Alopecia Totalis usually appears in two types: One being a fairly sudden and complete loss of all head hair. The other being a slower form which originates as Alopecia Areata and later advances to complete head hair loss.
Most sufferers are children and young adults under the age of 40, though it can affect people of all ages. It can also affect the the nails, giving them a ridged, pitted or brittle appearance. The onset of alopecia can often be sudden, and its expansion rapid. Alopecia totalis is ultimately the name given to a severe case of alopecia areata, where the patches have grown so large that they cover the entire head, often including the eyebrows, eyelashes and beard hair.
According to statistics, 2% of men and 1% of women in western society suffer from some form of alopecia, aside from those with regular androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness). About 2% of those have alopecia totalis, so the condition is proportionally rare. Only a small proportion of men who have alopecia areata go on to develop alopecia totalis, however the threat of complete hair loss is always there.
What causes Alopecia Totalis?
This condition comes about as a result of an autoimmune disorder which causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles, however the exact cause is unknown and is the subject of much debate. As time progresses we are coming to learn much more about this condition, but we are still a long way from a cure or preventative solution.
In most cases there is small chance of hair recovery, however there have been cases of complete restoration as well. Consider it a genetic auto immune condition that has an unknown trigger, and which can sometimes be "un-triggered" for unknown reasons. Scientists are still researching why hair follicles can become the target of autoimmune activities.
Can the condition be treated?
There are treatments available however these options only suppress the symptoms, they do not cure the problem, and do not work for everyone. Some of the options you may want to consider include corticosteroid injections, topical corticosteroid creams and lotions, minoxidil lotion, immunotherapy, dithranol cream and ultraviolet light treatment. Your doctor or other suitable medical professional can discuss these with you in more detail than is within the scope of this post.
For many, scalp micro pigmentation offers an easy solution to cover up the effects of all forms of alopecia. The following video shows a complete treatment from start to finish.
For more information about alopecia totalis and potential remedies, please see the following links: