Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. While it is non-life threatening and not physically debilitating, this condition has far-reaching emotional and psychological effects, especially for certain groups like women, teenagers and young adults. Hence, it’s understandable why many alopecia sufferers like you are eager to know if this condition is curable and if completely healing from it is possible.
So, can you ever heal from alopecia? There is always a chance that you’re going to recover from this condition. You may experience hair regrowth and even grow a full head of hair. There is also a possibility for your hair to fall off again after it grows back. Similarly, there’s the likelihood of you fully recovering from alopecia without experiencing any recurrence in the future. At the same time, it is also very possible that you’d experience a lifelong hair growth and hair loss cycle. Suffice it to say, there’s no definitive answer to this question. Time and again, alopecia has proven to be an unpredictable condition, making it difficult for experts to make a precise prognosis.
What’s certain, however, is that getting early and proper treatment typically yields favourable results in terms of arresting the progression of the hair loss and promoting hair regrowth. It is important to note that to properly treat alopecia, an accurate diagnosis of the condition has to be done first.
While the exact cause of alopecia is still not known, certain medical conditions like thyroid disorders and nutritional deficiencies are believed to influence hair loss. Addressing these problems is often the key to preventing the hair loss from progressing and in some cases, eliminating the hair loss problem. This is why a thorough diagnostic procedure performed by a dermatologist or trichologist is an integral part of successfully treating alopecia.
Typically, the diagnostic process involves physical examination of your scalp and remaining hair. Expect the trichologist to get your complete medical history, too. Certain laboratory tests may be done like blood tests and hormonal evaluation to find out if an underlying medical condition is triggering your hair loss. In some cases, hair may be analysed to check for structural changes.
Once an accurate diagnosis of your condition has been done, your specialist is going to prepare a treatment plan for you. Some of the factors that are going to be considered in determining the best treatment for your case are your age, the kind of alopecia you have and the severity of your condition.
There are different types of treatments available for alopecia. For alopecia areata, one of the most common treatments is the injection of corticosteroid into bald areas. This is done at least once a month and administered by a dermatologist or trichologist. Results are usually visible in four weeks.
Topical minoxidil is another treatment used in this condition. Application of a 5% topical minoxidil solution on the affected area is done once or twice a day. Hair growth is usually observed after six to twelve months of use. In some cases, this treatment yields better results when used in conjunction with topical corticosteroid medications.
Another common treatment for alopecia is anthralin cream or ointment. Application of the ointment on the bald patches is done once day. The ointment is then washed off 30 to 60 minutes after it was applied. Hair growth is usually observed in eight to twelve weeks.
For severe cases of alopecia, like alopecia universalis, topical immunotherapy is usually the recommended treatment. Here, immunotherapy drug, which causes allergic rash, is applied on the affected area. Studies show that around 40% of patients using this treatment experience regrowth after six months.
Meanwhile for cases involving large areas of hair loss, Psoralen with Ultraviolet A Light is the recommended treatment method. Psoralen, a drug which increases the skin’s sensitivity to UV light is applied on the hairless areas. Then, these areas are exposed to UVA light.
As mentioned earlier, while the abovementioned treatments may be effective in stimulating hair growth or preventing the hair loss from progressing, they do not cure alopecia. Hence, you may still experience hair loss in the future. Additionally, there’s no single treatment for alopecia. This means what’s effective for others may not be for you. This is why it’s important that you consult a dermatologist or a trichologist to get the appropriate and best treatment for your condition.
Learn more about alopecia treatments, call us at +353 (0)1 6793618 and schedule an appointment with our very experienced trichologist.