Treatment Methods For Bald Patches You Need To Know About
If you are stressing about thinning hair or excessive hair loss from your scalp, hold your horses! Stress is only making it worse.
Each one of us experiences hair loss - we lose around 50 to 100 hairs a day, but because new hair is growing at the same time, the change isn’t noticeable. It’s only when there’s no new growth, do we start to see the difference. What causes hair loss in a person will vary from person to person, depending on several factors including genetics, stress, medication, radiation therapy, hormonal changes and lifestyle choices.
Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options available for hair loss and to promote hair regrowth.
Here’s an overview of this condition and how it can be treated:
- Hair loss is a common autoimmune disorder
- Complete hair loss on the scalp is called Alopecia Totalis
- Complete loss throughout the body is referred to as Alopecia Universalis
- It can be caused when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles
- Anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race can get affected
- White people are at higher risk than Asians
- Most common treatment for hair loss is use of Corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory drugs that suppress the immune system
- It is not contagious condition
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a common form of non-scarring alopecia that causes hair to fall out in patches. There may be only a few patches, but they may soon connect and become more prominent. It is a very common disease, accounting for 25 per cent of all alopecia cases. Alopecia areata accounts for 3.8 per cent of new dermatology cases in China, 2-3 percent in the UK and USA, and 0.7 percent in India. The highest prevalence is seen in people between 30-59 years of age.
Symptoms Of Alopecia Areata
While hair loss is the main symptom of alopecia areata, it’s not the only symptom. The most common symptoms of alopecia areata are:
- Loss of all hair on the scalp
- Loss of all hair on the entire body
- Presence of broken hair, black dots, and tapering hair
- Nail changes
- Having multiple autoimmune conditions
What Causes It?
Hair growth happens in four phases:
- Anagen - the active growth phase
- Catagen - the involution phase
- Telogen - the resting phase
- Exogen - This stage differentiates between healthy individuals vs patients
- In normal healthy individuals, hair fall starts after the resting phase when the new hair growth starts (exogen)
- In alopecias, hair shedding occurs even before new hair growth can start, leaving the hair follicle empty (kenogen)
In most cases, patients are asymptomatic, and rarely does pain and/or burning sensation precede hair loss.
Diagnosis For Alopecia Areata
Here are some diagnostic methods used for detecting alopecia areata
- Dry dermoscopy, also called trichoscopy, is ideal for detecting alopecia areata because the device has a blocking filter to prevent light reflection from the skin surface
- Thyroid screening may be of use in long-standing cases, females with persistent patches, and patients with suggestive symptoms of thyroid disease and severe alopecia areata
- The SALT score helps find out the quantity of scalp hair loss. However, it does not include body hair, hair pigmentation, and nail involvement.
The diagnosis for alopecia areata is primarily clinical and does not present difficulty many times. In doubtful cases, Dermoscopy is often most helpful.
Alopecia Areata: How To Treat It?
Most common treatments for alopecia areata include lab-tested and approved corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs that suppress the immune system. Some of these are:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs that are used topically, orally, and parenterally. Topical steroids are the preferred first choice in this treatment because of their ease of application, especially in children.
- Minoxidil is applied twice daily, and is very effective. Studies report young patients respond better than older patients
- Anthralin is an irritant that is effective because of its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. It is applied daily for 2-3 weeks, while gradually increasing contact time daily by five minutes up to one hour
- Topical Immunotherapy works by inducing allergic contact dermatitis by applying contact allergens to the affected skin. Those applying the allergen should wear gloves and aprons, and the treatment method is not recommended during pregnancy
- Mesotherapy is given in the form of intra or subcutaneous injections containing pharmaceutical compounds, homeopathic medicines, vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes
- Photochemotherapy uses specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light for healing effects
For those of you who are stressed out because of hair loss, do not despair. These treatments are effective and do help in resolving the problem to a great extent. However, do consult your doctor before starting the treatment.Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.