People with alopecia areata handle their hair loss in different ways. Whether you are getting treatment and waiting to see if your hair will regrow or you have chosen not to have treatment, you may want to find ways to camouflage or hide the fact that you are missing hair. Some techniques are temporary (like using a wig) and others are permanent (like tattoos). Regardless of the approach you or your child wants to take, here are some options that may interest you. For the scalp Strategic hair styles If you have patches of hair loss but still a fair amount of hair on your scalp, you may be able to camouflage the bald spots with some strategic hairstyles. You can either experiment on your own or go to a trusted hair stylist who may have suggestions. Your hair stylist has very likely seen others with alopecia areata at some point, so this request won’t be a surprise. Scarves, hats, headbands If you like the look of scarves, there are many options to choose from. You can opt for a scarf you tie around your head or use as a turban, or you can buy scarves or turbans that are already shaped and tied and all you need to do is put them on your head. Salespeople in specialty stores can also show you different ways to style the scarf or turban. You can also search online for videos to learn different scarf techniques. If you like the look of “beanies” or hats, you can find several styles that can be worn inside as well as outside when it’s cold. Headbands don’t cover as much of your scalp as hats do, but they do cover along the top and sides of your head. Headbands can be store-bought or handmade, with fabric or yarn (knitted or crocheted). Hair pieces and wigs If you have enough hair to support a hair piece, this may be an option. Hair pieces augment the hair you have, covering spots where there is hair loss. They can be attached to your remaining hair with combs or clips for daily removal, or they can be weaved in and left for several weeks. An advantage to weaves is they stay in place regardless of your activity, from sleeping to running and swimming. Hair pieces come in a variety of styles. They can add bangs to the front of your face, give fullness to the top or sides, or even give you a ponytail for the back of your head. You could also add bangs to the front of a hat, either sewn in for a permanent head covering or with wig tape so you can move the hair piece to another hat if you want. Larger hair pieces, sometimes called half wigs, are usually attached directly to the bare scalp with wig glue or tape. A toupee is the term usually used for a top piece when it’s used by men to hide hair loss. Full wigs give full coverage over your scalp and they come in many styles and hair colors. Some people with alopecia areata like to have fun with different styles while others choose one and stick with it. The choice is yours. Cranial prosthetics are wigs that are specially fit for an individual who has lost hair due to a medical condition, rather than store-bought wigs. Some people refer to them as medical wigs. If you want insurance reimbursement for a cranial prosthesis, you will need a prescription. Eyebrows Losing your eyebrows can be stressful because it’s not easy to hide. But there are ways you can give the illusion of eyebrows, either temporarily or permanently. Makeup The easiest way to give the illusion of eyebrows is with makeup. You can use eyebrow pencils, following a stencil shape or freehand. If you aren’t sure how to make your eyebrows look their best, most makeup consultants at cosmetic counters can show you how to pick the right color for you and the best way to shape the brow. Tattoos Tattooed eyebrows may be a good solution for someone who doesn’t want to apply makeup every day or worry about it coming off at an inopportune moment. Although they are considered permanent, eyebrow tattoos do fade over time. It is important to choose a tattoo artist who is familiar with doing tattoos on people with medical issues, especially one who is experienced in doing eyebrow tattoos. If you can’t find anyone to give recommendations, perhaps you can contact a local cancer foundation or association to see if they have any recommendations. Keep in mind that not everyone is a candidate for eyebrow tattoos. Please discuss this with your dermatologist first as tattoos should not be applied if you have a skin condition that changes the texture of your skin in the area, such as eczema. Tattooing can also be painful as the spot is just above some bone. It can take a couple of hours for the procedure so you need to be able to sit still for that length of time. There is also a healing period for the tattoos, so be sure to follow your tattoo artist’s instructions for the best possible outcome. Microblading and nano brows Microblading, a type of tattoo, is semi-permanent and lasts around 18 months, but may stay longer. Rather than using a tattoo “gun,” microblading is done with very fine needles, implanting the ink superficially – not as deep as with tattoos. The artist uses the needle to create hair-like strokes. Nano brows are almost the same as microblading, but the technique is different. While microblading is done by hand with fine needles, nano brows are applied with a fine needle attached to a handheld tool. Nano brows can last as long as two and a half years. Like tattoos, microblading and nano brows are not for everyone. People with skin issues like eczema in the brow area or those who have very sensitive skin would not get good results. If you want to explore using these techniques, speak with your dermatologist first to ensure they are safe for you. Eyelashes Eyelashes have an active role in your health – they protect your eyes from dust and grit. Because of this, replacing eyebrows isn’t just for cosmetic reasons. False eyelashes may be a good solution if you have lost some or all of them. There are different types of false eyelashes that attach by glue or magnet. Magnetic eyelashes attach one of two ways. The original ones use two very narrow bar magnets to clamp onto the remaining lashes so you need to have some eyelashes to use them. Keep in mind that these could cause damage to your natural ones, so they may not be the best choice. There are also magnetic lashes that don’t need you to have any of your own. Instead, you first apply a special eyeliner that has iron oxides in it. These attract magnets. Then you place the eyelash with the magnet against the dried liner. Glued eyelashes work the same as magnetic ones with eyeliner. Special eyebrow glue is applied to a narrow band along the eyelash. You then place the eyelash on the edge of your eyelid. You should check to make sure you’re not allergic to the glue before applying these eyelashes for the first time. If you are unsure about the type of eyelashes you would like to use, ask someone at the cosmetic counter for some help.