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What Causes Hair Loss

Help, I am Experiencing Hair Loss Behind My Left Ear. What is Causing This?

Question

I have a full head of hair with no history of balding. Only 3 days ago I discovered a bald patch (2-3 cm diameter) behind my left ear. There is no inflammation or itchiness. Please advise why I am experiencing hair loss in this odd area. What causes this? What is the name of this hair loss? How can I prevent it and how does it regrow. Your kind advice is appreciated.

Answer

Thank you for your inquiry.

Though the most common type of hair loss is Androgenetic Alopecia (male or female pattern hair loss), this does not sound like what you are experiencing. From your description, you could be experiencing Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition which typically affects the scalp but can also be seen on other areas of the body. Alopecia Areata is characterized by rapid hair loss and typically affects one side of the scalp more than the other. It can be found in both men and women and is very different than typical genetic hair loss which is inherited.

Evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system creating an autoimmunity. This causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles, disrupting the normal hair growth cycle. The cause of this is unknown however is sometimes associated with other conditions such as thyroid disease, ulcerative coiltis, allergic disorders, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Because alopecia areata sometimes occurs within a family, genetics have been suggested to lay a role.

The good news is that 50% of all alopecia areata suffering men and women, 50% of them will regrow hair within a year without any treatment. However, there are a variety of possible treatments for this condition which include steroid injections, shampoos such as Rogaine (minoxidil) (FDA approved for hair loss), clobetasol or fluocinonide, creams, topical immunotherapy (cyclosporine), and irritants such as anthralin or topical coal tar. A variation of these treatments are often used in combination with one another.

In my opinion, you should consult with a dermatologist or hair restoration specialist in order to determine the cause of your hair loss condition. Only then can a proper hair loss treatment be recommended.