Question: I am 19. I have lost my hair completely four times in the last six years. The first couple of times I had suffered severe post traumatic stress, but the other times I have been fine. Why does this keep happening and the hair always return?
Answer: From your description it sounds as though you had alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis, conditions related to the autoimmune disorder, alopecia areata. They may originate from alopecia areata and slowly develop to totalis or universalis, or they might come on suddenly and hair loss may occur rapidly over a period of days or weeks. It’s understood that totalis and universalis are the result of an attack on the hair follicles by the immune system, and can be instigated by stress or genetics.
However, you don’t have to be stressed to for an autoimmune attack on the hair follicles. This is part of the mystery behind the conditions. It would appear you have a strong genetic inclination to autoimmune problems, but you are lucky that your hair always grows back.
Although there are some cases where complete restoration has occurred, the chances of recovery are generally small. And unfortunately, despite some companies claiming to be able to be able to treat totalis and universalis, no hair loss treatment has proved effective.
About 1 in every 125,000 men and 1 in every 250,000 women have alopecia totalis or universalis. Most sufferers are children and young adults under the age of 40, though it can affect people of all ages.
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to prevent the hair loss reoccurring. The long-standing and recurring nature of the condition means that, while some people might come to terms with it at some point, for others it might be beneficial to perhaps prepare a cosmetic solution or consider hair replacement, if at some point the hair does not grow back.