Alopecia literally means loss of hair and is often used as a general discription. Because you can lose hair from different parts of the body there are specific terms that specify where the hair loss is. Here is a list of some the more common subcategories:
- Alopecia Androgenetica (male pattern baldness)
- Alopecia Totalis
- Alopecia Areata
- Alopecia Traction
- Alopecia Universalis
- Alopecia Mucinosa
- Alopecia Barbae
Alopecia which can also be called baldness or thinning hair is hair loss from different parts the body or the head. An example is Alopecia Barbae which is hair loss on a man from the beard area. It can also be referred to as patch baldness or spot baldness. There are many several types of alopecia. It usually occurs with sudden loss of hair making patches visible on the scalp or the body.
Common causes are:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Damaged hair follicles or hair shafts
- Fungal infections
- Routines for hairstyles for example braids or ponytails.
- Hair relaxers
- Hot hair irons
- Iron deficiency
Having thin hair is very frustrating and if Alopecia is untreated or if it does not respond to medication, total baldness can occur in the area that is affected.
Alopecia treatment depends on the type of alopecia and the stage it has reached. Some forms of alopecia heal or correct itself.
Minoxidil which is marketed as Rogaine which is a non prescription medication for both adults and children treats both Alopecia Areata and Androgenetic Alopecia, known as male pattern baldness. It comes in both foam or liquid form and is rubbed in twice a day on the scalp. It is the most effective way for treating both female and male pattern hair loss. This treatment has to be continued since if it is stopped hair loss occurs again. Its side effects include allergic contact dermatitis, mild scalp irritation, etc.
Another treatment is Intralesional Lucocorticoid injections. When there is limited scalp involvement, this is the most common Alopecia treatment. The doctor uses 0.1 millilitres or less which is then injected into the mid dermis and hair growth is recorded in one month. When using this treatment it is advisable to be careful about the injecting needle since deep injections into the dermis result in skin atrophy locally.
Using Finasteride Propecia which is a pill taken daily for male pattern loss of hair. This treatment is for males only and is not good for pregnant women.This treatment takes 6-8 months. Its side effects include myopathy, gynecomastia, ejaculatory dysfunction, etc. This treatment should be continued if you’re getting positive results since stopping the treatment will lead to hair loss.
Egg oil is also another treatment for Alopecia. Egg oil promotes new hair growth, retards premature graying, reduces hair loss and nourishes the scalp. It also assists in improving hair texture making it to be thicker, prevents split ends and reduces dandruff.
Alopecia can also be treated using Anthralin cream or ointment. It is applied and washed off daily. It is mainly used for children because it is safe. Growth of hair is recorded within 2-3 months. It is used most of the times for treating Psoriasis. This treatment takes up to 3 months for results to be noted.
Alopecia is also treated by surgery. One can use available options for example scalp flaps, alopecia reduction and follicle transplant. These options are not only painful but also expensive. If you use this treatment option you risk scarring and infection. In this case hair transplant can be done by the surgeon by taking tiny skin plugs which have few hairs. These hair plugs are implanted into the affected areas.
Where to find help:
National Alopecia Areata Foundation based in San Rafael California is dedicated to the discovery of a cure or treatment for Alopecia.
If you know or any other resources please let us know.