6.8 million people in the U.S. are affected by alopecia areata. Alopecia is an autoimmune skin disorder that causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and other areas of the body. Many things are still unknown about it, including the cause, which makes people’s minds wander with mystery. Although there is still a lot to learn about alopecia areata, we can still confidently dispel some of the most common myths.
Myth #1: It’s Contagious
Alopecia areata is not contagious. A bacteria or virus does not cause it, so there is no method to “transport” it to other people, or even new areas of the body.
Myth #2 There is No Treatment
This one is a bit tricky. While many FDA approved medications are being used to treat alopecia, they were approved for other conditions. So, there is no specific treatment for alopecia, but there are still many possibilities that can help. Available options aim to suppress the immune system so that hair growth can be stimulated again. However, nothing can guarantee permanent hair restoration, and even if it does grow back, there is still a chance it will fall out again.
Depending on which type of alopecia you have, you may need to try several treatments, or a combination of them to achieve the best results. Clinical research studies continue to explore better routes of therapy.
Myth #3: Hair Will Never Grow Back
Hair growth and fall out are different for everyone. It can regrow spontaneously with or without treatment, then fall out again. There is no way to tell. Some prefer a wig or other product versus medications due to this reason.
Myth #4: Alopecia is Genetic
Alopecia is a polygenic disease. It means that both parents must be a contributor to a specific number of genes for a child to develop it. Most parents will not pass it onto their children because of several factors, both environmental and genetic need to trigger it.
When to See the Doctor
If you are experiencing hair loss, talk with your doctor. Some conditions outside of alopecia can also cause hair loss, so it is important to rule out any other culprit. While alopecia is not a painful condition, the mental health side effects can be challenging to navigate as your appearance changes, and your doctor can help manage that.
Clinical research is essential in gaining a better understanding of this disease. Through this understanding brings better options for people with alopecia. To learn more about alopecia clinical research studies being conducted at ForCare, call us at (813) 264-2155, or click here.