Alopecia is (usually) an autoimmune condition where antibodies attack hair follicles and cause patchy hair loss – and sometimes complete hair loss. Like other visible manifestations of autoimmunity such as psoriasis or scleroderma, alopecia can take a considerable emotional toll.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, “In all forms of alopecia, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal.”

I know how to generate these signals.

<< Please enter your name and email in the form on the left to receive alopecia-specific information and posts, including important updates on my upcoming Reversing Alopecia online group classes – you can participate from anywhere in the world, on your own time. (Estimated launch: early fall 2016.)

Reversing alopecia is an inside job. Without immune modulation, treatments such as cortisone injections, creams, pills, supplements, drugs, ointments, lasers, or snake oil aren’t likely to signal the follicles to regenerate hair in any lasting way. Treating the immune system – the root of the problem in most situations – can make these other, questionable strategies obsolete. In fact, some of these strategies can contribute to more immune dysregulation, making the alopecia worse in the longterm.

I’m Jill Grunewald. I’ve suffered from alopecia – off and on – for 35 years. You can read my story here and see the remarkable photos of one young girl I helped go from bald to a head of curls here

Click on the audio below to listen to a 2-minute recording that this girl’s mother, Michelle, created about their remarkable program with me: 

I’m currently working with several others who are re-growing eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair on their scalp. 

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation states that more than 6.6 million people in the U.S. and 147 million people worldwide have or will develop alopecia.

The condition is unpredictable in nature. With the exception of androgenic alopecia, there’s no pattern to the loss. Some can go periods of time with no balding and some will see sporadic or total regrowth without therapy of any kind.

There are five primary types:

  • Alopecia areata: patchy bald spots on scalp
  • Alopecia totalis: total scalp loss
  • Alopecia universalis: total hair loss on body
  • Alopecia diffusa: chronic, diffuse thinning (no bald patches) *
  • Androgenic alopecia: This condition is “pattern baldness” (in men and women) often characterized by high androgens (“male” hormones). It isn’t considered autoimmune in nature. PCOS is characterized by high androgens and this is why so many who suffer from PCOS have considerable scalp loss. Some who have androgenic alopecia don’t, in fact, have high androgens; they have more androgen receptors and higher levels of an enzyme involved in steroid metabolism that converts testosterone to DHT.

* Alopecia diffusa can be a difficult diagnosis; all-over thinning is often related to hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s and/or high androgens. If not technically autoimmune in nature, diffuse loss is called telogen effluvium. 

Conventional treatments of alopecia depend on the severity of the condition. The most common treatment involves a visit to the dermatologist for cortisone (steroid) shots in the scalp or topical cortisone creams. But alopecia isn’t a skin condition.

Other treatments include cortisone pills or a prescription for an immune response modifier. None are without side effects; immune response modifiers in particular have a long list of common repercussions.

And none get to the root of the condition for the vast majority of sufferers – a dysregulated immune system. (My autoimmunity was in remission when I got my new round of spots. My recent episode was related to a food sensitivity, but my history of alopecia (and Hashimoto’s) didn’t help matters.)

So while these conventional treatments may promote hair growth short-term, they don’t prevent future loss and it’s often a game of whack-a-mole: “the practice of repeatedly getting rid of something, only to have more of that thing appear.”

Many with total scalp loss feel that a wig is their only option. But reversing alopecia is possible, no matter what type, without the use of any of these dubious treatments.

Just like there is no pattern to the loss, there is no pattern to regrowth, as evidenced here

Since 9 out of 10 with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism), the cause of hair loss can be two-fold:

  1. Hair loss is a hallmark symptom of low thyroid function.
  2. With any manifestation of autoimmunity, antibodies can attack any system, and hair follicles are often the target.  

A true double whammy. But it’s not a hopeless situation.

We can help anyone, anywhere via phone, Skype, and Google Hangout. Contact us to receive the guidance that you need.

Again, you can enter your name and email in the form on the upper left of this page to receive alopecia-specific information and posts, including important updates on my upcoming Reversing Alopecia online group classes – you can participate from anywhere in the world, on your own time. (Estimated launch: early fall 2016.)

The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. It is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional.

You should not use the information on this website for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you have a health condition.