Includes Expert Content
Hair loss
avatar
jbwls posted:
My eyelashes are nearly gone; I have lost all of my arm and leg hair, underarms...and I don't know why! I don't even know what type of dr. to see. My GP is currently out of the country. I am 49 years old. No, I do not pull it out. I have never had chemo. Where do I begin? Hair on my head is thinning but not horrible.
Reply
 
avatar
2BBetter responded:
Start with a dermatologist.
 
avatar
karry18 responded:
I m sure its Alopecia areata...
 
avatar
karry18 responded:
Alopecia areata is an acquired skin disease that can affect all hair-bearing skin and is characterized by localized areas of non-scarring hair loss. Alopecia areata, as a rule, is rarely associated with any other external or internal medical problems. Most often these bald areas regrow their hair spontaneously.
Alopecia areata is rare before the age of 3. There seems to be a significant tendency to inherit alopecia areata from ancestors.
 
avatar
karry18 responded:
Current evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune lymphocytes penetrating into the hair bulb of the hair follicles. Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease , vitiligo , lupus , rheumatoid arthritis , andulcerative colitis . The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the course of alopecia areata. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes.
 
avatar
karry18 responded:
Treatment for alopecia areataThe course of typical alopecia areata is not predictable with a high likelihood of spontaneous remission. The longer the period of time of hair loss and the larger the area involved, the less likely the hair will regrow. Therefore, there are a variety of treatments, but none of these can confidently be predicted to impact the course of this disease. Steroid injections, creams, and shampoos (such as clobetasol [Clobex> or fluocinonide [Lidex>) for the scalp have been used for many years.
As with many chronic disorders for which there is no single treatment, a variety of remedies are promoted which in fact have no benefit. There is no known effective method of prevention , although the elimination of emotional stress is felt to be helpful. No drugs or hair-care products have been associated with the onset of alopecia areata. Much research remains to be completed on this complex condition.
Although not precisely a treatment, the cosmetic camouflage of alopecia areata is certainly an important consideration in patient management. The damaging emotional effect of significant hair loss for both women and men can be considerable.
 
avatar
Mohiba K Tareen, MD replied to karry18's response:
Dear Karry,

Excellent post, thank you so much for your contribution. There are some great new studies on Alopecia Areata coming from Columbia's Department of Dermatology (my alma matter!). We should soon have more targeted therapies. In the meantime, all of your suggestions are great
Dr. Mohiba Tareen
Tareen Dermatology, Roseville, Minn
Castle Connoly's America's Top Cosmetic Dermatologists
Adjunct Assistant Professor Univ of MN Dept of Dermatology
www.TareenDermatology.com