Does Alopecia Areata Grow Back or Get Worse?

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  1. Extensive hair loss such as complete loss of body /scalp hair.
  2. Having a family history of the same condition.
  3. Atopic dermatitis or eczema (a chronic skin disorder that is often followed with itchy and scaly rashes).
  4. If you have had alopecia areata longer than 12 months or before puberty (at young age). Long-term alopecia is bad for the chance of hair to regrow!
  5. Having another kind of autoimmune disease.

When this autoimmune disease comes in patches of hair loss, the new hair growth usually occurs within the next 6-12 months [5]. But this new hair growth may become white & fine.

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Though many times doctors say that this problem is incurable (cannot be completely cured), but actually it can be treated.

What are the treatment options?

In the case of when the hair loss problem is not yet widespread, the hair usually will naturally grow back in the next few months, as noted before. The treatment is often needed for extensive hair loss.

However, some medications are available for any stages of alopecia areata. The common treatments to treat it are [2]:

  1. The use of the topical medicine (such as minoxidil) that can be directly applied on area where hair growth is expected.
  2. Minoxidil can be used along with the injection of corticosteroids. Sometime doctor also recommends using immunotherapy.
  3. The injection of streroids under the surface of the skin.
  4. And ultraviolet light therapy!

Do these treatments work effectively? Unfortunately, it’s unclear how much they help change the course or improve the problem. For more advice, see a doctor or dermatologist!

Citations /references:

  1. www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/Alopecia_Areata/alopecia_areata_ff.asp
  2. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001450.htm
  3. www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/tc/alopecia-areata-topic-overview
  4. Habif TP (2010). Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier. Hair diseases. “In Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy”, 5th ed., pp. 913-935.
  5. American Family Physician, 68(1): 93-102. “Common hair loss disorder”. Springer K, et al. (2003).

All of these sites accessed on Feb 2014

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