Types of Hair Loss and Their Basic Treatments
Hair loss varies in type and severity. The most common type is the pattern baldness that affects men and women. Male-pattern baldness is distinguished by complete hair loss or a receding hairline with thinning of hair on the temples and crown. In women, pattern baldness is described as a thinning of hair on the top of the head. Medically termed as androgenic or androgenetic alopecia, pattern baldness is hereditary and runs from one generation to the next.
Here are the other types of hair loss:
Alopecia areata (AA) is believed to be an autoimmune disease wherein the person’s immune system attacks the hair follicles. This type of hair loss appears as round, smooth bald patches on a person’s scalp. Some people may have one bald patch (alopecia areata monolocularis) while others can have two or more patches.
Affecting men, women and children, alopecia areata can progress in two different forms:
1. Alopecia totalis – All hair on the scalp is completely gone.
2. Alopecia universalis – As well as the total absence of hair on the scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows are lost too.
Self-diagnosis of alopecia areata can be tricky. Some people affected with AA felt itching and burning on their bald spot, but you may not. A visit to the doctor for confirmation is a must. The specialist will begin diagnosis by examining the bald patch for any exclamation point hairs. These sharp spears of hair are formed by partially damaged hair follicles and look quite different from healthy hair. The doctor may also pull out a hair strand along a bald patch to determine if you really have AA. Healthy hair is hard to extract but hair inflicted with alopecia areata can be removed effortlessly.
The great thing about being diagnosed with alopecia areata is that it is 90% temporary. This means that hair would eventually grow back even without treatment. However if treatment is necessary, options include:
1. Minoxidil – Applied directly on the bald spot, this medication helps stimulate hair growth.
2. Steroids – This treatment is prescribed to stop the cells from destroying all your hair follicles. It can be taken orally, injected, or applied directly to the patches.
3. Cyclosporine – An immunosuppressant that’s potent enough to impede hair follicle-attacking T Cells, cyclosporine can help restart hair growth.