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 the signs of regrowth in alopecia areata actually are. Whether those patches are filling in, or whether your eager mind is playing tricks on you.
The thing to remember is that this condition 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, either natural remedies or more aggressive treatments will do the trick.
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, in some cases, worse.
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, the hair will return to its natural colour 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 colour and white hair, or even with hair that’s a shade darker than your previous colour. But hey, hair is hair, right? So let’s not complain too much what form it decides to grow back 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 you can check out what they look like here.
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.
… 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 the looks you can create by having alopecia and you never know… that hair might just grow back when you least expect it.
Psst… Have you ever tried meditation? What was your experience like? Did it make a difference? Share your thoughts in the comments box!
If you like what I’m reading, maybe you’ll like what else I’m into:
1. Yoga – Read my review of a special retreat centre on Ireland’s west coast.
2. Meditation – Learn how it can help with hair loss and happiness!
3. Nutrition – Some handy dietary tips, whether you’ve got hair or not!
4. Travel – My thoughts on how travel can affect your health.
5. Silly Stuff – Like the bald celebrities I’ve got a crush on.