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Circular Hair Loss: Causes & Treatment

Circular Hair Loss: Causes & Treatment

Medical Director Dr. Hans-Georg Dauer

10 min

October 7, 2021

Did you know that we lose up to 100 hairs a day? But there's no need to worry: that's completely normal. It only becomes critical above the 100 mark.

If we find clumps of hair in the brush or on the pillow, our inner alarm bells start ringing. Something is wrong.

If hair loss progresses at record speed, we speak of Alopecia Areata or circular hair loss. This is an autoimmune disease that causes an inflammatory form of hair loss in the patient.

Its hallmark: sudden balding. The patient loses so much hair that completely bald patches form on the scalp.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not a rarity. In Germany alone, around 1.5 million people are now affected by a sudden, clear cut. In addition, this is accompanied by a strong psychological burden.

Many patients feel robbed of their youthfulness, freshness and vitality due to the rapid loss of hair. Not infrequently, self-doubt even leads to depression, anxiety, panic attacks and social isolation.

The worst case: Occasionally, the circular hair loss does not stop at the level of the scalp. The patient loses hair all over their body. But it is all-clear: The loss of body hair occurs only in isolated cases.

Reason enough to take a closer look at Alopecia Areata. What actually happens, how does it come about and what can dermatology do about it?

What Symptoms are Typical for Alopecia Areata?

Circular hair loss targets specific, clearly defined areas of the scalp. And it is precisely in these affected areas that it really strikes, and leads to anywhere from broken, brittle hair to complete hair loss.

Most often, alopecia areata leaves round or oval bald patches roughly the size of a coin. Another feature: not infrequently, hair loss is limited to one side of the head. For example, the right side may be significantly more affected than the left.

A special form of circular hair loss is diagnosed by the dermatologist in alopecia ophiasis. In this case, the patient loses the hair in the entire neck, temple and ear area.

A special form of hair loss that occurs in men is alopecia barbae. Here, the hair in the entire chin and cheek area thins out.

In extreme cases, however, the autoimmune disease does not stop at just individual spots. Instead, it attacks the entire hair coat – from the hair on the head to the eyelashes and eyebrows. In this case, this is called alopecia totalis.

In rare cases, hair loss even affects the whole body. Little by little, we are deprived of our body hair. However, the so-called alopecia universalis is an extremely rare phenomenon.

Did you know? Some patients diagnosed with circular hair loss also suffer from other autoimmune diseases such as neurodermatitis or vitiligo (white spot disease).

    Circular Hair Loss – The Most Common Causes

    The specific causes of Alopecia Areata are still not fully understood. To this day, the sudden balding leaves dermatologists puzzled.

    Some doctors consider circular hair loss to be an autoimmune disease. In other words, the immune system is misdirected.

    Instead of fighting dangerous viruses, germs and bacteria, our defense cells are directed against our own body – more precisely, against our own hair.

    And it is precisely these attacks by the immune system that cause the sensitive hair roots to suffer from persistent inflammation, which in the worst case can lead to hair loss.

    But what exactly brings dermatologists to this assumption? It is the frequent inflammatory reactions of their patients - not only at the hair follicles, but all over the body.

    In fact, an above-average number of those affected suffer from other autoimmune diseases such as neurodermatitis or the white spot disease, vitiligo. Thus, alopecia areata could well be genetically determined.

    However, not only genes could be involved here. Stress and harmful environmental influences such as extreme heat, cold, exhaust fumes and chemical substances are also considered to be possible triggers.

    Circular Hair Loss – What can I do About it?

    In the case of alopecia areata, the prognosis for recovery varies greatly from patient to patient. The age and size of the affected areas have a major influence on overall regeneration.

    Generally, the younger the patient and the smaller the area, the better the chances of healing.

    In many cases, the hair roots regenerate themselves. Even without treatment, they can grow back without any problems. However, the patient needs time and patience: it is not uncommon for regeneration to take several months or even years.

    Also, the color of the stragglers often does not correspond to the imagination of the affected person. Especially in the case of round, coin-sized bald patches, the hairs initially grow back in white.

    If the responsible initiates a therapeutic approach, he does not treat the cause of the circular hair loss, but rather the symptoms.

    In most cases, the first form of treatment is with cortisone. Whether as a cream, tablet or injection – the powerful miracle hormone is supposed to effectively combat the stubborn inflammation at the hair roots.

    However, many dermatologists are skeptical about the treatment options with cortisone.

    Because especially over a longer period of intake, the strong drug can bring unpleasant side effects such as fungal infections, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, migraine and fatigue.

    Fortunately, there are now significantly more treatment options than just pure cortisone therapy. Why don't we take a look at the most successful approaches together?

    Minoxidil Against Circular Hair Loss

    Minoxidil is always at the top of the treatment list for hereditary hair loss. However, the active ingredient is now also occasionally used for circular hair loss. However, the success of the treatment has been limited so far.

    By the way: To maximize the success of the treatment, many doctors combine the active ingredient Minoxidil with cortisone.

    Contact Allergens Against Circular Hair Loss

    Apart from minoxidil and cortisone, the treating physician occasionally also advises the so-called topical immunotherapy with diphenylcyclopropenone (DCP).

    The principle: Several times the physician applies a special contact allergen to the problem areas on the scalp. And this is exactly what causes an allergic contact eczema to form, which is supposed to stimulate new and strong hair growth.

    Currently, dermatologists recommend topical immunotherapy only for far advanced and particularly severe forms of alopecia areata. After all, it is an exceptionally costly and lengthy therapeutic approach.

    The PUVA Therapy Against Circular Hair Loss

    A newcomer in the treatment measures of circular hair loss is the PUVA therapy. Its secret of success is the combination of psoralen and UV light. The powerful radiation sensitizes the skin, causing inflammatory reactions.

    And it is precisely these inflammatory reactions that prove to be a welcomed and diverse tactic. They cleverly direct the attention of the misguided immune cells to the fresh inflammation on the scalp. This is your hair roots' chance to shine. Finally, they can recover in peace.

    PUVA therapy also plays its aces with other skin diseases like neurodermatitis, psoriasis, itching, hand eczema and isolated cutaneous lymphomas. Even with early forms of light skin cancer it can achieve considerable success.

    Zinc Therapy Against Circular Hair Loss

    Zinc therapy has a direct approach: it treats alopecia areata as a disorder of the immune system. The immune system is given the misinformation that it should fight itself. With inflammations they are supposed to destroy themselves.

    And this is exactly where zinc therapy comes in. By supplying the body with zinc, it aims to stimulate the immune system. This should eliminate the cell’s misunderstanding in the immune system – at least temporarily.

    The only disadvantage of the therapy: Its effectiveness has not been clearly proven yet.

    Autohaemotherapy Against Circular Hair Loss

    Many doctors swear by autohemotherapy for the treatment of circular hair loss – for good reason. The innovative and minimally invasive method literally handles the body with ease.

    Through the gentle powers of its own blood, it aims to get the stagnant hair growth going naturally.

    The first step towards full, strong and healthy hair is the blood sample. The attending physician takes a small amount of blood from the patient. For this, 20 - 30 milliliters of blood are sufficient.

    The physician then carefully prepares the patient's blood. In technical terminology, this is called centrifugation.

    Our blood is stuffed with valuable energy sources – from valuable platelets (thrombocytes) to useful growth hormones to precious cytokines (messenger substances for the immune defense).

    In the next step, the scalp and the prepared blood come into contact with each other. With the help of ultra-fine injection needles, the physician carefully administers the nutrient-rich liquid into the lower layers of the skin.

    Once it’s there, it quickly goes to work. It effectively promotes the formation of new small blood vessels around the hair roots.

    The newly formed blood vessels truly work wonders. They quickly stimulate blood circulation, improve the supply of nutrients to the hair roots and activate hair growth naturally.

    Finally, something is happening on the top of your head again. Not only does the hair grow significantly faster, the stragglers also appear noticeably fuller, more vital and healthier.

    By the way: If you want to gently support hair growth, you can have your centrifuged blood enriched with highly effective ingredients such as hyaluron. With combined forces, they give hair growth even more tailwind.

    Professional Autologous Blood Treatment at HAIR & SKIN

    Hair loss is a sensitive issue that we do not like to confide in just anyone. We prefer to share our fate with experienced and empathetic specialists who have a solution ready for our problem.

    Lucky for us, these experienced and empathetic specialists are easy to find – thanks to HAIR & SKIN.

    Our trained team of doctors has everything hair loss patients could hope for from their procedure – state-of-the-art medical methods, empathy and sure instinct, a wealth of experience and inviting premises, guaranteed to make you feel good.

    We at HAIR & SKIN also accommodate our customers regarding our pricing. Our attractive bundles for skin, hair or hair & skin treatments fit into every budget.

    Strong, shiny and naturally full hair does not have to cost a fortune. Everyone should be able to fulfill their dream of a youthful and well-groomed hair coat.

    Hair Transplantation – Putting an End to Circular Hair Loss

    From doctor to doctor, from treatment to treatment, from pharmacy to pharmacy – many hair loss patients are tired of the odyssey – especially with circular hair loss.

    Often, it is very difficult to cover up the coin-sized bald patches on the head. Not without reason does our desire for permanently full and vital hair keep on growing.

    How fortunate that the desire for permanently full hair can be fulfilled quickly and effortlessly. Hair transplantation puts an end to Alopecia Areata once and for all.

    Finally, the hair stays and remains where it’s supposed to.

    What is the Procedure for a Hair Transplant?

    If you decide to have a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) at HAIR & SKIN, for example, you will first have a detailed consultation with the doctor of your choice.

    They will give you detailed information about the procedure, the success of the treatment as well as possible risks and side effects.

    Of course, you can also ask questions or express concerns. Our experts always have an open ear for you.

    If you feel well that you are well informed, nothing more stands in the way of the hair transplant. Together, you can make an appointment for the treatment. When the big day arrives, the doctor starts with the hair removal.

    In a densely overgrown area (usually at the back of the head), they detache strong, healthy hair roots from the scalp. As a precaution, they store them in an enriched solution.

    This way, the nutrient supply of the transplants remains uninterrupted. Because the better the supply of the hair roots, the higher their chances of survival.

    The physician then carefully plants the freshly extracted hair roots in the bald problem areas on the scalp. Step by step, they fill in the bald areas with strong donor hair.

    In order to work as quickly and precisely as possible, they use the finest needles. In this way, they achieve an impressively natural result within a very short time, without any foreign body effect, highly efficiently.

    The transplants look just like real head hair. Thus, others can’t even tell that a procedure took place at all.

    What is the Aftercare for a Hair Transplant?

    Since the FUE method is an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure, the patient may leave the practice on the same day. The patient can recover from the treatment at home, in peace.

    Immediately after treatment, the patient is fully fit to travel and socialize again. Only a few small things should be observed within the next few days:

    • Refrain from sports and strenuous physical activities such as heavy lifting for about two weeks.
    • For two weeks it is not recommended to visit the solarium and sauna.
    • Excessive sunbathing is not advisable for the first few days.
    • For the first hair washes, our experts recommend mild shampoos without aggressive chemical additives. Baby shampoo is ideal.
    • Special care should be taken when drying your hair. After washing, carefully rub the scalp dry with a towel. Heavy rubbing is taboo.
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    Autologous Blood Treatment

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