What is alopecia areata, and how is it treated?

Written by: Dr Aleksandar Godic
Edited by: Conor Lynch

In this article, highly revered and experienced London-based consultant dermatologist, Dr Aleksandar Godic, details what alopecia areata is, how it is currently treated nowadays.

What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that characterised by patchy hair loss, mostly affecting the scalp or beard in men. It can progress to hair loss of the scalp (alopecia totalis) or of the entire body (alopecia universalis).


How is alopecia areata treated currently?

Thankfully, there are a whole host of treatment options that are available to patients nowadays when it comes to the treatment of alopecia areata. Current treatment options for alopecia areata include topical and systemic steroids, steroid injections, topical tacrolimus/pimecrolimus, contact immunotherapy, light treatment, and immunosuppressants.


The implantation of JAK inhibitors has been a recent breakthrough in the treatment of alopecia areata. They provide significant hair regrowth in patients with long-standing, therapy-resistant disease, and they have a substantial impact on the quality of life in affected patients. JAK inhibitors block cytokine 1 and 2 inflammatory signalling pathways, leading to a broad-based reduction of effector cells involved in disease etiopathogenesis.


What are the potential side effects of treating alopecia areata through JAK inhibitors?

Common side effects include various infections (especially chest and urinary), increased cholesterol, viral gastroenteritis, anaemia, neutropenia, and non-melanoma skin cancer.


If you are worried about potential hair loss, or if you would like to find out whether or not you are at high risk of suffering from alopecia areata, make sure you contact Dr Aleksandar Godic today to schedule in an appointment with him. You can do just that by heading on over to his Top Doctors profile

By Dr Aleksandar Godic

Dr Aleksandar Godic is a leading consultant dermatologist based in London. Dr Godic graduated in 1996 from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He finished his Master of Science in 1997 (Thesis: Analysis of Hair Surface in Patients with Ichthyosis Vulgaris, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), and training in dermatovenereology in 2001. In 2004 he finished his PhD (Thesis: Molecular and Genetic Analysis of Darier Disease in Slovenian Population, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia).  He spent a year of postdoctoral fellowship in dermatopathology at the University of California, San Francisco, USA (UCSF), had additional training in dermatology at the Department of Dermatology, Yale University, USA (in 2005 and 2006), and was awarded the European Board Certificate in Dermatopathology (2006).

In 2005, Dr Godic was appointed as an Assistant Professor for Dermatovenereology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a regular invited lecturer at the European and world anti-aging congresses in Paris, and in Monte Carlo, respectively. In 2014 he became a board member of the World Council for Preventive Regenerative and Anti-Ageing Medicine (WOCPM). Recently he became a Scientific Board Member of BHI Therapeutic Sciences and will start seeing patients in Slovakia who are interested in autologous (self) fat transfer supplemented with stem cells into the face, V neck, hands, scalp and earlobes. He has numerous publications in high impact factor journals and has written a chapter on hair and scalp diseases in a textbook for medical and dental students. He contributed to the monographs on psoriasis and on skin aging and skin disorders.

With more than 20 years of experience, he is a at the cutting-edge of dermatology, constantly looking for new and innovative treatments. His special interests include general dermatology, hair and scalp disorders, skin cancer, pigmented lesions, inflammatory dermatoses (acne, psoriasis, rosacea, vitiligo, etc.), skin surgery, dermatopathology, anti-aging, and cosmetic dermatology.

Further to this, Dr Godic offers a revolutionary fat transfer treatment that uses patients' own stem cells to achieve lasting, transformational results.

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