Alopecia Hair Loss Treatment It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs on your scalp every day, but what happens when you lose more than that? Hair loss ranges from a mild thinning of the hair, a receding hairline to total baldness. Hair loss can occur on the scalp or throughout the body. There are many causes of hair loss and it is important to know what causes hair loss to treat it. Let’s take an in-depth look at what causes hair loss and how to deal with it.
What is alopecia hair loss treatment?
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is the excessive loss of hair from your body, usually your scalp. While hair loss sometimes leads to baldness, other times it can simply cause total thinning of the hair. Common types of hair loss include:
Androgenetic alopecia: This type of hair loss is the most common, known as male hair loss or female hair loss. In the United States, it affects more than 50 million men and 30 million women.
Alopecia areata: This autoimmune condition causes hair loss throughout the body and does not develop due to the immune system affecting the hair follicles. This condition can lead to total hair loss.
Anagen effluvium: This is rapid hair loss due to medical treatments that stop the production of follicles, such as chemotherapy. Hair usually grows on its own after treatment.
Cicatricial alopecia: This type of alopecia, also known as scarring alopecia, causes hair loss when inflammation of the hair follicles. The follicle is then labeled and can not produce new hair. There are several types of this rare condition: central centrifugal cell alopecia, scalp cellulitis dissection, disc lupus erythematosus, follicular abalones, flat lichens and frontal fibrosis alopecia.
Hair Shaft Abnormalities: This type of hair loss does not appear in the hair follicle, but rather when the hair breaks somewhere on the hair shaft. Includes:
- Relaxed anorexia nervosa, which causes children to lose their hair easily and not grow beyond their shoulders, usually in lighter hair colors and cleared up during adolescence.
- Trichotillomania is a behavior where the person pulls out their hair and can lead to permanent hair loss if the behavior lasts for a long time.
- Lack of alopecia is another type of hair shaft abnormality in which hair falls out due to a very tight hairstyle, such as braids or ponytails, which lead to hair damage.
Hypothyroidism: This is a rare genetic condition in which a person grows very short hair and usually has no hair until the age of 25.
Telogen effluvium: This condition causes the hair follicles to become inactive and not produce new hair. It often leads to thinness, but necessary baldness. A person with telogen effluvium can lose 300-500 hairs daily. It can occur due to thyroid imbalance, fever, childbirth, change in birth control, lack of vitamins or surgery.
Tinea capitis: This condition, also known as scalp ring, is a fungal infection that causes hair loss and is usually the cause of hair loss in children.
The most common cause of hair loss is genetics and age. At 35, two-thirds of men are affected to some degree by hair loss or baldness. By the age of 50, 85% of men have noticeable hair loss. Alopecia affects 40% of women up to the age of 50. There are many treatment options for hair loss depending on the cause. These may include shampoos, topical medications, hair transplant surgery, and natural remedies.
How is alopecia diagnosed?
There are several reasons for hair loss, so it is important to be diagnosed by a doctor to identify the underlying cause. While a primary care physician may perform some hair loss tests, such as a blood test to determine thyroid levels, a more complete diagnosis will be made by a dermatologist. There are many tests that your dermatologist can do, some of which may include:
A physical examination will help a dermatologist to examine the pattern of hair loss and whether there are any conditions on the scalp, ie redness or scarring. Hair loss can also be measured in either the Ludwig or the Salvin Scale, which is a hair density rating scale. During this period your doctor may ask you questions such as:
- When did you first notice your hair loss / thinning?
- Are you losing your hair from a specific area or is it all hair loss?
- Does anyone in your family have hair loss?
- What medications are you taking?
- Does anything improve / worsen your symptoms?
An adhesion test can be done, where the doctor will pull a section of hair and see how much hair is loosening at the root.
The towing test is another test in which the doctor hangs at the root end of the hair with one hand and pulls from the ends of the hair with the other hand to see if there are cracks in the middle of the strands.
The card can be checked when the doctor holds a card covered with felt and contrasts with the hair color, with the hair roots to see the thickness of the hair, if there is a break in the hair and to determine if there is new growth.
The Folliscope, a new device that is a small portable camera, can automatically assess the density of the hair and the diameter of the hair shaft. It also offers a careful look at the scalp and hair.
Fungal culture is performed for anyone who shows signs of fungus on the cells of the scalp. This is done by taking a scraper or swab from the cells of the scalp.
Perforation biopsy is rarely performed, but is sometimes done when the diagnosis needs to be confirmed. This happens when a small size of tissue is biopsied and sent to the lab, then the incision is sutured.
Blood tests may be done to check for iron deficiency, thyroid disease, or excess androgens (a cause of hormone imbalance in women).
VDRL which is a test for syphilis, as one of the side effects of syphilis is hair loss.
Photographs can be taken to assess current hair loss and document changes or progress in hair growth once treatment has begun.
Hair loss treatments
There are currently many treatments for hair loss. Alopecia hair loss treatment is one of them. Medications for hair loss usually do not completely reverse hair loss. Hair loss caused by chemotherapy or fungal infection can be resolved after the end of chemotherapy or treatment of the fungal infection. There is promising research into 3D printing and stem cells to treat hair loss in the future.