Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that results in patches of hair falling out from your head. It’s a fairly common but unpredictable hair-loss condition that can range in severity from person to person. The exact reason why some women develop alopecia is unknown, but it’s thought to be influenced by genetic factors (you’re more likely to get it if you have a family history of it), as well as environmental factors such as emotional or physical stress.
For some women the condition is mild, where only small patches of hair fall out to the point where it might not even be noticeable to the person who has it. In mild cases of alopecia the condition is usually only temporary, and your hair may grow back to its previous thickness after just a few months.
It can, though, affect other women much more strongly, sometimes to the point where all of their head hair falls out. When this happens it’s called alopecia totalis. Although alopecia doesn’t cause any further health issues, it can be both stressful and distressing for the women who suffer from it, leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. More severe cases of alopecia are likely to affect you for much longer periods of time, often permanently.
But although there’s no cure for alopecia, there are things that can be done to help support hair regrowth, such as taking treatments like minoxidil (Regaine), or seeking emotional support and help for the mental health issues that can arise from and contribute to alopecia.