My 6-year-old has this. It started a year ago, and now she's lost almost half her hair, and her eyelashes have started to fall out.
There is no cure for alopecia, and treatments are often risky (our dermatologist recommended systemic steroids !). The thing is, it might work, but it will only work while you take it, your immunosuppressed and have other serious side effects, and your illness will progress as usual as soon as you inevitably stop taking it.
Itchiness is common with alopecia actually...many people have tingling or itchiness in areas where hair loss is active or about to start.
Alopecia normally clears up on its own, but some people lose all their hair and their facial hair and body hair. The cruel thing about alopecia is that it is unpredictable, so you cannot know what course it will take. It can also go away for years and come back later.
check out alopeciaworld.com
We've been bringing his younger brother to see someone who does applied kinesiology (total body modification). She goes through allergy vials, (auto-immune ones being among them) to help get rid of my youngest son's allergy problems. So here we have a holistic type of help we know of but dh almost shouted his "no" to me regarding taking my older son to her if this is what he has.
His hair is just going so fast to be male pattern baldness.
I'm afraid of the steroids and don't know what to do if he needs to get this. So I'm feeling frightened, concerned, worried about this whole health situation and my son.
Before my eyes his hair is going, going, going... (confined to one area, so far, but going so fast in just 6 mo. time) It's awful to witness & not know what to do.
Keep in mind that steroids do not work long-term. No one will tell you otherwise. A dermatologist might recommend steroids for temporary delay, but they will not cure this.
There is a section at alopecia world for discussion, and a forum for those dealing with AA in their kids.
I spent many a night in tears for my child, and needed to know I wasn't the only one. I wasn't. And you wouldn't be.
Its great that you are going to see the dermatologist. Remember that you and your son are in control--its your choice how to treat this. The MD is a great resource, will hopefully be able to tell you what is going on, and offer you some choices in treatment. Then you can take a deep breath, and decide where to go from there.
There are lots of great provider who have non-toxic tools to help with this. I didnt see where you are, but depending on your state, you could see a naturopath (great if you find an autoimmune condition), an acupuncturist, nutritionist etc...
If you want to, you can look for the "black dot" effect--a sign of tinea where the hairs break off close to the scalp. Here are some pictures of what that might look like.
It depends on what kind of alopicia it is. My friend who went through this had all his hair grow back after the steroid treatments and it hasn't come back since he had them 8 or 9 years ago.
However, steroids do not cure it at all. It can stop hair loss or encourage regrowth while you use it. But it has no bearing on future episodes.
Your friend was fortunate and followed the course that most alopecia takes (remission is very common).
If he keeps it neat & buzzed, nobody is going to care. It's not the 60's & 70's anymore, when long hair was "in" and guys were gelling & combing what they had over the bald spot. Half the men I know have a buzz or shave on top. It's pretty normal and they look well-groomed and confident.
Just like weight, acne, or any other physical problem, a parent's reaction has long-term impacts on the child. Get the health check, ask Dad to teach him how to groom his hair, and leave it. The bigger an issue you make it, the less confidence he will have.
Your son might take a look at www.slybaldguys.com. There are a number of high school young men on there who shave their heads, either by choice, or because their hair is already thinning. It's a very friendly international group of bald guys, guys who shave their heads, or those wanting to give it a try, (either because they want to or because they have to). He'll find plenty of support for dealing with going bald as a young guy.
You might consider constitutional homeopathic treatment (I am a homeopath, so that's the position I come from on most health matters). Homeopathy considers the whole person- so not *just* the alopecia- but general health, past and present- as well as family history. Homeopathy is natural, works with the body's innate energy, and is effective in things like autoimmune disease and other conditions that are vague and have no identified cause or conventional treatment. Sounds like your son is pretty grounded about it all, and maybe he's totally cool with it. But if there is some other imbalance going on, then homeopathy is definitely a holistic option.
minoxidil in combination with propecia.
That's it. Any shampoo or natural supplement will be no better than snake oil. Even the minox and propecia will mostly just buy you some years, and have their unpleasant aspects as well As a male who started thinning in his late twenties, trust me I researched everything. If you really want expert advice instead of mothering try a hair loss forum. Those guys know their stuff.
it seems more likely to be mpb, which affects millions, than an incredibly rare thing like alopecia areata. In the end the only truly long term solution is acceptance.
two things...never get a hair transplant and avoid holistic practitioners. Whatever those types are good for, this ain't it.