Alopecia is actually a generic term, used to describe a number of hair loss conditions. There are many causes of alopecia, some related to your auto-immune system, some genetic and a few self-inflicted, however they all share one common trait – they all cause unwanted hair loss.
Often, the real challenge is identifying the underlying cause of your alopecia symptoms. Whereas regular genetic pattern hair loss is ultimately caused by build-up of DHT, alopecia has a different set of triggers that are often harder to pinpoint.
Further complicating this matter is the fact that alopecia is not entirely understood. Although we have a general awareness of the triggers that cause alopecia to manifest itself, we still don’t understand what causes the body to attack its own hair follicles, the process that results in alopecia-related hair loss.
The most common alopecia causes
Androgenetic alopecia, otherwise known as male pattern baldness, is caused by genes. There are many solutions designed to slow, prevent or conceal androgenetic alopecia such as hair transplant surgery, minoxidil and finasteride, and of course, scalp micropigmentation.
Sometimes referred to as telogen effluvium, alopecia can sometimes be caused by a trauma to the body such as a serious accident or major surgery. In this case, the symptom is usually a generalized thinning of the hair across the entire scalp. Women who have recently given birth commonly suffer from postpartum hair loss, a form of telogen effluvium.
One of the most common causes of alopecia, stress often manifests itself as telogen effluvium described above, or alopecia areata, the loss of hair in round patches in random areas of the scalp.
Illness or medication
Serious conditions can bring about alopecia, in a similar way to physical trauma (above). In addition some medications can cause hair loss, the most common being chemotherapy drugs.
Poor hair care
Many people, particularly African-American men and women, routinely wear tight hairstyles like cornrows. These styles pull at the hair, and over time, can cause a condition known as traction alopecia. This is usually noticeable as a thinning of the hair around the frontal hairline and side profiles, and is most prevalent in African-American women.
How to fix alopecia
There are a number of remedies available, usually administered by a physician. There is no ‘cure’ for alopecia, but these solutions aim to soften the symptoms and vary from simple minoxidil lotion to corticosteriod injections and low level laser therapy (LLLT).
Unfortunately, none of these solutions are particularly effective. Most alopecia sufferers simply have to learn to live with the symptoms which in many cases, can last a lifetime.
Thankfully, scalp micropigmentation provides a real solution. SMP does not cure alopecia, as there is no cure for this condition, but it does completely conceal the symptoms which is good enough for most people.
There are two approaches that your technician may take, depending on your individual requirements and their preferred strategy.
Often a localized treatment is advised to camouflage the symptoms in one particular area. This is often the method chosen when the client has a small number of patches associated with alopecia areata, the most common form of alopecia. This is also an option if you are working to a tight budget.
The preferred method for both generalized thinning and also alopecia areata, is to treat the entire head. This is because alopecia can be aggressive and frequently recurrent, so if the affected areas change size, shape or position, your scalp is pre-treated and you can just get on with your life.
Don’t forget – whatever the causes of alopecia in your particular case, scalp micropigmentation is a great remedy. However I advise you wait a while if the symptoms are less than 6 months old. Any permanent procedure like SMP is a bad idea if the condition turns out to be short-lived. As always, you should seek professional medical advice before seeking a technician.