Question: My head has been really itchy for a few months and a couple of weeks ago I noticed a bald patch at the side of my head under my hair. In two weeks it has grown from the size of a 50 pence piece to the size of an apple the patch is extremely itchy and 6/7 more hairs are falling out from around it each time I scratch it. Now other parts of my head are also itchy, hairs are becoming looser and my hair line looks higher. Is there anything I can do please or any advice as I’m worried I will end up completely bald. My GP advised it could be alopecia but wasn’t much help.
Answer: Hi, Rachel. From what you say here, this type of hair loss does sound as if it is likely to be alopecia.
Alopecia Areata causes sudden hair fall, rather than gradual hair thinning over a prolonged period of time. It also tends to cause rounded bald spots anywhere on the scalp, either singularly or in multiple areas. Although a receding hairline is not a traditional symptom Alopecia Areata, it is linked to one of its sister conditions, Ophiasic Alopecia. It could also be the case that you are experiencing a patch of hair loss along the hairline which may make it appear uneven or as if it is receding.
These conditions are believed to be autoimmune disorders and, although little is known about the actual cause, it can be triggered by sudden shock, trauma and is even thought to have links to health issues such as allergies. Once the condition has been sparked it essentially pauses the normal function of the hair growth cycle, leaving it stuck in the dormant phase. The body awaits the signal that it is clear to resume regular hair production, though when or if this will come is unpredictable.
In many cases of Alopecia Areata the hair regrows naturally of its own accord, though this is not always the case. New bald patches may also develop once the hair has regrown as this type of autoimmune hair loss can recur. Alopecia Areata treatment can be effective in treating the patchy hair loss associated with this mild-to-moderate form of alopecia. At Belgravia we often tailor bespoke courses based around recommended formulations of high strength minoxidil, which is applied directly to the bald spots, and have seen a magnitude of Success Stories from this personalised approach.
However, if the condition develops into a more severe form – for instance Ophiasic Alopecia, Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis – where it affects the whole head or body, there are currently limited options. Those that do exist right now tend to be unreliable with a low success rate, though new JAK inhibitor treatments for these severe forms of Alopecia Areata are looking promising in early stage, small-scale clinical trials and have an estimated release date of 2020-2021, assuming they meet the necessary standards for medical approval.
With regards to your scalp itching issue, this could be due to a number of factors, from irritation to burning scalp syndrome. It can also be a signal of Alopecia Areata as some people describe this type of sensation before experiencing this type of sudden patchy hair loss.
We would need to find out more and assess your scalp in order to provide you with a thorough diagnosis of both your scalp and hair loss condition. This can take place in person at one of Belgravia’s Central London hair loss clinics or, if you are unable to visit us in London due to your location, we also offer an online consultation process and home-use mail order treatment option.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.