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Why is my hair falling out in patches?

There are many different types of hair loss. Not every person who is suffering from hair loss is experiencing androgenic alopecia. Another common type of hair loss is called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is characterized by small patches of complete hair loss in certain areas. The loss can be on any part of the body, but is most commonly noticed on the scalp. Usually there are multiple patches of loss, each about the size of a coin.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where your body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles in that certain area. The most common treatment is steroid injections administered by a dermatologist. These steroid injections can help the condition and in many cases the hair will regrow, but not in all cases. If the hair does regrow, it may take months or years to see full regrowth.

Unfortunately, a hair transplant is not an option for people with alopecia areata. Since the condition is auto immune, the immune system will attack the grafts if a transplant is done. If you are suffering from alopecia areata we recommend reaching out to a trusted dermatologist.

What is scarring alopecia?

Scarring alopecia is a rare form of hair loss. It is a category of hair loss that includes multiple forms of alopecia that all include hair loss with a subsequent replacement of the hair follicle with scar tissue. It is not generally understood why this happens, but all scarring alopecia involves some inflammation reactions that affect the stem cells and sebaceous glands surrounding the hair follicle. If the inflammation destroys these stem cells, and and sebaceous glands (and hair follicle), there is no hope of regenerating that hair follicle..

To diagnose these conditions, a scalp biopsy must be done to confirm the presence of scar tissue. Sometimes the scar tissue build up is underneath the skin, so the condition can go unnoticed until a lot of hair is lost. Treatment usually includes anti-inflammatory medication that attempts to control the inflammation that leads to the scar tissue build up.

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