you condition.
Take Measures To Minimise Your Discomfort And Sun Exposure
Wearing caps, wigs and scarves can keep your scalp warm during the cold weather as well as protect it from the sun. Applying sunscreen on your scalp is also highly recommended. To prevent organisms from entering your nose and to keep it moisturised, apply ointment inside your nostrils. Meanwhile, wearing eyeglasses is an excellent way of protecting your eyes from dust and debris.
To know more about alopecia universalis and other hair loss conditions, call us at +353 (0)1 6793618 and make an appointment with our trusted trichologist.