Alopecia is a major cause of hair loss for women and men. There are different alopecia types which can cause anything from hair thinning to total hair loss.
Most people know alopecia to be a form of hair loss. However, what they don’t always know is that there are three main types of the condition – alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.
Alopecia is a general term for hair loss
Alopecia areata is a common cause of non-scarring (does not cause scarring to the scalp) hair loss that can occur at any age. It usually causes small, coin-sized, round patches of baldness on the scalp, although hair elsewhere such as the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, body and limbs can be affected. In some people larger areas are affected and occasionally it can involve the whole scalp (alopecia totalis) or even the entire body and scalp (alopecia universalis).
It is not possible to predict how much hair will be lost. Regrowth of hair in typical alopecia areata is usual over a period of months or sometimes years, but cannot be guaranteed. The chances of the hair regrowing are better if less hair is lost at the beginning. Most people, with only a few small patches get full regrowth within a year. If more than half the hair is lost then the chances of a full recovery are not good. The hair sometimes regrows white, at least in the first instance. Most people get further attacks of alopecia areata. In alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis, the likelihood of total regrowth is less.
What if I need a wig?
Some individuals with alopecia areata will prefer to wear a wig while they wait for recovery. These can be prescribed through the NHS via Dermatology. At your Dermatology appointment the Dermatology team will discuss with you the number of wigs you can receive through prescription per year.
NHS Forth valley orthotic department will contact you to discuss where you can attend for selection and fitting of your wig. They can recommend local suppliers who are sensitive to the needs of individuals with alopecia areata.