Do You Have Patchy Hairloss?

Sep 14, 2009
Series 1 - Do You Have Patchy Hairloss?
By Dr. Linda Amerson

Have you ever looked in the mirror, and suddenly noticed a patch of your hair suddenly gone? This article is the first Series of Three to educate on Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis, and Alopecia Universalis.

In simplest terms alopecia areata is an unpredictable, non-contagious, autoimmune disease, that causes hair to fall out in round or oval patches. The word alopecia comes from the Greek word alopecia and means “loss of hair,” while areata, derived from the Latin word meaning “occurring in patches.”
This disease affects approximately 10 percent of the American population, however, I will not exclude cultures all around the world have also been affected. There is no way to predict who might be affected with alopecia areata. Some people who lose hair due to alopecia areata find that their hair re-grows spontaneously in a relatively short time, while for others this condition goes on a steady course, and they continue to have additional patchy bald spots. It affects the scalp and other body parts. A board certified Trichologist, a hair and scalp specialist, should be contacted for accurate analysis and treatment recommendations for your scalp. Few people will deny that having alopecia areata affects them psychologically. It can also become a social trauma for millions of men, women and children affecting daily social situations and personal interactions. Often, it is how other co-workers, friends and/or family member reaction to alopecia areata, is the most crucial factor in how well a person copes. So PLEASE use caution WITH YOUR WORDS when you say “It’s only Hair” or “Just get a Wig”, or “Hair loss is ONLY a Cosmetic Problem”. Put yourself in this persons shoes. Losing hair can be devastating! I suggest for you to always be complimentary to this individual and tell you care about them, how their happiness is important to you, you will support them through this challenging time, and if this applies, tell them You Love Them. Furthermore, you could emphasize how their “Inner Beauty Shines more than their Outer Beauty to You!” This can be a very powerful statement, when said with meaning.

The onset of alopecia areata may include one or more of the following triggers:
•   Extensive Mental Stress
•   Genetic Predisposition
•   Family Death
•   Environmental triggers
•   Autoimmunity
•   Abnormal keratinocytes
•   Shock and Sudden Extreme Stress
•   Physical Trauma
•   Local Skin Injury
•   Pregnancy/Hormones
•   Allergies
•   Chemicals
•   Rubber Plant Work Environment
•   Viral/bacterial Infection
•   Domestic Violence
Because alopecia areata affects people’s lives so dramatically, many people will do almost anything and try everything on the market to re-grow their hair. In many cases, re-growing their hair becomes the focus of their lives. For others, the most important issue is to look normal, and purchase a hairpiece, wig, or hairweaves, hats, scarves, etc., to avoid social embarrassment.
Anywhere between 7% to 66% of people with alopecia areata also have aberrant nail formation, with nail pitting the most common finding. Several other nail abnormalities such as longitudinal ridging, brittle nails, spotting of the lunulae, koilonychias, onycholysis, and onychomadesis have been reported. Nail abnormalities can precede, follow, or occur concurrently with alopecia areata.
Humans are not the only species affected with alopecia areata. Did you know
Animals may also become affected? The list below is from a Veterenarian whom has found patchy hair loss in these animals.
•   Cats (Siamese)
•   Cattle (Holstein)
•   Dogs (Bernese Mountain Dog, Daschud, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepard, Magyar Vizsla, Miniature Poodle, Mixed Breed Dogs)
•   Horses (Appaloosa, Palomina)
(There is one reported case of a horse developing Alopecia Universalis)
•   Mice (C3H/HeJ, C3H/HeJBir, A/J)
•   Non-Human Primates (Chimpanzee, Spider Monkey, Stump-Tailed Macaque, white-fronted Capuchin)
•   Rats (BD-1X,DEBR)
Research is ongoing to examine the cause and other treatments for alopecia areata. There are support groups and websites available to assist sufferers.
There is the NAAF, National Alopecia Areata Foundation – also Alopecia World at

In conclusion, there is so much more information about alopecia areata, I did not include all of it in the above article. I have analyzed and successful treated numerous cases of alopecia areata, with varying degrees of severity.
Furthermore, I cover more in depth information in my 5 Day Trichology Seminars on Alopecia Areata – The History, Triggers, Who Is Affected, Patterns of Identification and Treatments. This Seminar is for licensed Cosmetologists and Barbers Only. Look for my next upcoming article for Series 2 – Do You Have Alopecia Totalis?

For additional questions and information, contact Dr. Linda Amerson at (817) 265-8854 or