Are you losing clumps of hair strands every day? Is hair loss suddenly becoming the biggest cause of concern for you? If your answers are a yes, it is time for you to read about alopecia and hair regrowth after alopecia.
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
What is alopecia?
Alopecia is the medical term for loss of hair from the scalp or body. It can be defined as a common autoimmune disorder that usually results in unpredictable hair loss. During this health condition, people experience loss of hair in small patches that may be noticeable. These small patches may connect over time and start becoming noticeable. Alopecia is a condition that develops when the body’s immune system starts attacking the hair follicles to cause hair loss.
Alopecia is a common disorder that is characterised in men by the presence of hair thinning on the vertex and anterior hairline recession. In women, it manifests with diffuse hair thinning, primarily on the mid-scalp, along with the preservation of the frontal hairline.
Types Of Alopecia
- Androgenic alopecia: It refers to the type of hair loss that can result in baldness at the hairline or crown. However, it generally doesn’t impact hair on the sides and back of the head.
- Alopecia areata: Alopecia areata, unlike androgenic alopecia, doesn’t follow a predictable pattern. Individuals suffering from it experience hair loss in patches from the scalp or other body parts.
- Alopecia totalis: Alopecia areata generally goes away with treatment or on its own but it may develop into Alopecia totalis if not treated. This form of hair loss might happen slowly or quickly and causes all of the scalp hair to fall off.
- Alopecia Universalis: In rare cases, individuals may experience a complete loss of body hair including the eyelashes and eyebrows.
- Alopecia barbae: Individuals may experience hair loss patches on the beard instead of the scalp.
- Cicatricial alopecia (scarring alopecia): In rare cases, the scalp’s hair follicles may get destroyed by inflammation. They are replaced with scar tissue beneath the surface of the skin. Cicatricial alopecia may further be classified into sub-types such as lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia, and folliculitis decalvans.
- Postpartum alopecia: Also referred to as postpartum telogen effluvium, this type of hair loss affects women immediately after giving birth. It is caused by hormonal shifts and is temporary in nature.
- Traction alopecia: Individuals may experience hair loss patches or a receding hairline around the temples. It is usually a result of tight hairstyles such as keeping hair in braids.
What are the causes?
The exact cause of alopecia is not known but it seems that genetics may play a big role in alopecia. Researchers have found that many individuals with alopecia can also have a family or personal history of autoimmune disorders such as thyroiditis, vitiligo, or atopy. It may also be a result of hormonal changes and medical conditions, radiation therapy to the head, hairstyles and treatments, and medications and supplements such as those used for depression, heart problems, gout, cancer, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Extreme cases of stress may trigger alopecia but most researchers concluded alopecia being a genetic cause.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor may diagnose alopecia by examining symptoms. This may include an evaluation to ascertain the degree of hair loss and examine a few hair strands from the affected areas under a microscope. A skin biopsy or a blood test may be recommended to rule out other autoimmune diseases.
Can lost hair grow back? The dermatologist may include a wide range of hair loss treatment options to stimulate hair growth. This may include:
- Topical Agents: The dermatologist may recommend prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications that may be rubbed on the scalp. This may include Minoxidil (Rogaine) that can be applied twice every day to the scalp and topical agents are generally useful for individuals with limited alopecia areata. Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp) may also be recommended to spur hair regrowth. The dermatologist may also recommend corticosteroid creams like clobetasol (Impoyz), ointments, lotions, and foams to reduce hair follicle inflammation. In some cases, topical immunotherapy may be advised in which diphencyprone, a chemical, is applied to the skin for sparking an allergic rash that may induce the growth of new hair.
- Injections: If you are diagnosed with mild and patchy alopecia, the dermatologist may recommend steroid injections for treating alopecia hair loss and stimulating alopecia hair regrowth.
- Oral Treatments: In some instances, the dermatologist may prescribe cortisone tablets or oral immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and methotrexate.
- Light Therapy: The dermatologist may recommend light therapy (also known as phototherapy and photochemotherapy) which is a procedure involving radiation treatment by blending psoralens (an oral medication) and ultraviolet light.
- Mesotherapy: Mesotherapy may be recommended for treating alopecia hair loss and stimulating alopecia hair regrowth. This technique involves the use of enzymes, hormones, vitamins, and plant extracts for rejuvenating scalp skin. The non-surgical alternative for hair regrowth is known to activate hair follicles, treat bald patches, and demonstrate positive alopecia hair regrowth results in both men and women. The entire procedure takes approximately 10-30 minutes depending on the level of hair thinning or area of baldness. Patients ideally take about 5-7 Mesotherapy sessions to experience maximum visible results.
- Low Laser Light Therapy: During this procedure, medical-grade lasers are used for delivering safe and low-level laser light to the patient’s scalp. Low Laser Light Therapy utilises non-thermal effects of low-intensity light at near-infrared or infrared wavelengths for altering photobiomodulation or photobiostimulation (altering biological activity in cells). This is primarily because Low Laser Light Therapy acts on mitochondria that results in a surge of reactive oxygen species levels, induction of transcription factors, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production that produce proteins and activate genes useful to the cell. This procedure is known to prolong the duration of the anagen phase and stimulate anagen re-entry in telogen hair follicles that, in turn, leading to an increase of hair diameter and density as well as a reduction of hair shedding.
Hair loss may be emotionally stressful. Therefore, it is important that you should immediately consult a skilled dermatologist and hair specialist. You may visit SkinQure, one of the best hair clinics in Delhi NCR, to access the foremost treatment for hair loss.