There are several different types of alopecia with different names and different causes. Alopecia areata is the best known—it’s like an inexplicable spot baldness anywhere on the body, but often on the head. Alopecia areata affects about 2% of the population in the United States.
A rarer form of alopecia is alopecia universalis, which in Europe affects about one person in 4000 or 0.025% of the population (we don’t have reliable statistics for the US). In alopecia universalis, the person loses all the hair on the body. Aside from the psychological effects, which shouldn’t be discounted, the physical effects of total hair loss are considerable. Imagine having no eyelashes to protect your eyes or no nose hairs to protect and filter your airways.
What should I know about alopecia universalis?
- It’s not contagious. You can’t “catch” it from someone, and you can’t give it to someone.
- It’s not inherited, so you don’t have to worry about passing it to your kids. You’ve probably inherited a predisposition to it, but you didn’t inherit it like a person inherits Huntington’s Disease (autosomal dominant) or haemophilia (x-linked recessive.)
- It’s not very well understood, but is currently considered an auto-immune disorder. For whatever reason your immune system treat your hair like a foreign invader, and T-cells hang out around the hair follicles causing inflammation that stops the hair follicle from working properly. And then the hair falls out.
Is there any treatment for it?
Many treatments are being explored, but there is no one accepted treatment recommended by the FDA. Patients can try diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP), squaric acid dibutylester (SADBE), steroids, and JAK inhibitors among other options. There is at least one case in the literature of a patient who had a complete remission with a JAK inhibitor, which is actually an arthritis drug sometimes used off-label for alopecia. You could certainly consider trying some of our products like Low-Level Laser Therapy caps in conjunction with other treatments.
Alopecia universalis is a tough nut to crack with only an estimated 10% of patients achieving complete remission and hair regrowth.
Remember, anyone experiencing sudden or significant hair loss should see his or her family doctor. We would recommend blood work to see the levels of different hormones and whether you have any vitamin deficiencies. We are here for you when you’re ready to start treatment for hair loss.
If you have any questions about treatment for hair loss or any of our products, we encourage you to call us directly at (844) 280-4680.