My daughter was born with a full head of hair. In fact, she had more hair than most other babies. But all that changed when she was about 20 months old. She started losing her hair to Alopecia Areata.
We have since consulted with different doctors, including specialist paediatric dermatologists, paediatricians, and Chinese Medicine doctor across Australia and Canada. The doctors didn’t have much to offer in terms of suitable, safe and effective treatment, mainly due to her age and after weighing all the potential risks vs. benefits of medication on a very young child’s head.
So I started teaching myself about Alopecia Areata, and started experimenting with various options for natural treatment and management.
What is the magic pill?
In the beginning, I was looking for that ‘magic pill’. That single solution… that cream or shampoo or vitamin that will magically stop hair loss and regrow my baby’s hair. All the while we were very certain that we wanted to steer clear from any form of medication, usually in the form of steroid cream, for managing her alopecia. So natural, unmedicated treatment was our only deal.
Google was my best friend but I cut through noise by going for articles from more reliable sources, such as research publications and medical journals, or articles by qualified subject matter experts. Occasionally I would also consult other people’s experience and success stories but the latter tends to be few and far in between.
In the process, there was no shortage of articles and suggestions for ‘successful treatment of alopecia’. Solutions being offered range from hair products to supplements that may are linked to healthy hair growth — including biotin, omega-3, enough protein, and so on. These are all basic nutrients which we were already getting from a reasonably healthy and balanced diet, and supplementation of these nutrients probably won’t do much unless your alopecia is caused by nutrient deficiency, which isn’t the case for most people.
After 3 years of tirelessly looking for answers in the space of resolving Alopecia Areata caused by auto-immunity, one thing became clear.
While we may wish that the answer to resolving hair loss due to alopecia is as simple as what pill, what herbal remedies or shampoo or cream to use, the reality is that is is much more complex than that. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that.
The missing piece from available alopecia treatment options today
Every solution being offered out there focuses on the attempt to resolve the symptoms, not the root cause, of this autoimmune condition. Auto-immune occurs when out body mistakenly defend itself from non-enemies. In this case, the body actively attacks our hair follicles, much like a healthy immune system attacks viruses, pathogens and bacteria on a daily basis.
The fact that hair is falling out due to hair follicles being attacked by our own body’s immune system is the real problem.
So while some topical treatment may be helpful in stimulating hair growth, reducing bald patches, and improving hair quality, the same amount of focus needs to be put toward attempting to fix a malfunctioning immune system so that it stops attacking our own body by mistake.
Immunosuppressive drugs, usually in the form of steroids, whether topical, injected, or orally administered, work by suppressing our immune system so that it stops attacking the hair follicles. Numerous papers have investigated the long-term efficacy and side effects of this treatment method, not to mention it is generally not preferred for children with alopecia. Fundamentally, even though these drugs may show a temporary improvement in the condition, it still doesn’t address the underlying malfunctioning immune system.
Start with a strong immune system
It’s taken us 3 years to put the pieces together, but we’re now at a place where we feel that we’ve somewhat got a grip on alopecia as an autoimmune condition. We start by an overall wellness approach:
Fix the malfunctioning immune system (the one that attacks our hair follicles causing hair to thin out and fall off, creating bald patches).
Maintain a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle.
Topical treatment to stimulate hair growth and improve hair quality using natural and unmedicated solutions.
Our family has learned a lot through our first-hand experience with alopecia. We know how hard it could be. And I want to help others by sharing what we’ve learned, and what has worked for us. We start by building an optimal, overall health so that our immune system works for us, not against us.
Suz at Natural Alopecia Wellness
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