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Alopecia 101

Alopecia 101

Hair Loss and Alopecia

For many, hair loss can be very traumatic as it takes an emotional and physical toll on one’s body. Hair loss, also known as alopecia, affects close to 7 million people in the US (primarily women).  It is believed to be related to stress factors and various environmental influences, and as of now, there is no known cure for the hair loss caused by alopecia.  Alopecia is growing at a rate of nearly 10% each year! When diagnosed with alopecia, it is important to understand what to look for and what you can do.

 

 

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that causes varying forms of hair loss, from diffused to patchy hair loss and/or total baldness on the scalp and, in some cases, on the body. Alopecia occurs when the immune system attacks its healthy hair follicles, causing them to become smaller and cease production. The hair then falls out, which can be temporary or permanent.  The one thing that is predictable about Alopecia is how unpredictable it is.

 

Do I Have Alopecia? 

There are many reasons why someone develops Alopecia.  Stress, a traumatic event, illness, and genetics (just to name a few) can cause hair loss.  If you are experiencing unexplained hair loss in small patches on your scalp or body where you normally have/grow hair, you may have alopecia.  These patches may get larger with time or grow back!  There are lots of unknowns with alopecia. Though the main symptom of alopecia is hair loss, there are others, including brittle, pitted, and red fingernails and toenails. 

Alopecia also occurs in areas aside from your scalp, including your eyebrows, face, and other body parts. Some people who develop alopecia find that their condition is cyclical, meaning hair loss and regrowth can be repetitive for a number of years—and sometimes, it is permanent.

 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, here are the three main types of alopecia:

  • Alopecia Areata: This is the most common form of alopecia. In a majority of alopecia areata cases, hair falls out in round patches typically the size of a quarter and usually on the scalp. Sometimes hair loss can occur elsewhere on the body, including the face, eyebrows, eyelashes, under the arm, or even inside your nose and ears. 
  • Alopecia Totalis: This form of alopecia includes total hair loss on the scalp and face (from the neck up). 
  • Alopecia Universalis: This form of alopecia is total hair loss throughout the entire body. 

 

Wigs.com Brand Mentor, Kim Stamaris, Has Alopecia Totalis

 

Causes

Alopecia areata usually begins during childhood or early teenage years but can manifest in people of all ages. 

Some causes are:

  • A genetic link to hair loss
  • History of allergies
  • An underlying medical condition such as atopic dermatitis, thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, asthma, or even vitiligo
  • Stress or a traumatic event

 

Solutions & Support (Wigs or Hair Toppers)

Hair loss doesn’t have to be a journey you take alone. There are communities on social media channels created to support those dealing with hair loss and alopecia.  

There are also some who totally have the confidence to rock a bald look. Not all of us have the beautifully shaped head like Jada Pinkett Smith, but it is freeing to have that confidence and option, as so many have blazed that trail to wear hair or not. Wigs and toppers are another way to feel confident about your hair when going through hair loss since they can make a huge difference in how you feel.

 

Wigs: A wig will cover your entire head and give you the freedom to try different styles and colors. Wigs made from human hair or synthetic fibers can be the perfect solution.  Learn more about basic cap construction here and which wig is right for you.

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Toppers: A hair topper is a hairpiece that clips onto your bio hair and provides volume and coverage to the front, top, crown, or the whole head, depending on the size of the hair topper. Read more here or watch our video below. Find your correct topper base size with this video.

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Where Do I Go From Here If I Want To Explore More?

Shopping for alternative hair should be educational and fun! It is a chance to make the best of a situation that is not always the best. Remember, confidence is truly beautiful.  If you are looking for more options, we hope this helps you get there.

Need help from one of our experts?  Book a complimentary video consultation here. 

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