It sounds like you have accepted that you have to live with the alopecia areata and have give up trying to do something about it, and I would not if I were you. When I was in clinical practice I saw many hundreds of people with AA and almost all of them regained their hair .... sooner or later. ...More >
Alopecia areata (area) is a relatively common, but highly unpredictable, auto-immune disorder of the hair follicles, affecting approximately 1.7% of the population in the UK.
In alopecia areata, the affected hair follicles are mistakenly attacked by a personís own immune system (white blood cells), resulting in the arrest of the hair growth stage. Alopecia areata usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp. Occasionally, it progresses to affect the total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis).
Alopecia areata occurs in males and females of all ages and races; however, onset most often begins in childhood. Although not life-threatening, alopecia areata is most certainly life-altering, and its sudden onset, recurrent episodes, and unpredictable course have a profound psychological impact on the lives of those disrupted by this disease.
In an unaffected person 90% of the hair follicles are in the active, or hair producing, phase of the hair cycle (which lasts on average between 3 and 6 years), and 10% in the resting phase (which lasts about 3 months). In cases of alopecia areata all the hair follicles in a particular area are thrown from their active phase into their dormant phase were the hair falls out and the follicle rests for a time. But rather than the normal 3 months it can be 6 or 12 months or even several years. The one saving grace of alopecia areata is that the hair follicles never die. This is very important because as they are only dormant they can, and usually do, start producing hair again at some point.
Stress, shock, anxiety are all common causes of alopecia areata. Any of these can act as a triggering factor which starts the problem off and then, because of the stress the loss of hair can cause the disorder continuities even thought the initial causative factor has disappeared, so one is left with a viscous and perpetual cycle.
Because the hair is capable of growing given the right circumstances, it is a question of finding out what they are. Reducing any stress causing factor will help, and ensuring that the diet is good is very important (see feeding your hair information sheet).
There are a number of treatments which can be helpful. Minoxidil (trade name, Regaine) has been shown to stimulate the regrowth of hair in some people. This is available from Boots and other chemists (use the extra strength formula). A standard form of treatment in trichology clinics is exposure to concentrated ultra-violet radiation in order to cause a marked erythema. This treatment can be very successful if carried out over a period of a few weeks.
You should also consider consulting a qualified trichologist. The Institute of Trichologists will give you a list of people in your area. Tel: 08706 070602