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Circular hair loss, or also called alopecia areata, is to be understood as hair loss in the form of oval or round spots. The scalp is primarily affected. One or more hairless areas are formed. Short, broken hairs can often be seen on the edge of the hearth, which become increasingly thin towards the scalp. According to their appearance, this is called "exclamation mark hair". The hairless areas can also spread to other hairy parts of the body, in the worst case they occur all over the body.
The hair loss begins suddenly and affects young men and children in particular. Around a million people in Germany are affected. Alopecia areata is an inflammatory hair disease that fortunately keeps the hair follicles and only suppresses their fiber formation. It is therefore a hair growth disorder and not a hair growth disorder, which enables spontaneous healing at any time. Some sufferers also experience changes in the nails, so-called spotted nails.
The causes of circular hair loss have not yet been fully clarified. According to the current state of research, genetic predisposition can be assumed. It is also believed that an immune system disorder can be the cause of hair loss. T-lymphocytes, which can normally recognize intruders, take action against the body's own, i.e. they do not recognize their own hair follicles as their own, but as foreign. This creates an inflammatory reaction that leads to a disruption in hair growth and subsequently to hair loss.
Around 30 percent of those affected are allergy sufferers. These patients are more prone to allergies, which is why they often suffer from neurodermatitis, hay fever, a food allergy and asthma.
Physical illnesses and stress
Various diseases such as disorders of the thyroid function (e.g. overactive thyroid), the chronic inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis and polymyalgia rheumatica (inflammatory rheumatic diseases with muscle pain in different places) are possible causes of hair loss.
The psyche often plays a major role. With massive internal tension, stress, personal loss, fears or depression, circular hair loss occurs frequently. Children were found to have circular bald patches on the scalp after losing someone very close to them. Trauma or emotional shock can cause sudden hair loss.
Hormone changes and medication
The hormonal changes in pregnancy are also a possible trigger. Hormone disorders can generally cause sudden hair loss. Local scalp injuries and the use of medications such as antidepressants and lipid-lowering agents are also possible causes.
Symptoms of circular hair loss
The manifestations of circular hair loss can be very different. The disease usually begins with a hairless stove of one to two centimeters in diameter. Itching may also occur. Usually only the scalp is affected. In about three quarters of those affected, hair loss is limited to one or two places on the scalp. Others suffer more from multiple hairless foci that can also confluence.
Occasionally, the alopecia areata also turns into diffuse hair loss (Alopecia diffusa), which is limited to individual areas. A special form is expressed in the loss of eyebrows or eyelashes. If the hair on the head goes out completely, this is called alopecia totalis. If the entire body is affected, doctors speak of alopecia universalis. So-called “spotted nails” are observed in around a quarter of those affected. These are dimple-shaped recesses on the nail plate, which are actually a typical accompanying symptom of psoriasis (psoriasis).
Circular hair loss can be spontaneous and completely gone after a few months. In the case of other sufferers, however, it continues to develop over the years. It is possible that the previously bald areas are initially completely covered with hair and then suddenly fall out again in batches.
When hair grows back, it is unpigmented and thin at first, but later gets a completely normal structure. Circular hair loss is not a danger and is not contagious, but it often has an extremely stressful effect on the psyche of those affected.
Conventional medical measures
Once the cause of the alopecia areata has been clarified, causal therapy is given, i.e. the underlying disease, such as an underactive thyroid, is treated. The lighter the extent of the disease, the easier it is to treat. For example, the oil from the croton oil tree (croton oil) is used, which has an irritating effect on the skin. Other treatment options include drugs for immunomodulation and immunosuppressive drugs.
Naturopathy for circular hair loss
In naturopathy, people are considered as a whole. Accordingly, holistic treatment is in the foreground. An attempt is made to find out the cause of the circular hair loss and then to treat it causally.
An imbalance in the acid-base balance can lead to hair loss. In order to counteract acidification, a healthy, balanced diet is recommended, which contains many basic foods and is low in animal protein (contained in meat, sausage fish and dairy products). Almonds, tomatoes, lamb's lettuce, mushrooms (mushrooms, chanterelles, porcini mushrooms etc.), potatoes, apples and berries are particularly rich in bases.
An imbalance in the intestine can be involved in the development of circular hair loss. Since approximately 70 percent of the immune cells are formed in the intestine, it can happen that a dysbalance of the physiological bacteria in the intestine leads to hair loss. To remedy this, it is important that those affected rebuild their intestinal flora.
A prerequisite for this is a thorough cleaning of the intestine, in which it is first freed of harmful residues. Various home remedies for natural colon cleansing are used here, such as psyllium husk, bitter plants or healing earth. Once the intestine has been cleaned, the actual intestinal rehabilitation follows. There are also various methods for this, e.g. the intake of lactic and coli bacteria. The development of a healthy intestinal flora takes four to six weeks and should only be carried out under the guidance of an experienced alternative practitioner.
For people who are very nervous and plagued by anxiety, naturopathy tries to build up appropriate stress management with those affected. Various stress relief techniques such as autogenic training, breathing exercises or yoga have proven successful. In addition, medicinal plants such as passion flowers, St. John's wort, valerian, lemon balm and hops can provide more inner peace and balance.
Bach flower therapy, in which the appropriate flowers are selected individually depending on the symptoms, is helpful in many cases. Substitution with nutritional supplements (such as vitamin B complex, zinc and iron) is also often successfully used in conjunction with other naturopathic therapies.
Before starting natural therapy for circular hair loss, it is advisable to drain and detoxify. The body is stimulated with herbs, Schüssler salts or homeopathy to bring out accumulated waste products. (sw, nr)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Harald Kittler et al .: Overview of dermatology and venereology, facultas.wuv, 2013
- Karina J. Juárez-Rendón et al .: "Alopecia Areata. Current situation and perspectives", in: Arch Argent Pediatr, Volume 115 Issue 6, 2017, researchgate.net
- Patra Miller: Alopecia Areata, Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC, 2015
- Alopecia Areata Deutschland e. V. (AAD): www.kreisrunderhaarausfall.de (access: August 30, 2019), cause and diagnosis of Alopecia Areata (AA)
- Luzhou Xing et al .: "Alopecia areata is driven by cytotoxic T lymphocytes and is reversed by JAK inhibition", in: Nature Medicine, Volume 20, 2014, NCBI