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Why is the hair on my face not growing?

Q: I am 42 years old and since a couple of months the hair on my face (around the chin) are not growing. It looks very awkward when I don't shave for 2-3 days. There is no other problem. Please advise what is the cause for this and how to treat this?

A:You could be suffering from Alopecia areata - which can present as round bald patches appearing suddenly, most often affecting the scalp. However, any hair-bearing area can be affected, including eyebrows, eyelashes, beard and body areas. It can occur at any age. Alopecia areata is considered to be one of the autoimmune disorders - lymphocytes around the hair follicles release chemical messengers (called cytokines) that reject the hair for unknown reasons. It is not contagious and is not caused by any food. Like many other health problems, it sometimes starts after a stressful event, but this is not usually the case. Medicines which are often tried include topical steroids,minoxidil, and irritants such as dithranol. Injecting a cortisone medicine into the area of hair loss may speed up the natural re growth of hair. This treatment is known as an ‘intralesional steroid injection’. Sometimes the new hair may regrow grey or white, but after a while the original colour usually returns. There is no way of preventing new areas of hair loss.

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