DERMATOLOGY > ALOPECIAS
What is alopecia areata?
It is a common disease that causes hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. It starts with one or more smooth, rounded patches. It affects men and women of all ages, but it is more common in young people. The most frequently affected area is the scalp, but men’s beards or any other location may also be affected, alone or along with the scalp.
Some people lose all hair on their heads (alopecia totalis), while others lose all body hair (alopecia universalis). Regardless of the extent of alopecia, the follicles are not lost and the possibility of repopulation exists.
Treatments for alopecia areata
There are several treatments for alopecia areata that depend on the age of the patient and the extent of hair loss.
1. Oral steroids. Cortisone pills are sometimes used if the disease is very extensive or evolving very rapidly.
2. Contact dermatitis. Another form of treatment for total or universal alopecia is to produce a contact allergic dermatitis in the patient. To do this, dinitrochlorobenzene or diphenylcyclopropenone is applied to the scalp to produce an allergic eczema that stimulates the sleeping follicle. This treatment is both uncomfortable and itchy.
3. PUVA. A UVA ray treatment called PUVA also exists. In this case, the patient takes a medication called Psoralen and is exposed to UVA rays two hours later. Treatment is performed three to four times per week.
Diagnosis and treatment of alopecia areata
• Dr. Gabriel Serrano Sanmiguel