(Family Features) Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin disease that’s more common than many people think. It causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and other areas of the body, affecting as many as 6.8 million people in the United States. People of all ages, genders and ethnic groups can develop alopecia areata. It often first appears during childhood and can be different for everyone who has it.
During Alopecia Areata Awareness Month, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) invites those living with alopecia areata to celebrate their differences and show their spirit and pride through its “True Colors” campaign. Through pictures, stories, music and videos, the organization is asking members of the community to help raise awareness about the need for an acceptable treatment for alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata itself comes in several forms. The type of alopecia areata a person has is dictated by his or her immune system and how it attacks healthy hair follicles. People living with alopecia areata may experience different severities in hair loss and regrowth may be unpredictable and cyclical, meaning it can happen over time and for many years. For some people it could be temporary hair loss; for others, it can be for life.
Three of the most well-known types of alopecia areata are:
- Alopecia areata – the most common form with one or more coin-sized hairless patches on the scalp or other areas of the body
- Alopecia totalis – total loss of hair on the scalp
- Alopecia universalis – complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and body
There is no cure for alopecia areata and there are no effective treatments. The burden of those living with alopecia areata goes beyond unpredictable or even permanent hair loss. For many, the resounding effects of stigma and misunderstanding of the disease can have a tremendous impact on their mental health and well-being.
To learn more about alopecia areata, visit NAAF.org.
Developed with financial support from Pfizer.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock