Does Alopecia Areata Grow Back or Get Worse?

Though the cause of alopecia areata is not yet fully understood, but experts say that it occurs when the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks its own hair follicles. Fortunately, it has a better prognosis than male or female pattern baldness (a condition of abnormal hair loss when genetic trait plays a key role). Many times, hair loss with this problem can grow back – however, it also can get worse and then may cause permanent hair loss!

Alopecia Areata – What actually is it?

It can be classified into group of autoimmune disease. Like many cases in autoimmune disease, again the cause of alopecia areata is unclear.

Ideally, the body’s immune system has function to protect the body against any harmful substance or infection. But in autoimmune disease, without unknown reason the immune system attack the wrong target.

image_illustration107In the case of alopecia areata, the immune system attacks and destroys the follicles of hairs. Eventually, this effect affects the life cycle of hair follicle which then may trigger many follicles go into the resting phase.

Though the way on how this problem can occur is not fully understood, some experts believe that a person’s gene may have a significant contribution in causing the problem [1].

Are you at high risk of having it?

It can affect anyone (both men and women) and even people of all ages, including children. Since a genetic trait may play a key role in causing the problem, your risk is higher than others if you have a family history of the disease (particularly a close family member with alopecia areata).

In fact, about one of five people with this kind of hair loss problem has a close family member with alopecia [2].

Is it painful?

The good news, it is not painful and will not put us at high risk of having other health conditions. Even people with it don’t feel sick!

It is also not contagious. So if you have it, you cannot spread it to others.

Therefore, it should not interfere with your routine! However, extensive hair loss from alopecia areata may make affect your confident which then make you feel unattractive!

How far does it affect the hair of your scalp?

Many times, it can cause some round patches of hair loss on the scalp of the head. Typically, it starts when clumps of hair fall out, generating in entirely smooth, round hairless sites /patches on the scalp of the head.

However in some cases, the hair becomes thinner than usual but with non-noticeable hairless patches. This may occur due to the hair grow and break off which eventually causing short stubs.

And even a few people can experience a complete loss of scalp hair and may also be followed hair loss on other sites of the body. But this kind of alopecia is rare.

Are there other signs and symptoms?

Hair loss is the major symptom of alopecia areata. However, a few people also can experience an itching or burning sensation.

Moreover, some can have toenails & fingernails that become pitted. Many tiny dents can be found in these nails. They can appear like sandpaper [3]!

The hairs that fall out are typically seen on the scalp of the head. This usually creates some smooth & round patches on the scalp, as noted before. However, hair loss may also occur in other sites of the body such as arms, legs, beard, or eyebrows.

Will hair loss in alopecia areata grow back or get worse?

In general, the prognosis and outlook of this problem can vary from person to person. But fortunately, the chance of getting full recovery is good.

Many times, people with this kind of hair loss problem can get full recovery of hair [2].

But unfortunately, the hair loss in alopecia areata often comes & goes. The hair may regrow over several months in one site /area, but then hair may shrink and fall out in another site /area.

Furthermore, there are also a few people who cannot get back their hair. About ten percent of all cases end with the permanent hair loss [4].

There are several factors that can affect the prognosis. The chance for hair to grow back is more likely to become poorer if you have the following conditions: