Alopecia is defined as loss of hair. Hair loss is often a cause of great concern to the patient for cosmetic and psychologic reasons, but it can also be an important sign of systemic disease.
Growth cycle: Hair grows in cycles. Each cycle consists of a long growing phase (anagen), a brief transitional apoptotic phase (catagen), and a short resting phase (telogen). At the end of the resting phase, the hair falls out (exogen) and a new hair starts growing in the follicle, beginning the cycle again. Normally, about 100 scalp hairs reach the end of resting phase each day and fall out. When significantly more than 100 hairs/day go into resting phase, clinical hair loss (telogen effluvium) may occur. A disruption of the growing phase causing abnormal loss of anagen hairs is an anagen effluvium.
Classification: Alopecia can be classified as focal or diffuse and by the presence or absence of scarring.
Scarring alopecia is the result of active destruction of the hair follicle. The follicle is irreparably damaged and replaced by fibrotic tissue. Several hair disorders show a biphasic pattern in which nonscarring alopecia occurs early in the course of the disease, and then permanent hair loss occurs as the disease progresses. Scarring alopecias can be subdivided further into primary forms, where the target of inflammation is the follicle itself, and secondary forms, where the follicle is destroyed as a result of nonspecific inflammation
- Some essential oils can be used as a natural remedy for alopecia areata. When massaged into the affected area on a daily basis, these oils have shown improvement in about 45 percent of the people who tried them. This combination oil is made up of thyme, lavender and rosemary. There have been no reported side effects in those who tried this natural cure, although some people who have allergies may notice a reaction.
- Onion juice is another natural remedy that has garnered results for sufferers of this affliction. In a study by the Journal of Dermatology, more than 86 percent of people who tried onion juice saw improvement in hair loss. This occurred after six weeks of use. It is important to note that the biggest improvement occurred in the males of the group; however, onion juice is still a natural remedy that any with alopecia areata can try.
- He Shou Wu is a natural Chinese herb that has been used for years in China to help with hair loss, as well as with those suffering from graying. This herb also offers natural help for those who suffer from alopecia areata, when used for at least three to six months. It is a tonic that is applied directly to the affected areas of the scalp.
- Hypnosis has also been used as a natural hair cure for those suffering from alopecia areata. In one study, 28 patients were treated with hypnosis, and all of them scored lower afterwards for anxiety and for depression. After three to eight hypnotherapy sessions, 12 of those patients saw re-growth in their hair from 75-100 percent. In nine people, a total re-growth of their hair occurred.
- Some studies have shown that controlled exposure to ultraviolet rays has helped in some cases of alopecia areata. This is also known as phototherapy, and can help with certain conditions of the skin. It is a natural treatment that must be regulated carefully, as it can also be harmful when exposure to the rays is too high.