Alopecia Areata, Totalis & Universalis
Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis are all auto-immune diseases where the body has identified hair follicles are a foreign body and attacks them. The reason for this happening is really still unknown and it can happen to anyone without any warning. For each condition there is no cure yet, and the available treatments don't have a high degree of success.
The effects of each are different so let's explore each one.
In the USA alone Alopecia Areata is thought to affect roughly 6.8 million people, and in the UK every 15 in 10,000 people are thought to be affected.
Alopecia Areata is a condition where small patches of hair loss are seen across the scalp. For some people this may be one patch, but for others there can be several and they tend to be around the size of a 10p coin. Most sufferers will see their first patch appear before the age of 30, but that is not always the case. Alopecia Areata has been seen to affect men and women of all ages and races.
In a lot of cases the hair can regrow in these patches, but if the hair does regrow there is a high chance of a recurrence of those patches later down the line.
The difference between Alopecia Areata and Alopecia Totalis, is that Totalis will affect every hair on the scalp. Where Alopecia Areata will only cause hair loss in patches, Alopecia Totalis will cause total hair loss.
The cause of Totalis is again the same, with the immune system attacking hair follicles for an unknown reason. Alopecia Totalis is more likely to be seen earlier in life, but still might not be seen until after the after the age of 40.
Alopecia Totalis can be both permanent or temporary, but those that do get regrowth back are likely to find that the quality and texture of the hair has changed from before.
Alopecia Universalis is the total loss of hair from the body. It not only effects the hair on your head, but the hair across the entire body. This includes eyebrows and eyelashes!
In the same manner as the other two conditions, the chances of regrowth are slim and the chances are the hair growth won't be of the same quality.
While none of these conditions have any effect on your health or quality of life, it can have a quite damaging effect on emotional and mental wellbeing. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, we wholeheartedly encourage you to reach out to Alopecia UK. This charitable organisation has created a web of support groups and information for sufferers of Alopecia Areata, Totalis & Universalis. We are proud to have supported Alopecia UK at their Annual Big Day in both 2017 & 2019.