Alopecia areata is identified as being unexplained spots or areas of baldness that can occur anywhere on the scalp, and in any formation; in severe cases it can also extend to include balding of other bodily hair although this is much rarer. It can affect both men and women of differing ages who may otherwise be in perfectly good health. There is no underlying scarring on the scalp that is attributed to this condition; scalp that is exposed by hair loss will appear normal with no area of pitting or scarring.
Different Types of the Condition
There are a few different variations of this condition; the monolocularis type will only suffer balding in one specific area on the scalp; however patients with the multilocularis variety will experience balding on the scalp in several areas. If a patient has an extreme form of the condition known as alopecia areata totalis, then the patient will lose the entirety of the hair on the head; patients suffering from alopecia areata universalis will lose all head and bodily hair, although this is very seldom seen.
This condition is an unusual form of balding as it is not always permanent; it is quite common for an affected area to heal and re-grow hair in the future. This remission from the condition may not be permanent and it may reappear in the same or other areas in the future. It is not a condition that is contagious, although there have been reports of the condition being passed down to children, so it is certainly hereditary in some cases. This cause of baldness, often described as spot baldness, can be diagnosed by most doctors with no need for a biopsy of the affected area.
Treatment can sometimes be diagnosed in the form of steroid creams, however it does not re-grow the hair, and it simply decreases the loss in some cases. As these creams can come with quite a variety of side effects, most doctors will advise against this. As the condition changes over time, it will show stages of regression; when the condition is worsening some people choose to use wigs to help conceal the condition.