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Young girl with no hair

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles of the scalp and body causing hair loss. Scientists have found that there are seven types of alopecia but the most common types are alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. These types vary by the amount of hair that is lost, some just a few patches on the scalp while others remove haircompletely from the entire body. The most common type of alopecia is areata which causes patchy hair loss on the scalp. Alopecia totalis is a little more extreme and results in total hair loss on the scalp.  The most advanced form is alopecia universalis which results in complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and body.

Alopecia can affect any gender at any age and affects as many as 6.8 million people in the United States. Depending on the type of alopecia, person’s age and the extent of hair loss, there are a variety of treatment options available. The main goals of treatment are to block the immune system attack and/or stimulate the regrowth of hair. There is no single option that will work for everyone and even if there is hair regrowth, there is no guarantee that it won’t fall out again once treatment is stopped. Doctors are working diligently to find a cure for this unpredictable condition.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss.  Many of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to alopecia. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. The prostheses we offer help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.