Can't Get Rid of Alopecia Areata?
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Alopecia Areata

What is Alopecia Areata and Who Gets It?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss for both adults and children. This can cause hair loss on the scalp as well as on the body, such as eyebrows, eyelashes and facial hair. This happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s hair follicles, causing them to fall out and stop growing.

It’s estimated that alopecia areata affects over 6.5 million people in the U.S. Often, those who have/had a blood relative with the disease have a greater chance of developing it. It usually begins during childhood and teenage years, however it can start at any age. It also affects all races and genders.

Signs and Symptoms

In addition to hair loss, people with alopecia areata may notice changes in their nails (splitting, thinning, white spots, roughness), itching or discomfort on areas of the skin losing hair (or that will begin losing hair) and eye irritation (if eyebrows and eyelashes are lost). 

Typically, those with alopecia areata are otherwise healthy and don’t develop other autoimmune diseases. However, having one autoimmune disease can increase the risk of developing another one. For example, alopecia areata can increase the risk of getting vitiligo, a condition that causes the skin to lose its color. Alopecia areata also increases the risk of developing allergic conditions like eczema, asthma or nasal allergies. 

Does Lost Hair Grow Back?

Since alopecia areata doesn’t destroy hair follicles, hair will likely regrow. But this varies from case to case. Hair can also fall out again even if it does regrow. The cycle of hair loss and growth is unpredictable. Some will only lose hair once and never have any more hair loss. Some will develop a few bald patches, while others may lose all or most of their head and body hair. Hair that regrows may be white or blond, and finer than before. This is usually temporary. Natural hair color and texture often return.

Diagnosing Alopecia Areata

A board-certified dermatologist can often diagnose the disease by inspecting the areas with hair loss. Sometimes removing a few hairs for biopsy (microscopic exam) may be necessary. Your scalp may also need to be examined with a dermatoscope. This can help provide a clear view of the hair follicles and assist in diagnosing. 

If an additional autoimmune disease is suspected, further testing may be needed. There are three types of alopecia areata you can be diagnosed with, based on the amount and distribution of hair loss:

  • Alopecia areata: This is the most common type and is characterized by round patches of hair loss, mainly on the scalp.
  • Alopecia totalis: Loss of all hair on the scalp.
  • Alopecia universalis: Loss of all hair on the body (most rare type). 

Suggested Treatment Options


Often, hair will regrow without treatment, although it can be slow. And many don’t get the regrowth they want or expect. There are treatment options that can help with alopecia areata. Depending on the amount and areas of hair loss, treatment plans can include:

  • Corticosteroids can help calm the immune system so it doesn’t attack hair follicles. When treating in adults, corticosteroids may be injected into the spots with hair loss. Several shots will be needed every four to six weeks. When successful, patients typically see hair regrowth within three months of the first injection. A corticosteroid cream may also be prescribed to apply daily to bare spots. Hair growth can being after three to four months after this treatment. A combination of topical and injectable corticosteroids have shown to be effective.
  • Minoxidil is a topical medication that comes in various strengths, with the 5% solution or foam being the most effective for alopecia areata. When successful, signs of hair growth usually start around 12 weeks.
  • Anthralin is a tar-like substance that also calms the immune system. It can be rubbed daily on areas needing regrowth and left on the skin for 15-20 minutes. If successful, hair growth is usually seen in treated areas in three to four months.
  • Topical Immunotherapy can be recommended for extreme hair loss and includes chemicals like squaric acid, dibutyl ester or diphencyprone. When applied to the skin, these cause an allergic reaction that triggers the body to wake the hair follicles, which can result in hair regrowth. If successful, regrowth can take up to three to four months.
  • Oral treatments may be recommended, including prednisone, methotrexate, cyclosporine or other immunomodulators. These can have side effects, so discuss with your dermatologist. 
  • New treatments are also being researched, including Janus kinase inhibitors, which can disrupt the immune response that causes the disease. In addition to treatments, covering your head with a wig, hat or scarf can help you feel more comfortable.

Anti-inflammatory Medication

We recommend consulting a specialist to help determine if Anti-Inflammatory Medications are the best treatment option for you. Learn More

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medicines used to stop infections created by the presence of bacteria. Learn More

Bellafill®

Bellafill is a dermal filler is used to replace lost volume and recreate the smooth, full appearance of skin when the body’s slowing collagen production leads to deep smile lines and wrinkles around the mouth or to improve the appearance of skin that has been scarred by acne.  Learn More

Biologic Injectables

Biologic injectables (Humira, Enbrel, Taltz, Stelara, Cosentyx) are biologics designed to be injected subcutaneously into the skin. Learn More

Biopsy

A biopsy works by taking a small sample of tissue from a suspect area in the body so that it can be tested under lab conditions for certain diseases and disorders. Learn More

Blue Light

Blue light is a popular therapy used for treating acne. Blue light kills off bacteria on the skin and in the oil glands that cause acne. Learn More

Botox

While produced by the microbe that causes botulism, Botox is safe for cosmetic use, especially in the upper parts of the face. Learn More

Brightening Peels

Brightening peels are chemical peels formulated to target pigmentation, including stubborn melasma and sunspots. Learn More

Canthacur

Canthacur is a substance applied topically to the skin that works as a vesicant, causing a blister to form on a growth. Learn More

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel works to hasten this process, revealing newer and healthier cells below the skin’s surface. Learn More

CoolSculpting®

CoolSculpting uses FDA-cleared, innovative technology which contours the body by freezing away unwanted body fat. Learn More

Corticosteroids

A corticosteroid works by suppressing the activity of the immune system and reducing the production of chemicals that create inflammation. Learn More

Customized Medical Facials

Our completely-customized facial treatments are designed to treat your skin care concerns. Learn More

Cyclosporine

Cyclosporine is used in a number of conditions where the immune system behaves erratically. Learn More

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers work by imitating the hyaluronic acid that gives younger skin its fullness and buoyancy. Learn More

Dermapeel

DermaPeel is our signature aesthetic treatment, which combines a chemical and physical exfoliation. Learn More

Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning is a physical form of exfoliation which sloughs off dead skin cells on the surface and as an added bonus also removes most of the surface “peach fuzz.” Learn More

Dermoscopy

Dermoscopy is a technique for evaluating the subsurface of the skin and diagnosing affected areas and lesions. Learn More

Dupixent

Dupixent is a drug that when injected into the skin, works at blocking a specific protein known as an interleukin. Learn More

Dysport®

Dysport is a prescription injection proven to help smooth the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows and wrinkles without changing the look or movement of the rest of your face. Learn More

Excision

Excision is a minimally-invasive surgery technique used to remove moles, skin growths and lesions. Learn More

Facials

The classic facial is our take on the classic spa facial. This pampering treatment includes cleanse and steam. Learn More

Fluorouracil (5FU)

Fluorouracil works to slow this growth by killing off the fast-growing cells in the affected region of the skin. Learn More

Fraxel

A Fraxel laser is used primarily in the cosmetic treatment of the face. Learn More

HydraFacial MD®

The HydraFacial resurfacing procedure thoroughly cares for your skin, providing cleansing, exfoliation, extraction and hydration all while infusing antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid into the skin. Learn More

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone works to lighten the skin by reducing the number of melanocytes present. Learn More

Imiquimod

Imiquimod is a topical cream that stimulates the immune system. Learn More

Immune System Suppressants

An immune system suppressant, such as Imuran or CellCept, steps in to address this by suppressing the activity of the immune system and reducing the production of chemicals that create inflammation. Learn More

Infini Treatments

Infini treatments use a combination of micro needling and radiofrequency to energize and reinvigorate the skin. Learn More

Injectable Wrinkle Fillers and Relaxer

Injectable wrinkle fillers and relaxers are injected underneath the surface of the skin to either fill in wrinkles and furrows or relax particularly strong wrinkles and furrows. Learn More

Intralesional Injection

Intralesional injection is a process whereby a corticosteroid is injected directly into a skin lesion or irregular growth. Learn More

IPL

IPL is a light treatment used to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. IPL is different from a laser which uses only one wavelength of light. Learn More

Isolaz

Isolaz technology is an alternative that combines vacuum with a broadband light to address acne below the surface of the skin. Learn More

Jeuveau®

Jeuveau® is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles and used in adults for a short period of time (temporary) to improve the look of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows. Learn More

Juvederm®

Juvederm is the brand name for a collection of dermal fillers that are used to improve the signs of aging. These fillers contain hyaluronic acid and has a smooth, gel-like consistency. Learn More

Kybella®

Kybella is a non-surgical intervention used to address this fat beneath the chin. Learn More

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal utilizes specific wavelengths of light that are drawn to the pigment at the “root” or bulb of the hair. Learn More

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is a dermatological procedure that uses lasers to smooth and refine the surface of the skin while also reinvigorating the layers of skin below. Learn More

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser tattoo removal is a procedure that utilizes lasers that penetrate the skin and are able to permanently demolish the ink particles within the cells that give color to a tattoo and the body clears the ink slowly over time.  Learn More

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a dermatological procedure that uses lasers to smooth and refine the surface of the skin while also reinvigorating the layers of skin below. Learn More

Light Therapy

Originally developed for Navy seals to help wounds heal quicker, light therapy has been shown to be highly therapeutic for skin. Learn More

Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy

Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy works by freezing and destroying the cells in a skin growth or lesion. Learn More

Microderm

Microderm, also known as microdermabrasion, uses tiny crystals that are sprayed onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of the epidermis. Learn More

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion, also known as microderm, uses tiny crystals that are sprayed onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of the epidermis. Learn More

MiraDry

Topical chemotherapy works by modifying the body’s immune response. Learn More

Mohs

Mohs, or Mohs surgery, is a surgical technique used to treat skin cancer through the removal of skin lesions and growths. Learn More

Mole and Skin Cancer Screening

A mole and skin cancer screening is a full body review of all present lesions. Recommended frequency will be discussed based on your individual cancer risk. Learn More

Narrowband UVB

Narrowband UVB is a form of phototherapy widely used to treat skin diseases. Learn More

Neoral

Neoral, also known as cyclosporine, is in the class of drugs known as immunosuppressants. Learn More

Non-Surgical PRP Hair Restoration

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) is a high concentration of platelets surrounded in its own plasma. Learn More

Oral and Topical Medications

Dermatologists are experts in bacterial, viral and fungal infections in the skin and have a deep knowledge of how to best use antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal medications. Learn More

Otezla

Otezla is a prescription pharmaceutical that regulates inflammation within the cells of the body or the skin. Learn More

Patch Testing TRUE-Test

The TRUE test, also known as patch testing, is a quick and easy way to check for and diagnose allergic contact dermatitis in patients. Learn More

PDL

PDL, or pulse dye laser, is a laser treatment used in dermatology to treat blood vessels in the skin. Learn More

PHAROS Excimer Laser

PHAROS laser treatment uses a carefully-focused beam of light that is delivered to the skin through a highly-sophisticated fiber optic device. Learn More

Photo Rejuvenation

Photofacials use IPL light treatment to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. Learn More

Photodynamic Therapy

Learn More

Photofacials

Photofacials use IPL light treatment to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. Learn More

Photofacials Photo Rejuvenation

Photofacials use IPL light treatment to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. Learn More

PRP

PRP, also known as platelet rich plasma, is a treatment used as a dermatological remedy on the face. Learn More

PRP Infraorbital Treatment

PRP, also known as platelet rich plasma, is a treatment used as a dermatological remedy on the face. Learn More

PUVA

PUVA is a treatment for the skin that combines ultraviolet light and specific medications. Learn More

Radiesse®

Radiesse is an injectable dermal filler used to plump the skin. When age or scarring causes fine lines, wrinkles or sagging, this filler can be injected below the skin to restore volume and smooth, youthful fullness. Learn More

Restylane®

Restylane is a type of dermal filler composed of hyaluronic acid. Each injectable in this product line is designed to meet a specific skin need and can be used to soften and smooth wrinkles and add volume to your lips and cheeks, and target lines around your mouth. Learn More

RHA® Collection Filler

RHA fillers are the only FDA-approved hyaluronic acid fillers for dynamic wrinkles and folds. Learn More

Scar Removal

Scar removal, sometimes referred to as surgical revision, is a treatment option for those who wish to reverse the appearance of scars on the body. Learn More

Sclerotherapy

Spider veins can be a frustrating vascular condition while varicose veins can become swollen and even painful. Learn More

Sculptra®

Sculptra is an FDA-approved synthetic injectable used to correct shallow to deep facial wrinkles and folds. It’s also a collagen stimulator that helps revitalize your body’s own collagen production. Learn More

Skin Resurfacing + Micro-Needling

Fractionated laser resurfacing and microneedling are used to decrease the appearance of sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scarring. Learn More

Skin Tightening Treatment

Skin laxity and the loosening of the structure of the skin on the face is one of the most frustrating parts of aging for many individuals. Learn More

Skin Tightening Treatments

Skin tightening procedures use targeted energy to heat the layers of the skin below the epidermis. Learn More

Stem Cell Recruitment Therapy with DermaFlo™

Stem Cell Recruitment Therapy with DermaFlo™ is safe and effective, helping the body boost its ability to heal itself. Learn More

Sunetics Hair Growth Laser

The Sunetics laser is a safe and effective hair growth treatment option. Learn More

Surgical Removal Excursion

Surgical removal excursion is a minor surgical procedure used in the treatment of lower risk skin cancers. Learn More

Surgical Revision

Surgical revision is a treatment option for those who wish to reverse the appearance of scars on the body. Learn More

TCA Peels

A TCA peel works to hasten this process, revealing newer and healthier cells below the skin’s surface. Learn More

Thermage Laser

The Thermage® system is a non-invasive radiofrequency (RF) therapy that can help smooth, tighten and contour skin for an overall younger-looking appearance. Learn More

Thread Lift

A thread lift is a non-surgical facelift and skin rejuvenation procedure using absorbable sutures/stitches called polydioxanone (PDO) threads. Learn More

Topical Chemotherapy

Topical chemotherapy works by modifying the body’s immune response. Learn More

Tretinoin

A derivative of vitamin A, Tretinoin is a topical retinoid solution that works by irritating the cells of the skin to stimulate growth and increase the turnover and shedding of old, dead cells in the skin. Learn More

Vbeam® Laser

The Vbeam® laser is a world renowned, easy to use pulsed dye laser recognized as the gold standard technology for the treatment of vascular lesions. Learn More

Visia Analysis

Utilizing the Visia skin complexion analysis system, we are able to provide an objective and quantitative assessment of your skin health. Learn More

Waxing

Waxing is a method of removing unwanted hair on your body. It is an efficient and effective treatment. Learn More

Wrinkle Relaxers

Wrinkle Relaxers, such as Botox® Cosmetic and Dysport®, are prescription medications that are injected into muscles of expression. Learn More

Xeomin®

Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA), is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve wrinkles and frown lines between the eyebrows.  Learn More

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