Alopecia areata is a condition characterised by hair loss which may occur anywhere over the body, however it primarily affects the scalp. Patches of hair loss are experienced and the cause of the problem is unknown.
Naturopathically addressing nutritional deficiencies is recommended as well as immunity, hormonal imbalances and sluggish liver function. In Chinese Medicine congested energy (Qi) and a decline in Kidney function are underlying causes of alopecia areata. This means that there is reduced circulation, sluggish blood and nutrient transportation to the scalp and a decrease in constitutional energy (Kidney vitality) to invigorate the energy to the scalp for optimal hair growth.
Healthy adults normally shed 50 -100 hairs each day. Temporary hair loss can occur due to stress, illness, thyroid disorder, hormonal imbalance following childbirth, and as a reaction to general anaesthetics and other medications. In these circumstances, a large number of hair follicles suddenly go into a resting phase, causing hair to thin noticeably, although the hair may not fall out until 2-3 months after the event. Hair loss can also be caused by exposure of the hair or scalp to burns, x-rays, scalp injury, and certain chemicals (including those used to purify swimming pools, and to bleach, dye, and perm hair). Normal hair growth usually returns once the cause is eliminated. Dietary mineral deficiencies have also been implicated in hair loss, particularly deficiency of zinc, selenium, silica and copper and iron deficiency. The oral contraceptive pill and nervous system stress may also be a contributing factor for many women.
Skin, hair and nails are chemically related. Basic requirements for the health of these structures include adequate intakes of nutrients such as protein, essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. The following are some general recommendations for improving the health of the hair: