Having alopecia can feel like a wild goose chase sometimes. You keep searching for a miracle cure, which never seems to arrive. Any products that do work only do so temporarily. And the more you fixate on the possibility of regrowth, the more hair falls out.
It’s easy to get disheartened, especially if you don’t know what alopecia areata regrowth signs to look out for. Whether those patches are filling in, or whether your eager mind is playing tricks on you.
Remember: Alopecia isn’t usually permanent. In many cases, the hair will come back all by itself, with a bit of time and patience the only medicine. In other cases, natural remedies or more aggressive treatments can help things along.
But how do you know if you’re nearing the end of alopecia? Well, this post will cover a few telltale signs of regrowth, helping you to check whether your condition is getting better… or worse.
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is however reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
That’s right. The end of hair loss is about turning into Grandma all too early.
Because, while you’ll be delighted to see some hair sprouting at last, you’ll probably be less thrilled to find that it’s of a snowy white colour. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. In fact, regrowth of white hair is quite common in cases of alopecia areata.
Most of the time, this fine white hair will return to its natural color after a while. (If it doesn’t, you could just rock the Rogue from X-Men look. Trendy.)
You might be left with a patch of white hair, or a mix of your natural color and white hair, or even with hair that’s a shade darker than your previous color. But hey, hair is hair, right? So let’s not complain too much what form it decides to grow back in!
And you could always use hair fibers to give you the illusion of darker, thicker hair until that terminal hair kicks in.
If you notice new hair growing, whatever the colour, you’ll probably notice that it’s quite fine in texture. This is because it’s simply ‘vellus’ hair – that’s the fine, downy-like fuzz we’re all born with. It might cover your entire patch and it might stick around; or it could simply fall out again. Shame.
However, when this vellus hair develops into thicker, longer, ‘terminal’ hair… that’s when you know you’ve reached the end of your battle with alopecia. (For the time being, at least.)
For some reason this hair might be curly, even if your normal locks have always been straight. Could be fun to mix it up, right?!
Whatever it looks like, make sure you treat your new hair with care. Avoid harsh chemicals whenever possible and direct heat when styling.
Unfortunately, these short hairs, which you might mistake for regrowth, aren’t a very good sign. They usually appear in a mix of vellus hairs around the edge of a patch, and they indicate that some sort of inhibition is still taking place. Basically, the body’s autoimmune response weakens these hairs and cuts them short at scalp level while, at the same time, their follicles enter the ‘telogen’ (resting) phase.
In other words, if you notice exclamation hairs around your bald spot, it doesn’t mean your hair is growing back or that your alopecia is gone. (Sorry.)
Rather, it means the condition might just be getting started. (Again, sorry.)
But don’t let these spiky fellas get to you. Often they’ll disappear as you pursue whatever treatment you’re on, allowing stronger hair to take their rightful place on your crown. (Yay!)
Psst… I don’t have any exclamation hairs right now (which I’m taking as a good sign!) But basically, they’re short stubby things that look like…well…exclamation points!
If so, they could indicate that your follicle challenges are coming to an end.
Of course, the exclamation mark hairs might mean that the condition is progressing further. And there are a few other things that can indicate ongoing alopecia areata.
Pits on the nails are a sure-fire sign; if you don’t have them, that’s a good thing. Plus, I always notice that when my alopecia is most active, I have a small red rash at the base of my neck. It often fades when I rub the gel of an aloe vera plant directly on it, and it eases the inflammation caused by my autoimmune response. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really a miracle cure for alopecia. Hair loss is triggered by many different things so it might take a holistic, rounded approach to find a solution.
While I wouldn’t recommend chemical-heavy topical treatments (like Minoxidil) as they can have quite severe side effects, I stand by the following methods as safe and often effective options for hair growth. They won’t magically grow hair back but they DO provide the optimal conditions for regrowth…and can encourage any growth you are already experiencing to get a move on!
Hair loss is often linked to a vitamin or mineral deficiency, or to too much inflammation going on in your diet. I’ve cut out gluten and dairy for this reason, which has pretty promising results when I stick to it! I’m also on a supplementation plan that includes Omega 3, Vitamin D, Bs and more.
If you’re looking for one simple supplement that contains these essential vitamins, Folexin is a great choice.
It contains plenty of B vitamins for healthy hair and nutrient absorption; a Chinese herb called Fo-Ti that supports hair growth; saw palmetto, which naturally blocks DHT (the hormone linked to hair loss); and biotin – a star ingredient in the production of healthy skin, nails and hair.
Check out my full review here or take a look at the different Folexin packages below. If you’ve found your own hair growth supplement, it’s a good idea to check that it has at least some of these key ingredients.
Remember when I said there’s no miracle cure for hair loss? Well, that applies to hair loss shampoos, too. So why bother?
Because a good hair loss shampoo will provide the optimal scalp environment for hair growth. That means getting rid of excess debris or sebum, clearing any bacterial issues and providing plenty of moisture while protecting your hair from environmental damage.
In the past, I favoured Nioxin shampoo – because it actually helped my hair grow back after 3 months! But it’s not for everyone, and it contains sulfates nowadays. (It does have a good system for chemically treatment or colored hair though, helping you to protect it from and repair existing damage.)
More recently, I’ve started using Revita shampoo, which I love. I got vellus hair after just 2 weeks of using it and my hair is in pretty much the best condition it’s ever been…shiny, strong and not shedding for a change! Check out my full review here – I’m happy to recommend Revita as a more natural hair loss shampoo.
Now, in many cases of alopecia, the hair will return all by itself – without any treatment at all. Good to know! But, if you’d like to help it along with stuff you may already have at home…why not give it a try?
Psst… Check out more natural treatments in this post!
… and keep that patchy head held high!
Because you may not be seeing any indication of regrowth yet. But that’s ok. Just try not to get caught up in constantly checking for signs. It’s only likely to stress you out further, which could stop any sprouting firmly in its tracks.
Instead, try to keep positive, enjoy a different style, by braving the bald or wrapping it up and you never know… that hair might just grow back when you least expect it.
Get free, semi-regular alopecia-related news things and musings.
Psst… If no welcome email shows up, check your spam.
Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!
Just stick in your email to join the gang.
If no welcome email appears, please check your spam. Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t give your details to Zuckerberg and you are free to unsubscribe at any time.
Join the gang and receive semi-regular news and joy from someone with very irregular hair.