DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT, & STEPS TO TAKE

Is there a test for alopecia areata?

There is no single test to tell you if you have alopecia areata. Doctors usually see if you have the disease by:

  • Looking at the areas where the hair has been lost and at your nails.
  • Looking at your hair and hair follicle openings.
  • Asking about your medical and family history.
  • Ordering blood tests or other lab tests.

How is alopecia areata treated?

For many people, hair grows back without any type of treatment. For others, the doctor may prescribe a medication to stop the immune system attack on hair follicles and to help hair grow back.

Who treats alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is treated by:

  • Dermatologists, who specialize in conditions of the skin, hair, and nails.

Other specialists who may be involved in your care include:

  • Mental health professionals, who can help with the psychosocial challenges caused by having a medical condition.
  • Primary care doctors, such as family physicians or internal medicine specialists, who coordinate care between the different health providers and treat other problems as they arise. 

Living with alopecia areata

Alopecia areata may affect your sense of well-being. There are many things you can do to cope with the effects of this disease, including:

Get support.

  • Learn as much as you can about the disease, and talk with others who are dealing with it.
  • Visit a mental health professional if you experience higher levels of stress, depression, or anxiety.

Protect bare skin and stay comfortable.

  • Use sunscreens for any bare areas.
  • Wear wigs, hairpieces, hats, or scarves to protect your scalp from the sun and to keep your head warm.
  • Wear eyeglasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun and dust if you have lost hair from your eyebrows or eyelashes.

Consider cosmetic solutions.

  • Wear a wig, hairpiece, or bandana to cover up hair loss. Some people choose to shave their heads to mask patchy hair loss.
  • Use fake eyelashes or apply stick-on eyebrows if you lose hair from your eyelashes or eyebrows.

Take care of your health.

  • Visit your primary care doctor regularly. People with alopecia areata have a higher risk of certain other diseases, and early diagnosis is important.

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