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What is and how to cure universal alopecia areata?

26 November 2021


How to identify universal alopecia areata | Clínica de Freitas

Universal alopecia areata is a subtype of alopecia areata with its own distinctive characteristics.

In previous articles we have talked about alopecia areata as one of the existing types of alopecia. But, did you know that within alopecia areata there are subcategories?

Alopecia areata is a form of alopecia whose origin has autoimmune characteristics. Although it usually begins at any time in life, this type of alopecia frequently appears in childhood and early adulthood.

As we have mentioned, universal alopecia areata is a category within alopecia areata and shares its autoimmune origin with it. This means that the body itself produces antibodies that attack the hair follicle and stop its activity.

Next, we are going to describe and explain universal alopecia areata, its onset conditions and what is the prognosis for this condition.

What is alopecia areata universal?

Universal alopecia areata is a broader and more aggressive manifestation of alopecia areata. While the latter manifests as isolated bald spots or patches, the universal variant affects the entire scalp and body of the sufferer.

In this way, we understand that universal alopecia areata is the evolution of alopecia areata, that is, the next step when the latter progresses and worsens.

When we talk about common alopecia areata, we refer to a disease that is characterized by hair loss in the form of round patches in one or more areas of the body or scalp. On the other hand, when alopecia areata becomes universal, it causes the loss of all hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes and body.

This type of alopecia is the easiest to identify and the most striking at first glance. By presenting itself in such an aggressive and comprehensive manner, it significantly affects the patient's appearance, which in turn can cause damage to confidence and self-esteem.

On the other hand, it is important to note that, unlike androgenetic alopecia, this type of alopecia attacks the hair follicle without totally destroying it. This means that universal alopecia areata can be reversible.

Symptoms of alopecia areata universal

The main symptom of universal alopecia areata is total hair loss throughout the body, in addition to the scalp. This type of alopecia areata should not be confused with androgenic alopecia, a different cause of baldness and motivated by hormonal factors.

Under favorable health conditions, hair follicles produce hair steadily. When the patient has universal alopecia areata, the affected follicles suffer a sharp decrease in hair production.

The scalp follicles remain under the skin in a dormant state and can make hair again if the necessary conditions are present. This is the main difference between alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia, since the latter causes the miniaturization of the follicles until their disappearance.

Being related to common alopecia areata, universal alopecia can begin with some localized bald spots. In addition, on some isolated occasions these symptoms may be accompanied by burning or itching.

Causes of alopecia areata universal

Universal alopecia areata is a later and aggravated stage of common alopecia areata. We could say that it begins with the symptoms of the latter and for unknown reasons it progresses until it ends in a state of higher affectation.

The cause of universal alopecia areata is still unknown. There are those who postulate a hereditary nature of this disease, however, it has been observed that not all patients have a family history.

As mentioned above, it is known that the origin of alopecia areata is autoimmune. This means that the body's defenses attack a part of the body, in this case the hair follicles.

When the defenses attack the root of the hair, they cause an inflammatory reaction that causes the hair to fall sharply. In this way, a generalized state of baldness is generated that will remain until the inflammation subsides.

Other factors that have been and continue to be investigated to determine the causes of alopecia areata universal are:

• Psychiatric and or psychological problems, since their appearance has been observed during episodes of severe emotional or psychological suffering.

• Problems associated with the endocrine system.

• Problems in metabolism.

• Different allergy pictures.

• Patients with severe dermatitis.

• Cases in which uncontrolled growth of cells or abnormal tissues is detected in the body, which could be a malignant or benign neoplasm.

Treatment for universal alopecia areata

We already know that there are many types of alopecia areata. The most common of these is the one with a few oval, hairless areas on the scalp. When the number of spots increases and spreads through the scalp, we say that it is a multifocal alopecia areata.

The two most serious forms of alopecia areata are total and universal alopecia areata. The first causes hair loss throughout the scalp. For its part, alopecia areata universal affects not only the scalp but the entire body including the eyebrows, eyelashes and beard.

To this day, medicine still does not have a treatment for universal alopecia areata that is totally effective. However, in all cases of alopecia areata, the follicles remain alive under the skin and there is a possibility that they will grow back.

In the vast majority of cases, the patient is able to regain hair growth approximately one year after the onset of symptoms. However, we must clarify that the prognosis of universal alopecia areata is variable, and the disease remains active from a few months to years.

If the process is extended, the patient may go through stages of marked improvement and then begin again. This cycle may vary in time and characteristics from patient to patient, which is why a personalized hair diagnosis is essential.

For the diagnosis and control of universal alopecia areatadigital trichoscopy is a very useful and reliable resource. The analysis of the hair and scalp through amplified images allows us to detect the beginning of the disease and the reaction to the treatment.

If the doctor manages to control the disease, the hair will begin to grow in the form of fine hair, microscopically detectable through this technology.

There are different medical treatments capable of stopping hair loss and making it grow back. Later, a more complex task begins, which is to manage to maintain the hair, avoiding possible relapses.

What to do if I have universal alopecia areata

If you have universal alopecia areata or have observed the appearance of similar symptoms, it is important to see a specialist doctor. Early diagnosis and starting treatment before symptoms progress will help control the disease.

At Clínica de Freitas we have Tricho Scan technology to perform a detailed hair analysis. In addition, in our Clinic and Hair Spa, we offer different hair treatments capable of adapting to the needs of each patient.

Don't wait any longer and ask us for your first evaluation consultation at no cost. Contact us and let our team of experts answer all your questions.