What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata, also known as autoimmune alopecia, is the loss of hair caused by your immune system attaching your hair follicles. This usually affects hair on the scalp and results in circular patches of bald spots. In some, the hair loss can be quite extensive, resulting in a big bald spot and in others, it can be only a small patch.
There is no cure for alopecia areata, and the duration in which it causes hair loss differs from person to person. However, there are treatments to facilitate the regrowth of hair such as steroid injections to the affected area(s) directly.
How do steroid injections help?
Steroids are anti-inflammatory agents that can be used to suppress the immune response that causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles. This allows the hair follicle to function normally for hair to re-grow.
Multiple sessions at intervals of 4-6 weeks apart may be required depending on the individual's condition.
How It's Done
The area(s) of the scalp affected by alopecia areata will first be disinfected with an antiseptic solution before the steroid injections.
The steroid solution will then be injected into the affected area(s) using a small gauge needle so that discomfort and pain is minimised during the procedure. Most patients find the injections highly tolerable. An antibiotic ointment is then applied to the injected areas to prevent infection.
Afterwards, you'll need to avoid washing your hair for at least 24 hours after the procedure. You'll also need to avoid any chemical treatments (perm, hair dye, etc.) for at least a week.