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, 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 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 does contain sulphates. Read my full review here.
More recently, I’ve started using Revita shampoo, which I really 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 – and 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.
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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!
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Firstly, i wanted to say your page has been my “go to” source of reassurance and encouragement during my alopecia episode. I really value all the work and guidance you have put into this.
I’m 42 years old male, no health issues, fit and well (apart from mild covid mid April 22). I had a full head of dark blonde hair, probably about 2 inches long.
I found a small patch (20p size) back at the start of May 2022. It had a slow start and i found 3 or 4 other similar sized patches within a week or 2.
By mid July, i had to shave my head, i was devastated and drained as i had lost about 35% of my hair (which, was showing the initial signs of regrowth. Small fine, white baby hairs).
I should add, that 50% of my beard has also shedded and what remains has gone white too. (My beard is also showing signs of recovery)
Its now 1st Nov 22, I’ve lost about 75% of my hair….i’d also say that the majority has either fine white hairs, or thicker white hairs…..i’m not counting my chickens yet….
But, just now i noticed that one of the patches of thicker white hair has a darker shade to my skin on my scalp. I can also see a few darker hairs. I’m trying not to get too excited, but could this mean the follicles under my scalp are starting to grow back to my usual dark blonde colour?
Hoping this is a good sign!
Thanks once again.
Thanks so much for your kind feedback and for sharing your experience – and I’m very sorry for the delay in responding to you! I’m so glad that my website has been a helpful resource and really appreciate your encouragement.
I’m so sorry to hear about your hair loss this year. Very interesting to hear it was soon after you had COVID – have you read my post on the link between the two? More and more people are writing to me saying the same thing, that they never had hair loss before until contracting the virus. There’s not enough data yet for researchers to say for sure but anecdotally at least, it really does seem to be an unfortunate after-effect.
It must’ve been so tough to see your hair shedding like that, and your beard too. It’s nearly harder to have it happen over a few months, right? As then we end up checking constantly for progress, not great considering that anxiety/stress are also triggers for more hair loss! But it is good to hear about the thicker white hairs, and the fact that they’re darkening, too. That is definitely a good sign. Do whatever you can to keep inflammation down (see my post on nutrition for that), to reduce stress (e.g. through a practice like yoga) and to support hair growth naturally (like with these natural remedies). Keep me posted on your progress, too!
Wishing you all the very best, and thanks again for your comment,
Emma / Lady Alopecia 🙂
Thank you for the reply, I only noticed it the other day.
The link to your blog about covid is very reassuring.
I’ve not exactly advertised to the world that I have alopecia, other than people I see regularly, but I was still feeling very anxious about bumping into people I haven’t seen in a while, so I took the decision to announce it on Facebook and Instagram. I received so many messages of support and even more surprising was that quite a few people i know have had the odd flare up for AA in the past, not to mention 5 people saying that had hair loss after covid and had no idea there was a link between the 2. I’ve given them all a link to your website. I said it before, but I really appreciate all your hard work you put into this website. Its my go to when I’m feeling a bit of a wobble.
It just proves, it’s good to talk.
Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Richard – I’m so glad you find my site valuable and the post about COVID to be informative/helpful in some way. It certainly helped me to find that out (mainly, through my readers’ stories!) as, losing my own eyebrow and much more hair after getting the virus, I also was feeling scared and frustrated. And even though making the connection between the two didn’t change the state of my hair, it did make me feel slightly better, to have some kind of explanation.
So I’m glad it did the same for you – and thank you so much for sharing my site with your friends, that’s just amazing! I so appreciate you doing that. (If you or your friends would like to support me and my site further, you could do so here…no pressure though!)
And good on you for sharing your story on social media…a very brave move but, from my own experience too, people are so much kinder and understanding than we can imagine. It’s especially rewarding when they share their own stories in return so well done for starting that important conversation in your circle…I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of people feel less alone. And, like you say, less of a need to feel anxious about bumping into people now that you’ve spread the word!
Take care also, and keep in touch,
Hello! Loving your blog – it’s really helping me as the doctors have offered little to no help and information.
In April this year my partner noticed what he thought was just a thin patch due to how my hair was tied up. We investigated and turns out I had a 2in x 3in patch of Alopecia that I hadn’t noticed myself!
The doctors did some tests and found I am severely iron deficient, which they think caused the Alopecia. I’ve been given 4 months of iron tablets with no follow up appointments required.
I’ve got fluffy colourless hair that is about 1cm long now – longing for the day when it’s grown out and matches my natural hair.
I’m 28yrs old and find myself constantly checking to make sure the patch isn’t showing. My sister gets married next year and I’m just hoping there’s enough grown in by then!!
Hi Gina! Thanks so much for sharing your story and I’m so glad to hear my website’s proving helpful to you so far. 🙂 Iron and mineral deficiency is a really common cause of hair loss (many women report being zinc deficient also), so I hope the supplements help you! Remember to take vitamin C at the same time, either in tablet form or in the food you have with the iron supplements (as Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron, that’s what I was told by nutritionists!) Great to hear about the regrowth too, that’s wonderful! And don’t worry, it should go back to your usual colour and texture once it thickens into that terminal hair I mentioned.
It’s tough, I know, but try not to keep checking that patch – it won’t help the stress levels or that production of cortisol, either! As best you can, let the hair come back in its own time and focus on the excitment around your sister’s wedding instead…I ended up decorating my own mohawk with feathers when my sister got married as I was almost completely bald then…but the comments I got were amazing! 😉 I’m sure it won’t come to that stage at all for you and that your hair will return but just to remind you, there are other possiblites and they don’t all have to be scary! Anyway, sending you all the love and support and good luck on this hair growth journey xxx
Well, it’s really comforting to know that the regrowth of white hair from alopecia is normal because I was worried about how to hide them when they fully grow; I assumed I’d have to dye them on a regular basis, but after reading your blog, I feel more at ease than ever.
When I found out about that little spot on my head, it was the worst day of my life. I didn’t eat anything that day because I was afraid I was going to die, but after a few days, I started to accept it as normal and part of my life, and avoided seeing it, but one day I thought to check to see if their new hair was coming or not, and I noticed the size is now ten times larger than that very small spot.
I began to look into the available options. I went to the doctor and have done an internet consultation with Dr. Vaibhish, he advised me to wait and my hair will regrow, which is completely normal, but when I told him that I can’t just wait and I’m worried, only then he prescribed me some multivitamins for hair, ointment, Regrowth spray, and told me to add good meals to my menu as well.
Within a month, I began to notice white snowy very thin hairs coming out from all over the spot, and that day was the most important day of my life; I slept well and had red wine with chicken wings.
Some of my new hair is now turning black and is about 1.5 inches long.
If you have alopecia, I hope you get to see it this day.
Thanks so much for your comment and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply – I had my first baby a couple of months ago so I’m just catching up now! Yes, those white vellus hairs are a totally normal sign. And you’re right to avoid any harsh chemicals or dyes on them, that will encourage them to grow thicker and stronger and (hopefully!) develop into terminal hairs before long.
I’m so sorry to hear about the development of your alopecia in the first place…it is such a frustrating and scary thing! Your consultant was right in some ways. Often the hair will regrow without treatment but in many cases, changes to lifestyle and diet (like reducing inflammatory foods) might be necessary, too. I talk more about that in my post on nutrition. But of course by all means, enjoy that red wine and chicken wings at times too! It’s all about balance, right?! 😉
I hope you continue to see great results and have a lovely day.
I have had alopecia areata for 20 years. It was super aggressive and left me no option but to shave it because of the massive amount of hair loss that occurred in a few weeks. So I just got used to shaving my head everyday and after fretting about the condition and keeping track of the patches (hair would regrow and fall out in different areas) I finally just stopped paying attention to it and simply got in a routine of shaving it every morning.
Just this year I let it grow out a little and I realized that I had regrowth pretty much everywhere. All of the regrowth was white vellus hair. I didn’t realize that there was hair growing back because of how thin and white they were, it was almost invisible until I grew it out. Hopefully the hair will become terminal and match my normal color (black).
So after 20 years of not having hair, It has finally returned (for now). I haven’t had hair for so long, that I forgot what it was like.
I don’t want to get too attached to it because I imagine it could fall out again, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.
By the way, I really like your attitude. You are so positive.
Thanks so much for sharing your story and I’m really sorry for the late reply. I’m a new mum so I’ve been taking a little break for the first few months of my daughter’s life! Thank you for your patience. 🙂
Good on you for learning to cope with your alopecia. It’s strange isn’t it, how quickly shaving your head can become part of your morning routine? I found that my morning wig-wearing ritual was soon replaced by the shaving head thing; now it’s clipping together my few remaining strands into a mohawk…that’s my ‘new normal’! 😉
It’s amazing to hear also, that not giving it so much power or headspace has helped it grow back! It’s such a good sign and even if the vellus hair doesn’t stick around (as it can come and go before changing to terminal hair), at least you know it CAN grow back. SO keep doing whatever you’re doing!! Great attitude to not get too attached to it…that more flexible mindset seems to be doing you good and will serve you well throughout this journey!
Thanks for your kind words, also…it did take me a while to reach this place and some days aren’t so easy. But I think keeping a positive attitude is the best thing we can do for our physical and mental health! And it helps to connect with other people who feel the same. So thanks again for reaching out, much appreciated!
All the very best to you, and take good care,
Words cannot express the joy I felt when I stumbled across your page… both tears, excitement and the hope that maybe you can give me some clarity as a mother who is in need of support.
In May of 2020 my then 6 year old looked to have a small patch of hair missing from her eyebrow. I honestly thought she shaved it off with a razor? I dismissed it and we went about the summer, but as the months went on, more hair disappeared and the worry set in.
I took her to her Pediatrician to see what he thought and he dismissed to a nervous tick. Which I told him I have never seen her pulling her hair. During this time we were out of school from March 2020 to SEPT 2020 (hair started falling out in May 2020)… School starts and more hair is gone, November of 2020 she broke her wrist on the playground, December of 2020 I got COVID and by February of 2021 all of her eyebrow was completely gone just a small patch on the end was left and a small patch in the front but the rest in the middle gone… buy this time I no longer thought it was a nervous tick. Her Pediatrician then referred her to a dermatologist and there I was told AA which is a form of AI… and my heart sank…. Creams where given, and nothing happened more creams were given and nothing and more creams… I started researching my own, looked into eyebrow serum, diet, castor oil…. And as of now we are at a point of blonde/white hairs growing. After readying your article I was happy to know it’s a good sign. I don’t see any exclamations, she does have pit nails and has of now the hair loss is only her right eyebrow.. no where else. Her fingernails grow super fast and long and she has beautiful silky brown hair… I am soooooo afraid that it will spread and it’s just a matter of time.. I am really working on her gut health, sleeping and we meditate together… and Lord knows I pray… with it being over a year now is it common for it to grow back this slowly?
Thank you for listening to me and congratulations on your new baby… a mother’s love is like no other.
Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your experience. And I’m truly sorry for the MASSIVE delay…I normally try to write back quickly but my baby girl (Sunny) arrived safely 10 weeks ago so I’ve taken a little break!
Anyway, thanks for your patience. And for your lovely feedback too, I so appreciate everything you said – it’s the reason I set up LA, to be the site I never had!
It’s so hard to watch your hair fall out but (I can only imagine), several times harder to watch it in your child. This is already something I’m thinking about when I look at my Sunny, whose eyebrows still haven’t appeared, and I wonder how she will cope if she gets alopecia too. So I feel for you, and your daughter! It’s also so frustrating to be dismissed in this way by her paediatrician, I’m sorry you had that experience. And it sounds like you had a very tough year, especially with COVID affecting you. Hope you’re ok now.
It is scary to see so much disappear so fast…same happened to me with my AA and like your daughter, one of my eyebrows has also disappeared recently…but the good news is, this doesn’t mean it’s permanent. I’m so glad to hear you’re trying more holistic things as those steroid creams/injections can be pretty toxic and anyway, don’t offer a more long-term strategy but a ‘quick fix’ that could do more harm than good. Yes, the white hairs are a good sign…keep rubbing those oils in and doing whatever diet adjustments you’ve made!
The growth rate changes depending on that person’s hair growth cycle and what stage they were at when the alopecia started. But to give you an example, telogen effluvium (shedding of the hair all over the head) can take up to 9 months to regrow. Please bear in mind though that just because she has a patch and the right eyebrow gone, that doesn’t mean it’ll spread further. Anxiety may contribute to it though so keep up that meditation, try to get on with your lives (easier said than done, I know!) and it may come back all by itself when things have settled down a bit. I’ve noticed my own alopecia is even affected by the seasons so roll on summer!
If you’re interested, you could perhaps check out my guide for parents of young kids with alopecia – it includes some extra information and tips that you mightn’t find elsewhere on my site. And I hope you track down those papaya leaves!!
Thanks so much again for sharing your story and lots of love to you and your daughter.
Emma / Lady Alopecia xxx
After a horrible breakup I noticed a penny size spot in my beard 2 years ago. I was also drinking a lot of alcohol, pop, energy drinks, eating badly and never had nicotine in my body but for some reason around that time I started doing spitless tobacco pouches. Since then it has spread and my whole jaw/chin area is missing most of its hair. In the last 3 weeks I have mostly ate vegan and only drink water now and I have finally shown some of my real hair come back along with a ton of longer white hairs. This is the first time in 2 years I have had hope. I have always had a beard and I covered it up with topik hair fibers until it got too big. This is extremely hard on you emotionally and mentally and I think nothing works for everyone you just got to find what works for you as a individual.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and I’m so sorry to hear about the alopecia in your beard. But isn’t the body just amazing – and how it can react so quickly/positively to those dietary changes you’ve made?! Well done, you…it doesn’t sound like an easy transition but I’m so glad for you that it’s paying off. Please check out my post on nutrition for hair loss if you need any further tips! I know how tough alopecia is to go through, emotionally and mentally (as you mentioned) and you’re right, you just have to find what works for you and to let go of any expectations if you can. It’ll come back when it’s ready and if not…that’s ok, too!
Take good care, and wishing you all the very best,
Emma / Lady Alopecia.
My 14 yr old daughter has been completely bald with 2-3 quarter-size spots for about a year. She is starting to get some vellis hair all over her scalp. Does this mean she could grow her hair back??
Hi Stephanie, thanks for your question. And I’m really sorry to hear about your daughter’s alopecia areata – never an easy time to get it, but particularly in those teenage years! The good news is, alopecia isn’t always permanent. A lot of the time the hair will grow back by itself, even without treatment. Having said that, please have a click around my site to find ways you can support regrowth, such as these homemade treatments, these natural oils and these nutrition tips. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a definitive answer as we’re all different (and the factors triggering hair loss may differ, too). But the short answer is yes, it’s very possible that she could grow her hair back fully! Now, that’s not to say it may not come out again but with a healthy lifestyle, keeping stress to a minimum and doing whatever you’re doing now that’s bringing vellus hair back (a good sign!) I would hope for a positive outcome.
Hope that helps!
Emma / Lady Alopecia 🙂
I started to have alopecia areata about a year and a half ago. My hair grew back and then I had one spot appear on the top of my head. During lockdown I wasn’t able to go in for the cortisone shots, and it ended up spreading. I live in NYC and went to Columbia University, who has conducted research on AA. If you’ve been flowing the research on AA i’m sure you’ve come across JAK inhibitors and how they’re supposed to be the new thing for treatment. I’m sure you’ve also heard how much it costs, 60-100k a year. I was fighting with my insurance company to get on it, but I found a company out of Bangladesh named Beacon that has a generic version of Xeljanz. It’s only 400 dollars or so with shipping for a year supply. You have to wire them the money, which I was a little scared about, but they came through and got it to me in less than two weeks. I just wanted to throw that out there in case it helps anyone out there struggling with this like I have been.
Thanks for the information. Personally, I don’t think there’s enough information/research available at present on how JAK inhibitors can specifically help hair loss – the trials have all been quite small so far so until there is more concrete evidence out there (proven across a large sample), I’d recommend people exercise caution.
From my own experience, I had been interested in JAK inhibitors in the past…in fact, I remember years back writing to the University of Chicago when they were testing Ruxolitinib and asking if I could be part of their clinical trial (I didn’t hear back.) But I think it’s still quite early days for JAK inhibitors in general though, even earlier for how they might help humans (not just animals) with hair loss.
Also, I’m wary of any sort of immunosuppressants that could mean a) have long-term damage to the immune system or b) adverse short term effects (severe headaches, infections etc). That’s why I don’t write about minoxidil or corticosteroid injections…they can be temporarily effective but in my experience, are dangerous in the long run. I think it’s perhaps better to use a more holistic approach until more is known about this treatment (which I’m definitely not writing off, results look promising…but I wouldn’t go out spending lots of money just yet). Thanks for mentioning the brand, I’d be a little wary of anything that mightn’t be FDA-approved and a copy that’s so much cheaper than the ‘real’ thing…but hey, if it works for you and if you’re happy with it, that’s great!
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Just curious about JAK inhibitors. I live in India and I can arrange for them easily I hope. I am having a growing patch in my beard off late, and taking some ayurvedic treatment. Do these inhibitors really work in your case. I guess these are some tablets u take daily. what is your experience with them.
Firstly can I say how fantastic this blog is. It was roughly 5 weeks ago when I noticed a small bald patch in my hair, spoke to my doctor who believes it is alopecia. They didn’t really give me a great deal of information except the hair grows back so try not to worry. It’s had such a detrimental effect on my mental health, but having read the information on your website, I feel so much better, so thank you so much 🙂
I found myself dreading washing my hair and then inspecting almost every inch of my scalp.
I have noticed the vellus hair growing now, with some white hairs growing in there too – hilariously told my husband I would have that X men rogue look so loved your comment about this too!
Hopefully I’m on the road to hair regrowth, but I think I will definitely consider using coconut oil on my scalp too.
If/when I have another episode I feel I’ll know the signs and be so much better equipped, especially after reading all your fantastic advice.
Thanks so so much for your lovely feedback – I really appreciate it! It’s the reason I set up Lady Alopecia, to hopefully offer the kind of support that those GPs and dermatologists don’t always provide. I was pretty much told the same thing, back when I was 11, and it definitely didn’t support my own mental health either! But I’ve found that mindfulness and yoga has been a lifesaver for me in this journey of acceptance, if you’re ever interested in exploring this further, check out the Yoga for Alopecia course I designed last year. Or read about how it went here…
I’m very glad to hear that even this post has helped you feel better though, that’s great! Please feel free to join my monthly newsletter also, if you like, to keep up with my latest posts. It’s so great to hear about your vellus hair (Rogue twins!!) and yes, hopefully that’s the road to regrowth for you. Yes, coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint oil would make a great scalp massage for you. Try not to stress about the amount of/lack of regrowth as you go along as that can actually be quite a stressful thing (as I’ve found). I know it’s tempting to keep checking those signs but try not to get disheartened if they’re not always there.
Anyway, I really appreciate your lovely words and wishing you all the very best!
Emma / Lady Alopecia x
I’m 47 and in roughly 2 months I went from having long hugh grant hair from the 90s because of quarantine to sinead oconnor – just shaved my head last week as the handful of hair in the shower every other day wasn’t helping my mental state. My beard was the first to go 6mo ago and its starting to come back white so I feel thats encouraging for my head. Do you feel the majority of AA have a one time loss then go back to their old hair or is it more common to have a constant battle? Great blog btw!
Hi Paul, thanks for your question and I’m so glad you like my site! I’m really sorry to hear about your recent hair loss – as you can see from this post on COVID hair loss, more and more people than ever are experiencing it in the wake of the pandemic. But luckily, that doesn’t mean it’s permanent! May I ask is it bald patches you’re getting or is it that you’re noticing more hair shedding than normal? I only ask because is if it’s the later, that sounds like telogen effluvium, which is what many people are seeing this year. However, I’m also getting lots of emails/comments from people with AA for the first time so you wouldn’t be alone in that either!
May I just applaud you for your bravery?? It’s great to take control and make that decision to shave your head. I know it must’ve been easy – I’ve been there! – but I also remember the liberation I felt after doing something, rather than feeling alopecia was taking over my life. And yes, it’s good news that your beard is filling in again…it shows you’re back in that growth phase of the hair cycle…and I’m sure you’ll see the same with your hair, too. You can encourage it along, if you like, by trying out some of these natural oils or these home remedies that I mention. Also please take a look at my post on nutrition, as inflammation can be one of the biggest triggers of hair loss (especially after this stressful year) and you can lower that inflammation through your diet and possibly supplements if you need them.
Regarding your specific question, I’m afraid I can’t give you a clear answer…we’re all different, and alopecia affects us differently, so what’s been my experience may not be yours. I’ve had it on and off for years and years; and although I haven’t seen much new hair growing recently (it comes and goes), I haven’t had any shedding, either. It seems to be ‘stable’, but as you’ll see from my site, that means I still can’t grow my sides in! Other people will get it once and then fully recover within 6 months…but if it’s AA, that is an autoimmune condition, which indicates it might come back in response to a trigger. For me, it’s been an ongoing thing (and I’m afraid I do think that’s the majority, though I can’t say for certain). Also as we get older, our hormones change and we simply won’t be able to produce hair like we used to. But that’s not to say your hair won’t come back now, or that you can’t take action to prevent it shedding in the future! I hope the posts I’ve linked to help you out with that.
Thanks again, Paul. And all the very best. 🙂
Bald patches – circles that have spread — went to the dermo back in December and diagnosed as AA. I am starting to notice my eye lashes falling out and my one eyebrow looks thin. My wife has celiac so I tend to eat less gluten than normal except when I am at work for lunch but maybe I will look to reduce that and pick up supplements.
I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s never an easy thing to experience, especially when it seems to be happening quite quickly…although great that you can keep down inflammation by avoiding gluten, check out this post on nutrition for a few extra tips (it mentions supplements, too). Since your alopecia is quite recent, this one on COVID and hair loss might be of interest, too.
Wishing you all the very best, and take care!!
I’m getting fuzzy white hair and encouraged by the growth 🙂 Looking a bit Dennis Rodman with the dark and white hair patches but any hair is good hair at this point. I am going to wait a few more months and see how things progress but curious if there are hair dyes you have used to blend things to one color so it doesn’t look so odd? I am going to hold out on doing any kind of dye for a few more months as I don’t want to damage anything or slow the growth. #rockingahatlookforabitlonger
Hi Paul, thanks for your question – and great to hear that you’re experiencing regrowth! 🙂 I think you’re right to wait a little bit to avoid any damage but if there are special occasions or something where you’d like to have a bit of concealing spray/colour, I’d recommend Toppik fibres or this root cover-up spray from L’Oreal…it’s what I used, not to cover up grey hairs (although that’s what it’s really designed for) but to spray directly on my bald patches…they helped them blend in a lot more!
I wouldn’t recommend using it all the time due to all the chemicals involved, but have a look at this post I wrote on alopecia concealers/dyes for more info! Hope that helps. 🙂
I’ve had alopecia aerta since I was in middle school, and it first started as a small path. Then later grew larger over time because I wore hairstyles that added more stress on my hair. At the time, I knew nothing of it, and I got injections in my scalp, and nothing worked. I’m in my 30’s now, and mine has spread all over. I’m currently trying rice water spray, and I made my own concoction with sulfate 8, monistant, doo gro, and jojoba oil. I’m hoping this helps.
I’m really sorry to hear that, and thank you for sharing your story! It seems very very similar to my own experience, and I know how frustrating it is to a) get it so young and then b) lose so much of it after trying lots of treatments. I totally applaud your decision to try more natural things and would like to recommend this post on household remedies and this post on different oils if you want to find out more! But it sounds like what you’re doing is great. Good luck! 🙂
Just found this page after weeks of research, good to hear so many different situations and know we’re not alone and my heart goes out to anyone with alopecia My son who is 14 has had alopecia for about 6 weeks. We noticed a spot about the size of a 50p after a hair cut, also his head was shaved tight at the back and you could see very small spots (about 14) some smaller than a 5p coin. The larger spot at the top seems to be staying the same and smaller ones at the back of the head are more noticeable due to hair growth in non contact areas. Currently he has about 22 spots (mostly at the back or side of his head) some very small which will be covered soon with his hair getting longer. Is it common to have so much small spots? And is this a sign of worse to come or are chances of regrowth better due to small spots? Finally what advice would you give. My son is a very active sporting outgoing teenager and this has knocked him for six. Myself and his mother are worried sick about him. Thanks
Thank you so much, Philip, for your input and feedback! I’m really sorry to hear about your son’s hair loss. I first got AA when I was 11 so I know how difficult it is to be a teenager trying to hide bald spots! I had less of them and they were quite large but alopecia areata can take many forms and affect people differently. Does he still have full eyebrows and eyelashes or is the hair loss solely on his head?
I know how difficult this is, especially for young people. And in fact, I’m writing a series of “Quick Guides” for just this reason…one for parents of young kids with alopecia, one for teenagers and so on. Feel free to join my free newsletter to hear more about these when they’re ready. But in the meantime, a few tips would be: have a look at this natural remedies post to see some things you could try at home, or ask him to do a nightly scalp massage with coconut oil and a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil. Please please avoid things like minoxidil (rogaine), steroid creams or injections as these can have extremely toxic effects, especially in someone so young.
Is there any chance you could persuade him to try some meditation? He might be adverse to it but grounding, calming activities like this are important for reducing chronic stress and inflammation that could be present in the body. Sports are great but if they’re highly active, cortisol fuelled activities, he needs something to calm him down, too. Also, how is his diet? Because if he eats a lot of wheat, or dairy, or sugar/processed foods…these things can be extremely inflammatory for lots of people with autoimmune issues so check out an AIP diet that he could even try for a month to see if that helps. I talk more about nutrition in this post.
Above all, try not to worry…easier said than done, I know! But a lot of the time, hair will return independently, without any treatment. It could be changing hormones having this effect, which won’t last forever. And please let him know he can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) any time he might need support!
Wishing you and your family all the very best,
Emma, thanks for reply. Currently the hair loss is only on the head and back of the neck, between 15-20%. I noted you mentioned hormonal change. Currently his body is changing at a very fast rate. He has put on about 6” in the last 4 months and is filling out. I’m going to try the onion oil recommended and hopefully we will see avoid results.
No problem at all. In his case, I would say it’s most likely related to hormones, especially considering the other physical changes you mentioned. Hormone imbalances are one of the major factors in hair loss and I’ve learned this about myself recently, when I got my own hormone levels tested and saw I’m extremely low in progesterone (so I’m taking a bio-identical cream for that). Maybe you could get his hormones tested or simply wait it out until he’s through this transitional phase and hopefully the hair will come back all by itself.
In the meantime, try to minimise stress as best you can, make sure he’s not having too many inflammatory foods (wheat, sugar, processed foods) and good luck with the onion juice, too!
All the best to you both,
How often would you advise we apply the onion oil?
Every night if possible. Massage it into the scalp and leave it in for up to 30 minutes if possible…rinse with cool water. 🙂
Hey It’s Steve. It’s been about 1 month and a half where I noticed a spot on my scalp. Just recently I took a picture with flashlight by accident and realise there’s white thin hair growing out of my spot. However when I ask my mother she says it’s just skin and I was just wondering could you see white hair through a normal photo or a flashlight photo. If I am mistaking it for my actual skin or I truly have white hair growing out. Love this article it’s truly made me think of AA from a different perspective
Hi Steve, thanks for writing in! I’m afraid it’d be hard for me to tell without seeing a photo of your particular case – if you like, you’re welcome to email me: email@example.com.
Otherwise, yes it’s very possible it’s actual hair. It could be that thin white vellus hair I mention in this article, which sometimes will progress to thicker terminal hair (and regain its natural colour), sometimes will disappear again. If you have noticed it (and you should probably feel a little fuzz there, too), keep doing whatever you’re doing – it seems to be working!
Thanks for your kind feedback about this post and feel free to have a click around the site for more info! You might be interested in some of these natural remedies you can try (onion juice is particularly effective, as is peppermint essential oil) for boosting that regrowth.
All the best,
Hi lady alopecia my name is Adele I’ve been losing a lot of hair since December of last year my friend passed away from covid i mean my hair since I got older did get thinner but omg I’m a wreck I’ve been losing alot of hair its so thin on the top more then ever I had covid myself but just suffered a headache I have an appointment with a skin doctor just for hair but not until September so I used the keretein shampoo and conditioner and just the 2% moneocicl tonight cuz I’m so desperate but now I’m hearing all the negativity about it I’m thinking of just using the shampoo and conditioner but my appointment can’t come quick enough for me I don’t know what to do maybe you can give me some advice on what to do I would really appreciate it thank you I’ll send u a picture
Thanks so much for sharing your story – and I’m truly, very sorry about your friend. My thoughts are with you. And it’s no wonder you’re experiencing hair loss as a result…as you’ll see in this post I wrote, hair loss rates have spiked in the past year due to the stress around the pandemic, and with the trauma of losing your friend also, the body can have a very physical response. (Incidentally, my own hair loss started when I was 11, just after losing my mum).
From the COVID post I wrote too, you’ll see how having the virus itself can lead to additional side effects (like hair loss) but often this is more like telogen effluvium: rapid shedding and thinning of hair rather than actual bald patches. The good news is that this typically resolves all by itself, at the next round of the hair growth cycle (though that could be between 6-9 months). My advice is stick to quite natural shampoos and conditioners (yes, keratin is good, also I recommend Revita and Pura D’Or, see the linked posts I’ve written about them too). Please avoid minoxidil at all costs!! Honestly, it is seen as just a ‘quick fix’ (it often doesn’t work anyway) and can just do damage to your immune system in the long run.
For now, stick to natural treatments like these home remedies I’ve suggested and these natural oils, which you can massage into your scalp every night. Try to reduce inflammation in your diet with the tips I outline in this post and consider taking up a stress-reducing practice, like gentle yoga or meditation, to help you manage any anxiety.
I hope that helps, Adele! I know it’s easier said than done but try not to worry. Most likely the hair will return by itself within a few months. Your job is to minimise stress, eat healthily and get plenty of sleep – plus exercise – to support its natural growth cycle.
Wishing you all the very best,
Emma / Lady Alopecia x
Thank you this is very comforting reading comments from similar women and men suffering from hair loss makes one not feel alone.I have a success story that I would like to share. I have always had long thick hair and never even knew that this is something that could happen to me. It happened to me around 7 months ago. I noticed at night when I lay my head on a pillow I would feel intense heat and a prickly feeling on a certain spot on my scalp. This kept on going for like a week or two and before I knew it my husband pointed out a bold spot surfacing on my head. To my surprise it started to spread and instead of one I had two! I knew I had to do something real quick! I read about it and figured I probably have aloepocia. I starting spraying onion water (not juice) with few drops of lavender, peppermint and rosemary essential oil on a daily basis to my scalp. I would then cover my head with a shower cap (to lock in the moisture) and wrap my head with another layer of scarf. I then used my body massager to massage my scalp, around the nape of my neck and shoulder blades..I massaged my scalp and neck every morning and evening. This worked like magic! Within a few weeks I saw white strands and then noticed blacks tuffts of hair growing around my bald spots. Now 4 months later my bold spots are completely covered. Not to forget my hair became even longer than before! I understand that aloepocia can rear its ugly head again. Hence I still continue to use the onion water every now and then as a protective measure and have changed my diet.
Thank you for taking the time to write in and share your story – I really appreciate it and I’m glad that reading other people’s experiences is helping you, too. That’s my reason for being here! 🙂 You’re very kind to share your success also, and well done you for sticking with it! It can be very hard to be consistent with these things but I couldn’t agree more, essential oils like you mentioned are amazing for boosting growth if applied daily: I even have a dedicated post to peppermint oil! May I ask, what’s the difference between onion water and onion juice? As I’ve applied juice before and also just rubbed the raw onion on my patches, which definitely made a difference. I mention it in my natural remedies post but very curious about the onion water aspect now! Like you say, I got that prickly feeling from rubbing the raw onion on and would see redness in my patches, a sign of blood circulation I guess!
Great, great idea about the body massager too! All these treatments are so much more effective if applied this way as a scalp massage will boost the circulation further. I try and get indian head massages when I can but self-massage is much more practical (and cheaper)…what massager do you use, if I may ask? I would like to try this too!
So great to hear about your experience and that you managed to treat yourself. Well done, you! And good call on taking the preventative measures, that is important to stop it sneaking back. I’d been off gluten, dairy, eggs, suger and other inflammatory foods for a while but have “fallen off the wagon” a little this month…as a result i’ve been losing my eyebrow. 🙁 But I’ll be stricter again after Christmas!! Anyway, I so appreciate you, dear Elly. Thank you again – and take care!!
Emma (Lady Alopecia)
This is a great post. My 6 year old girl has lost over 50% of her hair and is currently undergoing treatment to stimulate regrowth but no success yet. She does have a lot of vellus hair but no regrowth yet (it’s been about 6 months since this episode started). She used to get steroid injections that did work but of course it’s very painful. She is a trooper and owns her condition and for a 6 year old is amazing at educating other on her condition when they ask and always end with “and that’s my thing and everyone has a thing”.
Thanks for your lovely feedback and I’m really sorry to hear about your daughter…but WOW what a trooper she is!! So amazing to have that attitude at such a young age, I love that comeback she has for people! I wonder if I could possibly quote her in a guide for parents of kids with alopecia (I’m in the process of writing it now)?! Obviously I would keep her name anonymous, but if I could perhaps use her initial and age? Anyway, thank you again for writing in and fingers crossed that vellus hair starts to darken and thicken!! Perhaps rub a peppermint oil/coconut oil mix into the scalp once or twice a week, or fresh aloe vera, to move things along. 🙂
Have a wonderful Christmas.
She would love that. You can use her first name “Aria” if you like. She is a trouper. Unfortunately things progressed really fast. She finally had a reaction to the dcpc treatment but shes lost about 80% of her hair. With that said shes still the happy little girl she always is.
Thank you so much Steve, I’ll add both of your names if that’s ok then! I’m so sorry to hear about Aria’s progressed hair loss. Hopefully the treatment will kick it back into the anagen phase soon and she’ll start seeing regrowth. In the meantime, I’m so glad she’s staying happy and positive, it sounds like she’s a very special girl!! I’ll send out a link to the guide in my next newsletter. 🙂
All the very best to you both!
Hi, i m Zoheb for three month i m suffering from alopecia areata, i started taking R89 twice and using jaborandi mother tincture, after a month i recognize white hairs started growing in my patches, i was confused why white hairs r growing, so i google it and found your article here, and your articles r very much helpful to me, once again Thank u, love from India
Hi Zoheb, thanks for your message – and I’m very sorry to hear about your AA. Although I’m glad to hear you’re seeing regrowth and also that you’ve found this post helpful! I really appreciate your feedback and wish you all the very best.
Yeah, my hair recently started growing back! Its been very very veeery slow going. I took a picture every week or so, one of the patches has filled in and another is still in the process. But its an incredibly slow process.
So great to hear your hair is growing back, Aiden! Are you trying any particular treatment for it now? Great idea to take photos too, I try to but I often forget a few months at a time. It’s a great motivator though – I look back on a photo from January, when I’d pretty much nothing, and can see such a difference now in terms of growth. It keeps me on track with my AIP diet and supplements, as well as keeping up with treatments like Revita and my natural oils! I know it can be frustrating when it’s slow…but it sounds like it’s coming in for you so that’s great. Keep doing whatever you’re doing! 🙂
My self manjula .my doughter now 6 years old. Last 6 month she suffering from alopecia areata . She have 3patches on head. Dhermologist suggested some ointment and tablet. But hair growing litte bit on paches. But new patches started . So getting tension . Kindly suggest what is best treatment
Hi Manjula, I’m sorry for the late reply and also very sorry to hear about your daughter’s alopecia. I know it is a very stressful time for you both, but please know that alopecia usually isn’t permanent and plenty of the time, the hair returns without treatment. It’s a good sign that it is growing back in the patches! I would say avoid anything with too heavy chemicals (I really do not advise steroid creams like minoxidil as they can have negative effects on the immune system). If you do want to try treatments, please read my post on natural remedies, that’s what I’d advise as your daughter is so young.
Oils like coconut oil, peppermint and rosemary essential oil, sesame oil, castor and argan…these are all great for cleaning the scalp and promoting hair growth. Also make sure she keeps inflammation down in her diet (not much sugar, wheat or dairy) and see if you can reduce stress however you can. Let her know that it won’t be around forever and that she is beautiful exactly as she is!!
I wish you all the very best xx
hi LA this site is super helpful just wanted to know about the rash at the bas of my scalp i have it too and my nails are pitted too but i have grown most of my hair back but it’s so on and off i mean i’m stable for a year then there’s a relapse and so forth please let me know of the rash thing does it mean it’s still gonna attack my hair?
Hi Riddhi, thanks for your question and I’m glad you like the site! Unfortunately, yes, that rash usually does mean there’s inflammation going on and that your immune system might be under attack still. But there are ways you can bring down this inflammation…one is through fresh aloe vera, which I talk about here and another is with your nutrition, check out this post for more. I’ve really noticed that when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me or when I’m feeling stressed (even after too much high-impact exercise) the rash flares up…it’s like my indication that something’s wrong and I need to assess what it is!
Try to see it maybe as a helpful thing rather than a bad sign…easier said than done, I know!! I really hope that helps, or that you find some further advice in those posts I shared. Activities like gentle yoga and meditation are also great for reducing this inflammation, too. 🙂 Wishing you all the very best and please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like any more tips.
Hi thank God for this blog. Helps me so much. I am 36 years old from south india, having long thick black hair, unfortunately, i was affected by alopecia areata for the past 4 months. Four bald patches. Undergoing homeopathic treatment and it helps well. Jaborandi tincture helps in regrow hair but now i am having vellus hair only on the patches.will it regain its colour and texture, will I get more patches??? Waiting for your reply.
Hi Irene, thanks so much for your comment – and I’m really sorry to hear about your AA. Glad to hear the homeopathic treatment is helping though, that’s wonderful! So vellus hairs are a good sign, it shows the follicles are still active. Unfortunately, vellus hair can sometimes disappear though – it doesn’t always turn into thicker, terminal hair. If it does though, and if you keep doing what you’re doing, that white hair should regain its colour and texture again! And if you can keep inflammation down in your body and a healthy scalp environment, hopefully you won’t experience more bald patches. But of course, alopecia can be triggered by lots of different things, so unfortunately there is no real way to know for sure. It does sound like you’re on the right track though so keep positive and have a look through this site for further information!
I hope that helps. Wishing you all the very best x
Thank you so much for this site. There’s really not enough helpful content like this out there.
I’ve been dealing with alopecia areata for about 2 yrs now (started in my mid 30s). After a series of stressful life events I had an intense allergic reaction which seemed to be too much for my immune system. My partner noticed my first spot a few weeks after that.
It didn’t bother me too much at first, it was maybe the size of a thumbprint but slowly grew and then I noticed a second almost a year later. I decided to seek medical help and that’s where things, for me, went sideways. Over the course of 6 months I had approx 5 sessions of steroid injections into my scalp. While I would start growing a small tuft in the centre of my spots, it seemed that two more spots would appear after each session.
I was then given a prescription for clobex and over the course of trying it for two weeks lost my hair in clumps and handfuls. It was then (and before Covid got to pandemic/quarantine/lockdown status) that I was given prednisone and told it might be the reset my immune system needed. I was in the tapering phase when things shut down here and was scared (for those who don’t know, prednisone is a steroid that works by suppressing your immune system; not how you want to enter a global pandemic) enough to decide that I would take a completely different and natural approach to resetting my immune system and trying to retrigger my hair growth.
Because of the pandemic and wanting to get my immune system back in tip top shape, I researched all the best natural ways I could do it (this was my own research and My own conclusion and not meant as medical advice for anyone else). I started by taking high dose probiotics, anti-inflammatory diet, propolis and bee pollen every day. Topically, I started dermarolling my scalp twice a week and massaging it with my own combo of aloe juice, castor oil, argan oil, and essentials (peppermint, lavender, rosemary and cedar wood).
Four months ago I had lost close to 60% of the hair on my head and my bald spots were baby smooth. I no longer have a single bald, baby smooth spot on my head; it’s sparse and still filling in daily in colour and volume but it’s coming in. I look like I have the hair of a baby but it’s better than nothing and heard in the right direction.
Thank you Lady Alopecia and everyone else that has posted! It has helped a lot to read your stories.
Also…have any of you been having success with dermarolling as well? (I’d seen an advertisement for fellows going bald and, even though it’s not for the same type of hair loss, decided to give it a try).
Thank you so, so much for sharing your experience with us! And so wonderful that the natural approach is working for you. I was going to say, I’d highly advice against immune suppressants and those steroid injections, so I’m really glad you’re seeing success with a more holistic strategy.
I totally agree about the anti-inflammatory diet thing, especially having foods like ginger and fresh turmeric in there. I also love using natural oils (if you’ve read my post on that) and actually, since using a mix of castor oil and peppermint essential oil on my eyebrow (which had half disappeared) I’ve seen regrowth in just 2 weeks! 🙂
Really great to hear such a positive story and such hopeful results. I haven’t done dermarolling before (I was told my patches were too extensive for it to work) but it’s great that it’s helped you!
Wishing you all the very best, and stay well!
Hi there. I’ve been suffering from hair loss on and off. Recently my whole scalp tingled like it was on fire. I was itching and stractching like crazy. Then the head shed started. Was hair on hairs. It was horrible. And then I notice a small bullet shaped hole on my hairline. Like a catipillar bite. It’s been driving me crazy for a while. Even my eyebrows thinned out. My eyebrows seem thicker now. But this weird hole on my hairline is upsetting me. I see some grey, very thin but longish vellus hairs around the chewed out region and I see plenty of other vellus regrowth but it’s still so thin. I don’t know what to do. It’s annoying, upsetting and I hope it regrows.
Hi Aiden, thanks for writing in! And I’m really sorry to hear about your hair loss, especially as it’s causing you such pain and discomfort. Have you gone to see anyone about it? Also, when you say “hole” do you mean it’s like a patch, or a bald spot? The vellus hairs are a good sign, they will be thin at first but give them time and they’ll thicken! In the meantime, I’d recommend using a natural treatment to stimulate circulation. One treatment is simply to rub a red onion on the patch every night before you go to bed, as the juice is great for boosting circulation…raw ginger is very good, too! I also really recommend peppermint essential oil but you’ll need to mix it with a carrier, like castor – check out this post on my favourite natural oils for hair growth for further ideas. If you still notice inflammation and irritation on your scalp, fresh aloe vera is wonderful, too. Keep it in your fridge and apply the cool gel to the entire scalp when it feels aggravated.
I hope that helps, Aiden! Wishing you all the best.
Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I’ve been suffering from alopecia areata for 5 years and I am now 20. There are times when I’ve lost big patches from my scalp but it all grew back healthy, however since March time I lost a big patch round my side burn area and its been around 4 month and i’m not really seeing any hair growth. I am getting concerned that it will never grow back, what are your opinions on this? Whats the longest you have waited for even the slightest of hair regrowth and what home remedies do you feel are the most effective for you.
Thanks for getting in touch and it’s great to hear you’re enjoying my articles. I’m so sorry to hear about your AA, it’s so hard to go through at any time, let alone to get it in your teens. Try not to worry though, it’s very rarely permanent and those follicles that are under your bigger patch are not dead entirely…they’re just in an extended “telogen” or resting phase. That’s the good news! The less good news is that this resting phase can sometimes go on for months, if not years – in my case, I think the longest I’ve gone is about 3 years with no regrowth (or sometimes, fuzzy white vellus hairs would come back only to fall out again). I really recommend a mix of coconut oil and peppermint oil to stimulate circulation (check out this post and the links within it). Rubbing a raw onion or blended onion juice (preferably red as it’s juicier) on the patch every night is also really effective…it smells, but it’s worth it! And if you haven’t looked at the nutrition tips/AIP approach I talk about in this post, maybe that’s something you can consider too.
I know it’s easier said than done but really, try not to stress about it. The hair will grow back when it’s ready…it may take some time but with a couple of routines like I mention about and maybe some lifestyle/nutrition changes, you may see a difference sooner than you think. I wish you all the very best!! 🙂
Hi! I love all your info LA!!! <3 it has been helpful and encouraging. I have Alopecia Areata and losing all around my head (like a headband) my front is fading too (crown is still "thick") I have vellus hairs on my forehead along my hairline (I know they are on my face too) is that a good sign? Like its not "naked"
All of this is overwhelming and so new – Im 3 1/2 months into the obvious to me onset of this. 🙁
Hi, thanks so much for your feedback – I really appreciate it and I’m so glad you’ve found the site to he helpful. Sounds like you have a similar AA to what I first had, it started around my temples and the nape of my neck, too. It is a good sign that you have those vellus hairs, indicating you’re not just in the “telogen” (resting) phase. Even better if those vellus hairs get darker and thicker to form “terminal” hairs – that’s when you know you’re back to the anagen phase for sure! The fuzz is definitely a good sign but note, it doesn’t always stick around. It might come and go but rest assured, AA usually isn’t permanent. I find that keeping track of my hair growth and maybe my activities/diet (in a kind of journal) is very useful to see what might be working/what isn’t. Have a look around the site for nutrition tips and a few natural remediest you can use in the meantime to encourage growth! 🙂
You’re welcome to get in touch any time you have questions (I know how scary it can be!!) and also to join my mailing list to stay up to date with my latest posts!
Wishing you all the very best xxx
Just wanted to chime in and say that after being desperate for a solution since I didn’t have access to a Derm, I stumbled upon the AIP diet. Got rid of nearly all the food in my apartment (all dairy, eggs, nuts, ..) and started eating only meat, spinach, and carrots. Mind you, I has been used to being bald and not seeing my hair for a bit over decade. It’s sad that I can’t remember too much about life with hair. But anyways, after a few weeks after the diet change I started seeing fuzz. Again I haven’t seen this is over a decade so I was obssessed. I tracked results in my journal. Around the 2nd month I could really see hair growing all over!! Around the 6th month mark I had about 95% of my hair back! It was full just short and curly. There are no words to describe seeing all of that hair on my head! I had just proved the doctors wrong when they say that there’s no cure..the cure is changing your diet. After while I started to reintroduce certain foods back into my life. It was not a good move for me. Started losing hair again so I shaved my head. About a year later I’m back in the AIP diet, 1 month in and the peach fuzz and prickly hairs are coming back!!. So if you’re wondering how to get ypur hair back, I’d say try experimenting with avoiding all packaged, fast, GMO, processed, gluten, dairy foods. Or just give the AIP diet a go. The diet is not easy when you crave pizza or lasagna or anything delicious lol but with repetition, your body gets used to it and even prefers the AIP diet (with a bit of blood flowing exercise)
Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience – it’s so great to hear the AIP diet is working for you, too! As you may know from my post with nutrition tips, I’ve also been on the AIP diet for a few months. And it’s working for me so far, I noticed vellus hairs coming back after just 3 weeks! Amazing what a difference going off gluten, dairy and other inflammatory foods can make. And like you say, after a while the body DOES get used to it…I don’t even crave bread anymore, which is very unusual for me!
I’m curious, are you off grains, seeds, nuts and pulses too? When I did the AIP diet last year I couldn’t have any of these things. However, the one I’m on this time was specifically recommended to me based on my gut microbiome results (after seeing a functional medicine doctor) and she allows me to have all these things. Wondering whether I should cut them out also as I do seem to find it more difficult to digest beans, lentils etc. But it’s very hard to avoid rice living in Vietnam! Anyway, it is so lovely to hear that it worked for you so well last time..and here’s hoping it does so again! x
Thank you so much for your reply! Yeah the hairs were it’s natural colour it was not white. I did get steroid injections in the past, however, due to the pandemic I have been using Teva-clobetasol. Thanks again for your tips and support. I’ll keep you posted!
No problem at all David, yes and please do keep in touch! You’re welcome to join my mailing list (if you haven’t already) to stay posted on any new developments, too.
All the best,
I wanted to ask a question. I have noticed regrowth on my scalp for about 3 months now, it was really coming along in the first 2. However, I noticed that some of the spots seem to be losing hair that had regrew. I just want to know if I should be worried or if it is apart of the process because the hairs were quite fine. Thanks L.A!
Thanks for your question! Great to hear that you’ve been seeing some regrowth, although I am sorry to hear that it hasn’t lasted in some cases. Just checking, were these vellus hairs (very fine, and white in colour) that regrew? Or had they already turned into your natural colour?
Unfortunately, it is quite common for the white, vellus fuzz to come and go. (Which is why, even though I’m currently seeing some regrowth myself after my AIP diet, I’m not getting my hopes up too much!) But it’s still a great sign that you experienced growth in the first place…it’s a sign that you’re not in an extended telogen (resting) phase any longer, as is often happens with alopecia. Rather, you’re back in the anagen (growth) phase; even if it doesn’t stick at first, it’s good that it has happened at all!
I know it’s easy to say but try not to worry or fret too much about these hairs. The more anxious you are about them, the more you check your patches etc, the more that’s contributing to the underlying stress/inflammation in your body that can slow this process down. Instead, have a look at these dietary tips to reduce inflammation, make sure you’re getting in moderate exercise (nothing too high-powered) and aid the growth progress by rubbing red onion juice on your patches every night or (if you can’t stand the smell!) either fresh aloe vera gel or a mix of coconut oil with peppermint essential oil. These natural treatments are great for boosting circulation to the scalp, which is what you need at the moment! Your hair will do its thing, and you’re off to a good start. Fingers crossed that next month sees more growth, less shedding! Let me know how you get on.
Thanks so much again,
I just stumbled across your blog, I really enjoyed it. I have had this for 30 years but its never been enough to notice, a small patch here or there (dime size) but my hair always covered it. I never noticed, and never sought treatment or care, just restyled my hair. Jan 2020 i started noticing tiny patches, three. They have just gotten larger and larger, i vented to a few friends one one told me about injections at the dermatologist. I got two rounds of injections, and I immediately would see growth, there was a two month gap due to coronvirus shutdown and then another round of injections, I am now sitting with more areas of baldness than hair. I go for more injections Monday. I am seeing growth and no smooth skin, however the hair is falling out faster than it is growing. The docs said the fall out should have stopped when injections started. Any ideas what stage this is or is there any hope for me- I just feel like im going to lose all of it, forever. in less than five months I went from so much hair to nearly nothing and I’m a wreck, honestly.
Hi Chas, thanks so much for your kind words…I appreciate your feedback! And I’m so sorry to hear about your expanding patches. I had those corticosteroid injections too, when I was 16…and unfortunately, I couldn’t emphasise enough, how bad they are for you. I wished I’d never had them. They worked for me at first, but left my scalp paper thin and – I think – did a lot of long-term damage to my digestive and immune system. (I’ve recently been diagnosed with gut dysbiosis which, my doctor thinks, is linked to this over-medication). Unfortunately, although Western medicine has many merits, it often aims to treat the “symptom” rather than getting to the cause. These injections are a prime example, of treating the patch rather than what’s causing it.
My advise for you is to stop getting these injections, immediately! Honestly, they are doing you more damage than good. More often than not, lifestyle (stress factors and nutrition) play a huge role in alopecia, especially if you’re suddenly experiencing more hair loss than ever, and the good news is, there are simple things you can put into practise to lower inflammation in your body and slow down that autoimmune response. Have a look at this post on nutrition and this one on my AIP diet to find out more. To show that it really can help, I’m 6 weeks into that AIP diet and after just 3, started noticing white vellus hairs in the bald patches on my head that haven’t had growth for years! All as a result of cutting out dairy, gluten and sugar. Plus, I’ve returned to using Nioxin once or twice a week (more on that here) and also to using more natural solutions, like peppermint essential oil mixed with coconut oil and rubbing onion juice directly on my patches.
I know it’s easier said than done, Chas, but try not to lose hope. Alopecia usually isn’t permanent and by making a few lifestyle changes, you can take control of it again. Please, please steer clear of those injections. I wish I’d said no to the dermatologists and trichologists who’d recommended them to me and looked at more natural ways instead. Anyway, better late than never, and that’s what I’m focusing on now!
I really wish you all the best, and do keep in touch with your progress. Thanks again for reaching out.
Thanks for the information here, it’s really helpful. I have Alopecia Universalis which came on around 2-3 years ago gradually (I’m 29 now). After about 18 months now of being completely hair free I have noticed some sporadic growth in my beard and now, some peach fuzz starting in places on my head. Obviously I don’t want to get carried away but I’m hopeful it’s a good sign. I have now started using rogaine topical solution to help, should I be doing this or just leave it?
Is there anything else I can be doing to help?
Thank you for your blog, it really does help.
Hi Ross, thanks so much for sharing your experience. It’s great to hear that you’re showing some signs of regrowth! To be honest, I’m not really a fan of Minoxidil (which is what Rogaine is) as I had some bad side effects while using it before…headaches, dizziness etc. Plus, if the hair is growing back anyway, it sounds like you’re on the right track! If you do want to use a product, I’d recommend a less intrusive one like Nioxin, or simply keep doing what you’re doing and maybe make sure your lifestyle, nutrition etc is aligned for maximum hair growth. As an extra tip, peppermint or rosemary essential oil are also great for hair growth, and a more natural approach! You’ll need to mix them with a carrier oil, though. I include a couple of DIY masks in this post if you’d like to try them out. Also, rubbing onion juice on your scalp will help to boost circulation and speed up growth (it smells gross, I know, but it is pretty effective!)
In general, I’d say try not to check for regrowth signs every day (you might drive yourself mad!) or worry too much about moving things along. The less stress you can have in your life, the better!! (Easier said than done, I know!)
Thank you so much for your kind feedback and I look forward to hearing how you progress!
Your blogpost is amazing thanks for this blog. I am also suffering from Alopecia areata from past 7 to 8 months and currently there are more than 10 small, medium or big patches on my entire head. In most of the patches I can see very tiny black or white hairs are coming back (they are not exclamation mark), the progress is very slow but my hair fall is still the same as it was earlier. My question is, can I take it as a normal sign or my condition is getting worse?
Hi Surjeet, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m really happy to her you enjoyed the post! And so sorry to hear about your AA, it’s never an easy thing to experience and to get all those patches over 8 months must have been so frustrating for you. It is good to hear you’re experiencing regrowth though, and that they’re not exclamation hairs. How much hair fall are you experiencing each day, like handfuls or a small amount of shedding? Are you noticing your patches getting bigger? It could be that you’re in the exogen phase of your hair growth cycle, where the old hair sheds and new hair continues to grow. If this is the case, around 50 to 150 hairs might fall out daily, and this is normal. I would take this as a good sign because it means you’re moving out of the telogen resting phase, which is when nothing new is growing (and which many people with AA will be ‘stuck’ in). Hopefully, you will move from this into the anagen growth phase again and you can encourage this with certain shampoos like Nioxin or by rubbling natural ingredients, like red onion juice or aloe vera, on your patches each night. Best of luck!! 🙂
Thanks for your answer and the hints on nutrition.
I also use arganoil mixed with drops of rosemary oil and regular scalp peeling with coffee powder.
Both help me a lot to have a nice scalp for my vellus hair 😉
What is your opinion on additional microneedeling at home?
Hi again! Oh argan oil is great!! Have you tried the hair mask I recommend here? It’s also a really nice and moisturising treatment…although I must try your coffee powder tip! 🙂
I have never tried microneedling, to be honest. I went for a consultation before but they told me my patches were so large, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. It is still something I’m curious about though, and the side effects seem ok (just a little irritation and redness). But if you have very sensitive skin, I’d be wary about trying such a procedure. If you do, make sure to test a small area first! Would love to hear how it goes. 🙂
you mentioned red onion juice. Why is it better than normal onion juice?
I rub my scalp regularly daily with normal onions cut in half. I think it helps, I have white Baby hair ( and AA subtotalis) 🙂
Another question: is it normal that the white hair grows soooooo slow? Normal hair grows around 1 cm per month, but my white hair needs forever…don’t even have 1 cm… or is it replaced by new hair and therefore that short? ( my white hair started growing in october 2019?
Thanks for your reply and your great Blog!
Thanks so much for your questions and I’m really pleased you’re enjoying the blog! Great question, too…to be honest, I have always used red onions instead of yellow simply because a) that’s what the ayurvedic doctor I saw advised (who orginally gave me the idea) and b) because red onions give more liquid when blended and aren’t as strong so they don’t smell as bad/don’t make my eyes water so much! But that’s just my experience. 🙂 Both types are great for hair loss. They include high levels of sulphur, which boost collagen production and promote a healthier scalp environment. They also increase circulation to get more blood flowing to those hair follicles. So continue with what you’re doing!! 😉 And yes, unfortunately that white hair – vellus hair – often grows painfully slowly. Sometimes it will simply disappear, too. It’s only when it develops into thicker, darker hair that you know you’re on the road to regrowth and back in the anagen phase of the hair cycle. It is a good sign that you have it in the first place, though…that means the potential for regrowth is definitely there! In the meantime, check out this post I wrote on nutritional types and this post about the best oils for hair growth, to see if you might be able to speed things along a little. Best of luck!!
Hi. I’m 66 and my Alopecia began when I was 33 ! My hair was Auburn and after the first bout of it it did regrow the same colour albeit much finer. Over the years it has come and gone until it began to regrow snowy white !! My hair is fairly thin in places but I have this gorgeous white hair and I love it.
Janet, thanks so much for sharing your experience – I love your attitude!! I also have/had (!!) auburn hair…people were always complimenting the colour! It grew back white at first too but then eventually went back to its original colour. Love that you’re rocking the snow white look and enjoying it…go, you! 🙂
I’m 19 and I went completely bald when I was 11. Then most of my hair grew back after a couple of years. When I was 17 I went totally bald, complete alopecia and no hair at all. Weirdly enough about 5 months ago i saw a tiny fuzz on my head and thought it was some flint or something like that. Weirdly enough it was new hair. Now I have peach fuzz all over my face and black hair on maybe 30% of my head. My eye brows are there but you can’t really see them because they’re just fuzz. I’m far from a fuzz head of hair but hopefully that will come not too far in the future. I really do think hope goes a long way
Hi Pete, thank you so much for sharing. And great to hear that you’re seeing progress…I totally agree also, that hope (without pressure or expectation!) goes a really long way. Enjoy the “fuzz” for now and I look forward to hearing how that develops!! 🙂
I saw three small patches on back of my head in Nov2019. One month I have taken Ayurveda treatment like applying croton tiglium on patches.No changes observed,I notice 2 more bad patch on middle of head and back of head,and previous patches are getting bigger up to 3 inches.I visited dermatologist and she have started injection on bald patches and multivitamin tablet and lotion containing Hydrocortisone (0.01% w/v) + Minoxidil (5% w/v) + Tretinoin (0.025% w/v).I have taken injection 3 times with difference of 4 weeks.Slight white fine hairs are coming on bald patches,But again 2 new patches develop on front side.I have changed my doctor and new doctor have given me defcort 6 tablet,bioden,excnx-LS5,Folica Hair Solution contains Benzyl Nicotinate, Salicylic Acid and Vitamin K. Hairs are growing white and tiny smooth. on bald patches which appears 1st at both back corner of head have very slow growth.
Now I removed all my hairs.Now I can see color difference and its look very bad.Please help me out
Hi Vishal, thank you so much for sharing your experience and I’m really sorry to hear about your hair loss, which sounds like it’s happening quite suddenly. First of all, I would strongly advise against using such strong treatments like those injections and steroid lotions. They might temporarily fix the problem but you could do damage to your immune system, which would just lead to more hair fall in the long run. It sounds good to use ayurvedic treatments or more natural solutions but please be aware that the hair-growth cycle would take at least 3 months, so you may not experience change even after a month of use. I would continue taking Vitamin K (as a supplement) and multivitamin supplements, too. Fish oils (Omega-3) are also great for hair growth. You could also reduce inflammatory foods in your diet (like wheat and dairy), which can often create too much stress on the immune system and lead to hair loss.
In terms of the colour of your hair, don’t worry…the white hair usually returns to its natural colour once it goes from being fine vellus hair to stronger terminal hair. For now, try and promote a healthy scalp environment by giving your scalp a massage with coconut oil and peppermint essential oil every night. If you can get neem oil, that’s brilliant, too! Here’s the top shampoos I recommend for hair growth, too…if you’re interested. I wish you all the best of luck!
Lady Alopecia 🙂
Hello, love the blog esp with the regrow signs as i didnt know about the white hair. I went through traumatic stress for almost 2 months getting over an illness & alot like 70% of my hair has fallen out including my beard. 2 months after my peak hair shedding i can see quite alot of white hair growing on the side & a number of white strands like 50 on the top, no exclamations. Would this be a sign of good progress? I still see some hair falling out too including my eyebrows
Hi JC, thank you for sharing your story and I’m so sorry to hear about your illness. I hope you are ok now. It’s definitely a good sign that you have white hair with no exclamation hairs, that indicates you’re in the anagen (growth) stage of the hair cycle again. It’s ok that you’re still experiencing some shedding, now that you know you will not be in an extended resting phase it should not stay that way for too long. To encourage more growth, try rubbing fresh ginger or red onion juice onto your patches (and eyebrows) every evening. Many people recommend castor oil for eyebrows, too…with a few drops of peppermint essential oil (just be careful you don’t get too close to your eyes with peppermint.) Best of luck, and thank you again for your comment! 🙂
Hi, I stumbled upon your post looking for hair extensions for white hair. I have alopecia universalis. I am unique… I started getting alopecia areata at the ripe old age of 38! By the time I was 41, I had developed full blown alopecia universalis. I lost ALL OF MY HAIR, EVERYWHERE!! Now it wasn’t from cancer, so I kept telling myself it was fine. BUT, it was actually very difficult… I was known for my thick, long, silky black hair (down to my rear)! People knew me and smiled at me as I walked outside downtown during lunches… or standing by the ashtray smoking… and before I get all the people telling me how bad that is, I quit smoking! Partly because once I lost my hair, perfect strangers would come up to me and scold me for smoking while I had cancer! Ohhh some people would say the nastiest things! I would tell them stress caused my hair to fall out and smoking relieves that so mind your own business! … But I digress. I was completely hairless for 5-6 years. Then one day I noticed fine fuzz on the back of my head! After several months, I actually had a patch of white, baby fine hair at the back of my neck. Finally, I started seeing hair appear in – ahem- other places too. I have got a few eyelashes and some tiny white hairs on parts of my eyebrows and enough hair to make somewhat of a style to my hair now, BUT it is STILL baby fine, white hair! I have had it for about 3-4 years now. I have lost all hope that I will ever have my luxurious hair again! I have tried many wigs… they are too hot, too itchy, and too expensive! I have more hats and scarves than I know what to do with… I am about to be 51 and while my face looks like I am in my mid 30’s, my hair has caused me to be mistaken as my husband’s mother! At any rate, while I get so many compliments on my color, I hate that I still have huge gaps of still balding spots. However, I want to say, I have learned so much. I have learned to be humble and not so vain, I have quit smoking, I have become more vocal about defending myself when people say some of the rudest things, but most importantly I have learned to love myself… whatever hair stage, or body stage I am in! 🙂 (However, if you know of any place that sells good, inexpensive clip in hair extensions for BABY FINE, STRAIGHT, WHITE hair please pass that on to me! I’d like to try some!)
Good luck to all! But please remember you cannot be defined by your looks if you let your soul shine!
Thanks so much for sharing your story and for your empowering words – I’m so glad you have been able to come to terms with it and it’s great that you can now take those incredibly rude people in your stride. Well done, you! 🙂
I’m sorry that I can’t offer any tips as to clip-in hair extensions as I cut out hairwear 5 years ago and instead just wear my head out or the headscarves I sell (available here, if you’re interested!) But perhaps someone else on this thread can comment? 🙂
Hi, I started to lose my hair in 2007 when I was 11 and it started with a few small patches. In about three years I completely lost all my the hair on my head and it also affected my body hair with small patches of hair all over my body as well as my facial hair.
Suddenly in 2016 small thin patches of hair starting growing back of my head and also I started seeing quite few tiny thin white hairs all over my head.
Right now I’ve started to get patches of black hair going around my head and a lot of the white hair has turned into thin black hair. They grow really slowly but they can become visible to see by another person in about 5 days time.
Is this a sign of regrowth?
Hi Shahed, thank you for sharing your experience. And it definitely sounds like you’re experiencing regrowth – it’s a great sign that the white hairs (vellus hairs) are turning into black ones (terminal hairs), as these are much stronger and indicate that your hair is once again in the growth (anagen) stage. Keep doing whatever you’re doing! 🙂
my daughter start hair loss in june 2019 and jan 2020 she has lost 80 per of hair lost and i can 8 to 20 white small started grow can any one suggest what going and why the more white hair not growing
Hi Shahid, Thank you for your message and I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for hair loss: read this post to learn more. In short, it could be due to stress, hormones or lifestyle factors…the good news is though, that alopecia does not have to be permanent. It is a good sign that she is getting white hairs again, which indicate growth but remember the hair-growth cycle can be slow…usually the telogen stage (the resting stage) lasts for 3 months. However, it sounds like in your daughter’s case, she is in an extended telogen stage and needs something to bring her back into the anagen (growth stage) again. I would like to recommend she take fish oil supplements, plus rub red onion juice on her head every night, and also use a peppermint essential oil treatment regulary. As I mention in this post, peppermint oil has been proven to accelerate the anagen phase so maybe this will help more hair to grow back, faster. All the best of luck to you and your daughter, Lady Alopecia.
Hey so I’m wondering about patterns of my alepicia, it started off as a circle but has a small area that goes out of the circle which grows as the small area continues growing out, it’s about 2.5 inches now, had this now for 5 months when it first started. Is this a bad sign it will turn in to total hair loss. I had this before 10 plus years ago and it stayed a circle.
Hi ELijah, Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have alopecia areata, which is the same form as I have. Mine also started off as almost a perfect circle, but then my patches grew more widespread. Although this is very frustrating – and scary, I know – the good news is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience total hair loss…that’s another form of the condition, called alopecia totalis. Unfortunately though, your patches could grow further but there is no reason why your hair will not come back, either. I hope you find some of the info on this site useful in terms of potential treatments and please let me know if you have any further questions! 🙂
Thank you so much for this info. I have an underactive thyroid and began taking thyroxine, a few days later my hair began to fall out. Within a month I’d lost all my scalp and body hair. I had also recently been diagnosed with ME.
What really interests me is I do seem to have white downy hair regrowing in parts on my head. Dermatology had been quite positive about exclamation points so it’s interesting to read its not a good sign.
What really captured my attention is the rash at the base of your scap to neck, I have exactly the same. Some days worse than others so again another sign of the illness.
I’m on steriods and immune suppressants, side effects aren’t pleasant especially the munchies with the oral steriods.
I tried the AIP during the year before all this and I did feel better (and lost a ton of weight) I just struggled to stick to it after the month was up.
For my 2 cents, I think a great deal of all the immune conditions are gut based, sometimes we eat the wrong things other times we can’t absorb our nutrients, or a combo of both. There is also probably a genetic component too.
Anyway, I wish I’d found this blog earlier, thanks for the information… Forewarned is forearmed!
Julie, thank you so much for sharing your experience. And I’m really sorry to hear of your ME diagnosis on top of the rest of your conditions…it can’t be an easy time, especially considering the side effects of those steroids. And yes, I’m pretty sure that rash is a result of inflammation – if I happened to have too much alcohol or wheat or something the day before it’ll flare up the following day and my scalp becomes roasting to touch – literally, hot-headed! I hear you on the AIP diet – I felt amazing after a month but a couple of months later I’d reverted to old habits. BUT I have just started a new plan based on results I got back from a functional medicine doctor, who diagnosed me with gut dysbiosis. She was fairly certain that if I could address that, everything else would clear up. We’ll see! I’m 3 days into a 5-day system cleanse (having just “medical food” powder and water), which will be followed by an elimination diet (no alcohol, soy, eggs, wheat or dairy) for 1 month, maybe longer. I will be posing about my progress so stay tuned!
In the meantime, thank you so much for your kind words and I hope you continue to get value from my site!
All the best,
Really interested to hear how you get on with diet! I’ve had alopecia for 5 years – progressively worse each year – I had microbiome test done and Bacteria was bad so been on pro biotics but not much changed really! Would like to investigate gut health more as convinced it’s linked and after reading your comment even more so! Keep us posted – thanks for all info on your page too x
Thanks for sharing this, Lisa! I’m fully convinced it’s linked too, especially considering the difference I noticed in my hair texture after just a week of using extra things like fish oils and Vitamin B! Unfortunately, even though I felt great after a month, the Christmas period tested my willpower (or lack of!) too much. 😉 So I’m starting again, properly this time!! Will be posting videos on my progress on my Instagram and YouTube before putting the whole case study together after a couple of months on this site…so stay tuned!!
Hey, firstly have to say I love your blog. So reassuring to hear others stories and that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I found a small patch only a couple of days back and got checked out today. My GP seemed really knowledgeable and tested to see if any of my hairs were loose around the edge of the patch. They weren’t – so great start. She noted I have some exclamation hairs in the centre of the patch and I also know I have a couple white hairs trying to grow. She stated really confidently that the exclamation mark hairs and the fact that the others around the edge are strong was a good sign. Very much a be patient and let’s wait and see.
However, having read what you have put above about exclamation mark hairs has made me wonder if the initial diagnosis that the patch shouldn’t grow is actually correct.
I have no other signs, like my nails, any other excessive hair loss etc.
I haven’t been recommended any treatment as of yet, is there anything particular you would suggest at this stage?
Thanks for your comment and I’m so happy to hear you find my site useful! Unfortunately though, I wouldn’t take your GP’s advice as gospel. From the many tricologists (hair doctors) and dermatologists I’ve seen about my alopecia areata, I’ve been told that exclamation mark hairs are not in fact a good sign. In fact, they indicate that the inflammation beneath the hair follicles is still very much active and that the condition might just be getting started. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news!! But I do agree with her that the white hairs (vellus hairs) are a good sign. At this stage, I wouldn’t recommend any topical treatments – apart from perhaps aloe vera, as it’s natural, and you can check out my post on that. The main thing I would suggest is to reduce that inflammation as much as possible. Reduce your intake of dairy, wheat and alcohol as much as possible and practise some stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation. Note: you mightn’t feel outwardly stressed, but this autoimmune response (inflammation) indicates that you are under some kind of internal stress! So reduce inflammatory foods from your diet, include lots of turmeric (an anti-inflammatory substance) and take cold showers as much as you can to lower inflammation further! Other than that, you can do as your GP advised and simply wait for the hair to regrow. If the patch increases, please do get in touch again. I would avoid at all costs using steroid injections into the scalp…it might be a quick fix but can do a lot of damage to your immune system in the long run! I hope you start to see some success and thanks again for getting in touch. x
Hello, my story is very long. However, I decided to share my experience and steps that I’ve been taking, cause it might be helpful for someone.
In January 2016 during 4 weeks I lost 100% of my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows. It was very challenging period of my life, since I had very long eyelashes and hair, not just long they were healthy and beautiful. So, you can imagine my shock. In 2 months some of my friends even didn’t recognize me.
I went to see all the doctors, i checked every and each organ. All doctors said that there is no cure, and it’s permanently. I refuse to accept it. At that time I was learning English, and luckily in English I found a lot of articles about autoimmune disorders (articles mainly about eastern medicine), and come up with my own treatment therapy starting in March 2016.
What I did is the following.
1. To make immune system less aggressive: I took during 12 months Ganoderma/Reishi mushrooms. 6 months I took Burdock.
2. Vitamins complex: Maxi-Hair vitamins 4 months, Zinc-3 months, Selenium-2 months, Magnesium-3 months; Vitamin D (until it’s level reached 69-70), inositol- 4 months (interestingly deficit of inositol is one of the reasons of alopecia And deficit of vitamin D is main reason of autoimmune disorder).
3. Acupuncture 10 days, and repeated after 3 weeks, 3 times.
4. In order to motivate hair follicles:
4.1. I took 4 months – Horsetail Grass, L Methionine, L Systein – 3 months.
4.2. For my hair/head:
A) Used every day, during 8 weeks – 30 minutes a day, onion juice
B) I bought from Aliexpress/Alibaba – essential oil with ginger. This is very crucial step to do, because this essential oil helps recover hair follicles and reduce inflammation of hair follicle. This oil I used for my head and eyelashes.
So, the following results I had. In May 2016 my eyelashes started regrow, and in June 2016 they 100% recovered. Since August 2016 I sow white hair in my head, full growth started in September 2016. By January 2017 returned 90% of my hair.
Another important thing I would like to add is I didn’t work between January 2016 and June 2017. So, I didn’t have any stress. Even that period was very stressful I tried enjoy my life just doing what I love (reading books, learning English, traveling). So, this stress free period of my life (between March 2016 and June 2017), I’m telling this because it’s also might be important factor.
Then, in June 2017 I could finally return to my work, I had very intensive work schedule. I was so ignorant to forgot what bottle I just had and did everything I shouldn’t have done. A big mistake was ignoring my body and my needs. I didn’t eat properly, slept 4-5 hours a day, sometimes even less. And in September I had shingles. It wasn’t good for my immune system I can tell you that. Plus, I had exams, work stress etc. I didn’t take Reishi, cause I was so ignorant I thought that problem in the past and it won’t return. However, it return.
In August 2018 I lost all my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes again! I was accepted to an MBA program, and in September 2018 I moved to another country. I did nothing necessary to my body, I didn’t take even Reishi I had intensive program, plus again stress, spent regularly a half night in a library, didn’t eat meat. As a result my hair didn’t show any positive sign.
Finally, since May 2019 I started to invest my time to resolve this situation.
First of all, I cleaned my body by taking Chlorella, heal my stomach, solve problem with intestinal dysbiosis
And after that Again started to take Vitamins, Reishi, Zink, Iron, Vitamins B6, B12, Vitamin D.
Essential oil for head and eyelashes. Have acupuncture and manual therapy.
Results: since July 2019 I am having white hairs, some of then thin some of them are tick. However, first time white hair very quickly become dark. But now, it’s second months (almost third months) they are still white. So, I’m worrying.
In summary, I don’t know whether these steps help or not somebody else. It is my personal treatment. I was so desperate to do something, because I refuse to accept doctors verdict that there is nothing can be done. However, to be fair they offered harmon therapy, immune depression therapy etc. I also refuse to follow their advice, since they seems for me to radical with a lot of side effects.
First time (in 2016) i gain full recovery. I hope this time also everything will be fine.
P.S. please, remember one important thing. The steps I’ve taken require not only external treatment but also internal (you have to be free from self-criticism, even self-hearted like I did after I failed interview to an MBA program one of my dream Business Schools. In April 2018 I had MBA interview, and after that 3 months I non stop internally criticized myself. So, don’t do that, it’s very harmful. It’s like you are allowing yourself to destroy yourself internally, and your immune system do exactly you unintentionally wished). Hope you understand, what I mean.
Thank you, Tolkyn, for your incredibly informative response! I hope that it can help others out there who would like a more natural response, too. I completely agree that ginger and onion juice are great for regrowth – although I haven’t tried the essential oil though, I must give it a go! I’ve also never tried Reishi mushrooms; thanks for the tip. Like you, I was diagnosed with intestinal dysbiosis recently and clearly can’t absorb many of the essential nutrients from food (Vitamin B6 being a major one). So I’m starting a system cleanse (5 days), followed by a supplementation plan and elimination diet for 1 month to heal my gut. I’ll let my readers know how that goes! I also agree that factors like stress, internal judgement etc will contribute massively. As stress and anxiety are one of the leading triggers of autoimmune conditions (which activate the inflammatory response), it’s essential that we take whatever measures we can to reduce stress in our lives. That’s why I teach yoga and meditation, too! For those who feel like they have very stressful jobs or family lives, I’d highly recommend some low-impact exercise if possible (things like swimming, yoga or walking) as activities such as CrossFit or running might leave your body in a heightened state of stress rather than helping you to relax. Regarding all of the other treatments you mentioned, I’ll certainly be looking into them and thank you so much for sharing. Take good care! xxx
Hi thank you for this blog can’t tell you how many times I read over your blog sometimes it’s like therapy. I discovered one small patch at the top of my head where my fringe began in May 2019 and another a few months later but elsewhere strangely enough on my pubic hair I don’t wether to laugh or cry as I’m typing this right now 🤦🏻♀️….anyways the bald spot on my head is now 5cm by 4cm and on my pubic hair area about 2cm by 1 cm very strange. I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata back in June recently I was prescribed a steroid scalp application which I have been using on my bald spot on my head for 3 weeks now. I’m guessing what I see now is vellus hairs growing mostly around the edge of the bald spot but there are some in and around the middle to they are very fine. Since using the steroid scalp application it has helped ease the inflammation and itching I would feel from time to time. I’m a little confused as I see vellus hairs growing but my hair continues to fall out still is this normal ? This has got me on such a rollercoaster of emotions. The worst thing about Alopecia is feeling so helpless and the not knowing, if anyone can share anything else about hair falling at the same time as regrowth id be most grateful I won’t go on about how it makes me feel as you will all be fully aware of the emotional rollercoaster this sends us on. I’m 37 never experienced hair loss in my life and there’s no family history. To shed a bit more light I was diagnosed with and under active thyroid after having bloods done in May 2019 however I did also get a kidney infection which I gave me the worst fever I’ve ever experienced not sure if all or one of these factors could of caused my Alopecia. I’m fine now and my thyroid is controlled with thyroxine medication. I just seen a dermatologist yesterday they prescribed me with 6 doses of 3mls of steroids they said they will begin a treatment every 2 weeks with a type of steroid which is applied into the scalp via auto injectors has anyone experienced this. I will find out more next week at my appointment. I’m from the UK.
Thank you for taking time reading this you are all very strong and inspirational I hope I gain the strength you all have.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience – I’ll do my best to answer your questions. It is normal to experience hair fall at the same time as the vellus hairs growing back. In fact, it is often a good sign as it might be that the scalp is ridding itself of “dead hair” in order for new, stronger hair to grow back. So try not to worry about the hair fall, focus on the stuff that is coming back instead! 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear you got it at this age, with no experience of it before – it is a very scary and frustrating thing! But an underactive thyroid is often linked to the condition – and antibiotics used to fight off infections can also contribute to this heightened autoimmune response. To be honest I would AVOID those injections at all costs. I got them when I was 16 and they wrecked my immune system, causing much worse effects in the long run. Perhaps a “quick fix” but trust me, they are toxic to the rest of your system. See if you can cut inflammatory foods from your diet (like gluten, dairy and alcohol) for a few weeks while increasing your intake of fish oils and magnesium. Try out some of the products I recommend on this site but please don’t take those injections! I wish you all the very best. xo
To all you wonderful courageous women – Keep the faith – I was diagnosed November 18, 2018 and it’s been a struggle – I had long hair that I loved doing different things with and progressively it fell and quickly too – until by January I was virtually bald – I started wearing a wig but the experience was traumatic – couldn’t look at old pictures and hated the idea of having to socialise! Thankfully, my mum rescued me when she spoke to a friend whose 12 year old daughter had a patch and when she saw the doctor, he was reluctant to start her on the cortisone/minoxidil treatment and being from Southern India, advised her to juice the leaves of the papaya plant and apply directly to the scalp – she say sprouting in 3 days and in a month the patch had re-grown. I too started this and happy to say that I have a full mop of hair, with a few patches on the front of my head…but applying the juice, and staying stress-free – I am lucky to have access to papaya leaves given I live in a tropical country, but I’ve heard that the aloe vera gel also works well! I stumbled onto your page as I was researching if it’s normal that most of the hair grows back and if a few patches is normal – guessing it always is and it can come back anytime:( Stay strong and embrace it – fighting it makes it 10 times harder:)
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Petrina, and for your inspiring words. It must have been devastating to lose so much so quickly…but amazing the progress you’ve had with papaya juice, I must try that one myself! I also tried Indian gooseberries before, which seemed to cause a little regrowth, and still use aloe vera to reduce inflammation. I’m also lucky to live in a place where I can access the fresh stuff, but check out this post to read up on aloe vera products if you like. And you’re totally right, fighting it can only make things worse. Acceptance isn’t easy but learning to live with it might be just what it takes for regrowth to happen! Wishing you all the best, and thanks again for sharing. xxx
Can you find papaya leaves in the us ?
My daughter started losing her hair after her 3rd birthday! She just turned 4 and initially has fine white hair in some spots and those are gone now and I’m starting to notice white almost coarse thick hair growing all over her head. I keep hoping she’s one of the rare cases that it grows back! Not sure if thick coarse white hair is a good sign or not? Any advice?
I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s hair loss issues – what a terrible shock that must’ve been for you as a parent. A bit of good news: the fact that the hair is growing back thickly (even if it’s white) is promising. Normally the patches fill in with a thin white fuzz (called vellus hairs), which can disappear again before turning into long-lasting “terminal hair”. It sounds like, in your daughter’s case, her hair has reached that second stage and indicates that her alopecia will be resolved for now. Oh, and I had white hair, too – but it did return to my natural colour! Hope that helps xxx
My 27 yr old beautiful daughter has a HUGE bald spot. It happened very quickly. She’s been a vegetarian since she was 8 and her iron levels were bottoming out. She started the AIP diet (autoimmune protocol) and started eating raw salmon which she seems to really crave now. She just wrote that she’s seeing ‘white’ growth coming in. I didn’t question whether they were exclamation shaped hairs. I sent her this article so she’ll determine that for herself. ‘Just wanted to say 1. this is a great article and full of hope. And 2. Try eliminating the nasty foods that create autoimmune disorders. I’m doing the diet and my eczema is going away after years. It’s hard but a doable diet. You can reintroduce foods after about a month, but do them one at a time and slowly. And there is something docs don’t tell you about iron supplements…you have to take them with vitamin C or they don’t absorb properly. Good luck to all you lovely ladies. Hair or no hair, we’re all strong and need to be confident and positive. If nothing works for you…Rock the look and be proud.
Hi Carol, thank you so much for your lovely words and your very valuable advice! I also tried the AIP diet (which you can read about in this post) and felt great from it…cutting out inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy was hard at first but I definitely think it was a good move! It sounds like your daughter is on the right path and it’s great news that she’s experiencing white hair regrowth (that’s the first step, and it will usually return to its natural colour). She’s got wonderful support in you, by the sounds of it, so keep up that encouraging and positive attitude! xxx
I’m all white now. Two or three different lengths, too. My eyebrows are gone and top lashes but seeing white growth lashes coming in. I’m grateful I’m finally showing some growth, yet , Powder is not a nick name I’m comfortable with. It’s been an emotional ride and dramatic change. I truly lost the old girl with long brown hair. Miss the old me. I’ll find a way to rock this gracefully 😔
Thanks for sharing your experience, Lou…and I’m sure it has been an emotional rollercoaster, it certainly was for me! But hopefully you can look forward now, connect with your true self (because there is so much more to you than hair!) and, like you say, rock it gracefully. I know you can!! xo
This information was very helpful. I am seeing white fine hairs but there seems to me some very stubborn arears where nothing is happening. I’ve been shaving my head weekly so the patchiness doesn’t look to bad (trying to accept my shaved has been tough). The hair that grows comes back 2 days after cutting. Would you recommend i stop all cutting? I wear a head wrap to work most days but i feel it takes away from my overall appearance even though i have every color to match evey outfit i just don’t feel like myself. I have no desire to wear wigs. This is so difficult. Its been about 5 months since this started and im trying to come to grips and accept that hair may never grow back in these areas. Trying to stay positive.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I also shaved my head continuously as I was quite self-conscious about the stubble appearing in certain areas but not others. I also wore headwraps for a while (in fact, you can check out my collection here) but if you’re not comfortable in wearing them, I’d say just rock your patches out! Once I started accepting my patches, strange as I found them, they actually began to fill in. And in fact, people might just think it’s a style choice! I think the best thing you can do is to be true to yourself and try and have confidence in yourself – with or without hair. Let your inner beauty shine and that’s what people will see! xo
I immediately had tears flowing down my face when I read this! You said everything exactly as I would! And when you said “I truly lost the old girl with long brown hair”, that made the dam break and tears were gushing because I also have (still have most of it but terrified of losing it) long brown hair.
I still don’t know what’s causing mine. I’ve been to a total of 5 different doctors and still no specific diagnosis! I tried telling every one of them I felt it’s bacterial or fungal. They just discarded it completely and ordered different tests but never anything to check for bacteria or fungus. I have two dogs and I’m almost 99%sure one of them is suffering from something similar to me and could be where I got it. It’s been over a year now and it’s slowly destroying my life
Laura, great to hear that you resonated so much with Lou’s comment. I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through too and I know how frustrating it is. The doctors I saw didn’t seem to understand how tough the condition is, especially on our emotional and mental health. So the more we can share our own experiences and help each other out, the better! I really hope you can find some information and tips on this site to slow down your own hair loss, or to be able to find some acceptance. xxx
Hi I have a question! I’ve been dealing with a patch about 2 inches on the back of my head for about 3 months now… I’ve noticed white hairs, my regular brunette hairs and the exclamation point hairs growing… is it possible to heal and have it still have it happen at the same time? There different areas be still close together… thanks!
Hi Hannah, thanks for your question. And it’s a good one. As far as I’m aware (as this is what happened to me, too), it is possible for it to do both. Unfortunately, the exclamation hairs are a sign that inflammation is still present – that the hair follicles are being attacked. So even though one area is filling in, the inflammation might still be active beneath the surface. Another reason is that you might have entered the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle a little early. This means that you’ve gone through your exogen (shedding phase) – which everyone does – but because you’re in telogen early, you’re experiencing thinning or patches before the anagen (growing) phase kicks in. Normally, the telogen phase lasts 3 months so try not to worry too much about it. Your growing phase could happen soon! But do whatever you can to stimulate those follicles and to promote a healthy scalp environment (check out my Products page for a few tips.) Also, reduce inflammation in your diet by cutting out dairy, gluten and alcohol if you can…even for a month…to give your system a chance to recover. Some supplements like biotin, magnesium and Omega 3 fish oils, can promote healthy growth too. Finally (and I know this is easier said than done), try not to stress too much about it. I know what it’s like to want to touch the patch every 5 minutes to see if it’s spread! But try and put it out of your mind, take up a stress-relieving practice like gentle yoga and meditation, and start to calm down your nervous system this way. Good luck! x
Thank you for this article. I have found myself recently driving myself crazy with over researching this matter. I was diagnosed with alopecia Areata in may of 2019. I started a new stressful job and the spots were moving all around my head like wild fire. I did opt for injections, and consulted with every doctor I could find. I have great hair growth on the original spots and also on some newer spots I have gotten. You can’t even see the scalp, however this last month I noticed some new spots come up after 7 months and it’s just heart breaking, like I will never win this battle. I also had an allergy panel done and it did come up I was allergic to quite A few things to include dairy, wheat , scallops etc. it’s just so hard to cut this out of my diet. I’m hoping I can kick this but am getting discouraged
Hi Christina, thanks for sharing your story…and I’m really sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I know how frustrating it is to watch those patches spread and change position! It’s good to hear that you’re experiencing regrowth although personally, I wouldn’t advocate the use of those injections anymore…but each to their own, of course. They might temporarily cover the symptom but not get to the root cause – especially if you have a dairy and wheat intolerance, and are still eating these foods. These can be extremely inflammatory so anyone with an autoimmune condition should try and cut them out as much as possible. I know it’s easier said than done but trust me, once you start noticing a difference you’ll want to keep it up! I’m going to be posting a case study of my own ongoing experience with an anti-inflammatory diet soon so stay tuned!!
Thanks again, and wishing you all the very best. There’s a huge support network of fellow alopecians out there who have your back! xo
I really enjoy your blog and all the tips. Thank you for not making me feel like I’m alone in this. I’m loosing so much hair right now and my bald spot has become massive over the last 4 months, although I have white hairs growing at one side of the area. In your experience, I do not have the exclamation mark hairs but my scalp is patchy red, not on the white hairs but on the bald area and inwards. does that mean it’s still really active?
Thanks for your message and I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle with your bald patch. White hairs are a good sign though, and it’s also good to note that you don’t have exclamation mark hairs. However, the redness could be a sign of that inflammation I mentioned. It could be an indication of your immune system attacking itself so anything you can do to calm down that inflammation is a bonus. Check out this post where I talk about foods to try and avoid and also this post, featuring some aloe vera products to reduce inflammation.
I know it’s easier said than done but in the meantime, try not to worry. Your hair might be in its shedding phase at the moment but eventually, the regrowth cycle will kick in again. 🙂
Thank you for your response! I will be trying everything! It’s just a never ending cycle, thinking it’s repairing and then the setbacks. Your blog is really informative and funny too, of a subject for us who suffer find it hard to be light hearted about. Keep inspiring people 🙂
Thanks Amy, I really appreciate your very kind words. It took me a looong time to get to a point where I’m able to be lighthearted about it but hoping the more we share our own stories, the more fellow alopecians might be empowered to do the same!! 🙂 Keep up the positivity and let me know if there’s any way I can help. x