Alopecia is the medical term for baldness; there are various types of alopecia, including alopecia areata, alopecia areata totalis or entire body alopecia areata universalis.
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes a person’s hair to fall out in spots or entirely. It is an autoimmune disease. A person’s immune system attacks their body, “hair follicles. “ When this happens, ones hair begins to fall out, mostly in patches the size of a quarter to a half dollar coin. The amount of hair loss varies person to person; in some cases, it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater.
Alopecia areata is unpredictable. In some people, hair grows back but falls out again later. In others, hair grows back and remains. Each case is unique. Even if someone loses all of his or her hair, there is a chance that it will grow back.
Anyone can develop alopecia areata; however, your chances of having alopecia areata are slightly greater if you have a relative with the disease. In addition, alopecia areata occurs more often among people who have family members with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, lupus, or thyroid disease.
Alopecia areata cannot be cured; however, it can be treated and the hair can grow back.
In many cases, alopecia areata is treated with drugs that are used for other conditions. Treatment options for alopecia areata include:
* Corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for autoimmune diseases. Corticosteroids can be given as an injection into the scalp or other areas, orally (as a pill), or applied topically (rubbed into the skin) as an ointment, cream, or foam. Response to therapy may be gradual.
* Rogaine: This topical drug is already used as a treatment for pattern baldness. It usually takes about 12 weeks of treatment with Rogaine before hair begins to grow.
* Reducing stress. Many people with new onset alopecia areata have had recent stresses in life, such as work, family, deaths, surgeries, accidents, etc. However, this has not been proven scientifically as a cause of alopecia areata.
While the disease is not medically serious, it can impact people psychologically. Support groups are available to help people with alopecia areata deal with the psychological effects of the condition. Further information may be found at the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (www.naaf.org).
What are razor bumps?
Razor bumps, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae, are small, irritated bumps on the skin that develop after shaving when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. Razor bumps cause irritation and the development of pimples. They also may cause scarring.
How are razor bumps treated?
To treat razor bumps, use a clean needle to release the embedded hair shaft. If possible, stop shaving. This usually stops razor bumps from developing, depending on the severity. However, when shaving is restarted razor bumps typically return.
Do shaving alternatives stop the development of razor bumps?
Razor bumps will generally go away if shaving is stopped. Hair removal products (depilatories) can be used instead of shaving. However, these products can irritate the skin and should be used only once or twice a week.
Laser treatment may be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicle and reduces the number of bumps that form. A recent
study found that after 90 days, the average number of skin bumps in the treated sites was significantly lower compared with untreated sites, although some hair may regrow and return to normal thickness after 6 to 12 months. 1
Can razor bumps be prevented?
The following shaving instructions can prevent razor bumps from forming:
* Take a hot shower before shaving to soften the hair and open the pores.
* Use a thick shaving gel.
* Don’t stretch the skin when shaving and always shave in the direction your beard grows. Use the fewest razor strokes possible.
Rinse with cold water.
* An electric razor can be used if it can be adjusted to a higher setting.
* Use a moisturizing lotion after shaving.
Who is at risk for razor bumps?
Razor bumps are common among African-Americans and people with tightly coiled hair. Razor bumps tend to be more of a problem for men than women since many men shave daily.
The Antique Barber does not endorse any of these products in particular but threw my research clients have found them to work best. Remember to consult with your physician before using any new product. You can purchase these products on the site.