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Treatments of various types of alopecia
The word alopecia just means “hair loss”. It does not refer to any specific hair loss disease. Alopecia can be of two types
  • Permanent alopecia
  • Non-permanent alopecia
Permanent alopecia is irreversible as the hair loss is associated with the destruction of the hair follicle bulge area which is in the mid portion of the follicle. Non permanent alopecia is a reversible type of hair loss where the chances for hair regrowth are more likely.

Scarring alopecia falls under the category of permanent alopecia which is generally irreversible. Telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium and alopecia areata fall under the category of non-permanent alopecias.

There are several safe, affordable hair loss control drugs currently available in the market. These drugs can be effective in controlling both permanent and non-permanent alopecia. Some of these hair loss drugs have even been approved by the FDA for the treatment of severe hair loss conditions like alopecia areata or scarring alopecia.

But first and foremost, any individual suffering from acute hair loss must determine the exact causes through a detailed diagnostic procedure. Once the real reasons behind the severe hair loss are determined then the appropriate hair loss control treatments can be used.

This article highlights some of the important hair loss control treatments for:
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Alopecia areata
  • Scarring alopecia
Hair loss control for telogen effluvium
The treatment of telogen effluvium depends on the causes. This severe form of alopecia can be caused by several reasons like major surgery. When surgery is the reason the best response is to wait for the follicles to recover of their own accord.

But sometimes a specific causal factor cannot be identified. If this is the case, there are few treatment options. Most dermatologists resort to prescribing minoxidil. Minoxidil is a direct hair growth stimulator; it promotes the telogen hair follicles to follow their normal cyclical growth by inducing the anagen growth phase.

Minoxidil can work well for some individuals with telogen effluvium. Until the underlying cause of TE is resolved, minoxidil use has to be continued to block the redevelopment of the hair disease. Once the promoting trigger of the severe hair disease is removed, minoxidil use can be stopped.

Hair loss control For Anagen Effluvium
Another type of effluvium called anagen effluvium also involves the shedding of a large amount of hair. It is mainly caused by various cancer drugs and treatments. The only practical hair loss control procedure is to complete the cancer drug treatment course. Once the cancer drug treatment is stopped, hair begins its normal growth again.

Hair loss control of alopecia areata
There are a range of treatments for alopecia areata (AA), but none are effective for everyone. Some people with AA just don’t respond to any treatment. Also some of the available treatments have a high risk of side effects and so they are often not used to treat children.

The most common treatment approach involves the use of corticosteroids. Corticosteroid creams applied to the bald patches are popular with the average dermatologist, although this treatment approach is only successful for very mild cases of alopecia areata.

Another more potent approach to this severe hair disease is to inject corticosteroid solutions in to the bald patches. This can work well for some people, but close monitoring is required to prevent side effects, like skin thinning at the site of injection. In some cases, where the AA is extensive, systemic corticosteroids are used.

Systemic corticosteroids again cannot be used continuously as they can have significant side effects like bone thinning. But they can be used with short term “pulse therapy” in order to have better effects on the scalp. More specialized treatment approaches involve the application of contact sensitizing chemicals to the skin or treatment by PUVA or phototherapy.

There is no permanent cure for alopecia areata and there is no universally proven therapy for inducing remission. There are a range of therapies for which partial success has been claimed but as soon as any of the therapies are stopped alopecia areata returns. All the current treatments are more effective in those who are experiencing milder forms of the disease. They are less effective in people with extensive hair loss.

Hair loss control for Scarring Alopecia
The treatment of scarring alopecia should be quite aggressive as it involves a lot of damage and permanent hair loss. The nature of treatment varies depending on the particular diagnosis.

Treatment of the lymphocytes infected scarring alopecia involves the use of oral medications like hydroxychloroquine, doxycycline, mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine, or corticosteroids. Topical medications may include corticosteroids, topical tacrolimus, topical pimecrolimus, etc.

Treatment of the neutrophilic or mixed group of primary scarring alopecias involve the use of oral antibiotics. Topical antibiotics can be used as a supplement to the oral treatments. This treatment removes the predominant microbes that can be involved in the inflammatory process. Isotretinoin is sometimes helpful in controlling the neutrophilic group of inflammatory cells.

More experimentally, drugs like methotrexate, tacrolimus, cyclosporin and even thalidomide have been used to treat some forms of scarring alopecia. Once a scarring alopecia has reached the burnt out stage and there has been no more hair loss for a few years, bald areas can be removed surgically. If they are not too big, bald patches can be covered with a hair transplant which involves taking the hair follicles from unaffected areas and surgically implanting them into bald areas.

Before you start any hair loss control treatment, you should discuss the same with your dermatologist who will also explain the potential side effects. Also, sometimes you may be need to be monitored during the course of treatment to examine the effects of the medications.


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