Tue. Nov 30th, 2021
Alopecia Causes & Treatment

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is a condition that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its hair follicles, causing hair loss. The hair loss is patchy and can occur all over the body. The hair may regrow, and it may or may not fall out again.

Dealing with alopecia can be frustrating as the nature of losing is different from normal hair loss. It can affect anyone regardless of gender or age. Normally Hair loss can start at almost any age as you enter adulthood. You can start losing your hair as early as your late teens and early 20s up to 50 years. However, one must distinguish between normal shedding of hair and Alopecia in which person losses hair in patches.

People typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually isn’t noticeable because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when new hair doesn’t replace the hair that has fallen out.

What Causes Alopecia?

Typically, Alopecia results from abnormal autoimmune condition in which for unknown reasons, the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Other significant causes of Alopecia are

  • Family history (heredity).The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition that happens with aging. A receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.
  • Hormonal changes A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems.
  • Medications and supplements.Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure.
  • Radiation therapy to the head.The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.
  • A very stressful event.Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.
  • Hairstyles and treatments.Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss. Hot-oil hair treatments and permanents also can cause hair to fall out.

Medical Recommendations & Treatments for Alopecia

As alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, several treatments involve the use of immunosuppressant drugs. Other forms of treatment involve stimulating hair growth. This works best for those with less severe hair loss. Most of the treatments involve keeping the immune system from attacking the hair follicles.

Every individual has a unique chemical composition and medicine resistance. No two individual suffering with alopecia are bound to show same symptoms or effectiveness towards a certain treatment that’s why it is important to consult a trusted doctor to help decide which option is best for you.

To make our selection of the best alopecia treatments, our team consulted medical professionals and dermatologists for their recommendations.

 

  • Best for: Extensive alopecia areata, including alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis

Topical immunotherapy involves applying chemicals directly to the scalp in order to cause an allergic reaction. In turn, this stimulates the immune system and aids hair growth. Chemicals used in this way might include diphencyprone, dinitrochlorobenzene, and squaric acid dibutyl ester.

  • Best for: Mild alopecia areata

Minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine, is a topical treatment that’s easy to apply and can be easily purchased over the counter. Minoxidil works to help the hair grow faster once the follicle is no longer under attack by the immune system and is capable of producing hair. Typically, topical minoxidil solutions come in strengths of 2 or 5 percent. You apply the treatment directly to the scalp, or any area it’s required, once or twice per day.

It works by encouraging blood flow to hair follicles, stimulating dormant follicles, and aiding hair growth. You can also get minoxidil sent to you monthly.

  • Best for: Mild alopecia areata.

Anthralin cream was originally used as a treatment for psoriasis, but was also found to be effective in the treatment of mild alopecia areata. Known as a “scalp sensitizer,” anthralin creates an irritant reaction which stimulates the immune system and encourages hair growth. You apply anthralin once per day directly to the scalp in areas where you want to encourage hair growth. You leave it on for a set period of time and then wash it off.

  • Best for: Mild alopecia areata

Corticosteroid Injections are often used in the treatment of alopecia areata, as they work by modulating immune system activity and lowering inflammation. People with alopecia areata develop hair loss when their immune systems attack the body’s natural processes. Corticosteroids work to prevent these attacks from happening. Corticosteroids mimic cortisol, the hormone naturally produced by the body’s adrenal glands. They’re injected into the sites of hair loss to encourage new growth.

  • Best for: Extensive alopecia areata, including alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis

While corticosteroid injections are more effective, you may be able to use the medication as a topical ointment or take it orally as a pill. Much like its other forms, oral corticosteroids work by suppressing the immune system and inflammation in the body, which in turn encourages hair regrowth.

By Angela Harrison

Angela has acquired her diploma in Advanced hairstyling and hair color treatments. Currently, she is associated with Hair style bob as a senior hairstylist. She has participated in multiple hairstyling competitions and won the best hairstylist award of the year from couture week. Her keen observing nature and experience in the field help her discern the various hairstyles and techniques that complement and suit the face cuts and features of her clients. She advises her clients to explore and opt for hairstyles that best describe their personalities and enhance their natural features. Her fashion mantra is to keep it trendy, classy yet a little bit experimental. Because she believes experimenting with new colors and themes is how you can add charisma and fun to your overall personality. She offers hairstyles from daily routine to office going to school going teens to formal events. She shares her golden hairstyle tips through her articles and blog posts. For more updates on hairstyles and trendy hair, colors keep following her.

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