Alopecia or hair loss is not a disease. It is a natural condition which everyone is going to experience later on in life. This is because hair loss is an inevitable part of the ageing process. In men, alopecia often leads to balding. In women, it is usually characterised by hair thinning and/or widening of part.
Just how prevalent is alopecia? According to reports, 50% of men over 50 and 50% of women over 65 experience hair loss. Yet, despite how common it is, there is still a shame-inducing stigma associated with alopecia. This is partly because, for most people, their hair is an integral part of how they look. Hence, without it, they feel less attractive.
It is also important to note that, while some alopecia progress slowly, others happen rapidly and result in sufferers having bald patches or even losing all the hair on their scalp like in alopecia totalis. There are also those who lose all the hair in their body – eyebrow, arms, legs, etc. This can be a traumatising experience.
So, while alopecia is not physically debilitating and life threatening, sufferers struggle to deal with this condition. In fact, many of those with alopecia, regardless of their age or sex, become emotionally devastated. The condition also negatively affects their self-esteem.
What Are the Treatments for Alopecia?
Hair loss have different causes. Hence, treatment is dependent on the reason behind the alopecia. Vitamin and other nutritional deficiency may lead to hair loss. This is why, in order to address the problem, supplements may be given. Having an unbalanced diet, particularly one that is low on protein, is linked to excessive hair shedding. In this case, dietary changes may be recommended to correct the problem.
Certain illnesses like thyroid problems, polycystic ovary syndrome and anaemia may also account for hair loss. Treating these diseases is the key to stopping the hair from falling off. Similarly, hair loss due to trichotillomania is treated by ending the hair pulling behaviour which is often accomplished with therapy.
In cases like telogen effluvium and traction alopecia, the problem usually resolves itself on its own or if the trigger is eliminated. For traction alopecia, this means abandoning tight hair styles and the excessive use of blowers or hair straighteners.
Meanwhile, the treatments for alopecia areata (AA) and male or female pattern baldness include medications which promote hair growth. These come in the form of topical lotions, injectables and pills. These medications are not exclusively for alopecia areata and hereditary pattern baldness sufferers. They may also be recommended for those with other types of alopecia to stimulate hair regrowth.
Medications for alopecia do not deliver results overnight; they take time. In fact, in some cases, it takes at least six months to a year before results become visible. It is also important to note that, while hair may grow, this does not mean that the problem can no longer recur. Keep in mind, hair loss due to alopecia areata and hereditary pattern baldness are not curable. In AA, it is not unusual for sufferers to regrow a full head of hair and shed it later on. Similarly, treatments for hereditary pattern baldness are meant to slow down its progression and not to stop it completely.
It goes without saying that, when it comes to treating alopecia, proper diagnosis is crucial. This is why it is imperative for those experiencing excessive hair loss to see a trusted dermatologist immediately.
Learn more about what treatments are available for alopecia. Call us at (0)1 6793618 and schedule an appoint with our dermatologist.