Treatment ranges from cosmetic wigs to medications and hair transplant procedures. Effective treatments are available for some types of hair loss. You may be able to reverse hair loss or at least slow it down. With some conditions, such as irregular hair loss (alopecia areata), hair can grow back without treatment in a year.
Treatments for hair loss include medications and surgery. If hair loss is caused by an underlying disease, treatment for that condition will be necessary. If a certain medication is causing hair loss, your doctor may recommend that you stop using it for a few months. Over-the-counter (non-prescription) minoxidil comes as a liquid, foam, and shampoo.
To be most effective, apply the product to the skin of the scalp once a day for women and twice a day for men. Many people prefer foam that is applied when hair is wet. This medication was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people taking it noticed that their hair grew in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth.
As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved 2% of over-the-counter minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then, a 5% solution has also been available when a stronger solution is needed for a woman's hair loss. Hair loss is often distressing and can have a significant effect on a patient's quality of life. Patients can go to their family doctor first with diffuse or irregular hair loss.
Scarring alopecia is best evaluated by a dermatologist. Nonscarring alopecia can be easily diagnosed and treated in the family doctor's office. Androgenetic alopecia can be clinically diagnosed and treated with minoxidil. Alopecia areata is diagnosed by typical patches of hair loss and is self-limiting.
Ringworm of the head causes patches of alopecia that can be erythematous and scaly and must be treated systemically. Telogen effluvium is a non-inflammatory, non-healing alopecia with a relatively sudden onset caused by physiological or emotional stress. Once the precipitating cause is eliminated, the hair will normally grow back. Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder; treatment aims to control the underlying psychiatric condition.
Trichorrhexis nodosa occurs when hair breaks due to trauma and is often the result of combing hair or overuse of hair products. Anagen effluvium is abnormal diffuse hair loss during the growth phase caused by an event that alters the mitotic activity of the hair follicle, most commonly chemotherapy. Medical support is especially important for patients in this situation. Finasteride and Minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. There are many potential causes of hair loss in women, including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. In both sexes, androgenetic alopecia hair loss occurs due to a genetically determined shortening of the anagen phase, a phase of hair growth, and a lengthening of the time between hair loss and the onset of a new anagen phase. A history and physical examination are usually sufficient to determine a specific etiology of hair loss.
Both medicines stimulate hair growth in some men, but are more effective in preventing the progression of hair loss. Most hair loss in men and women is pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in men and women and is a normal physiological variant. Given the possibility that an androgen-secreting tumor may be involved, it is important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
Researchers still need to conduct more extensive studies on the effects of essential oils on hair growth to determine their effectiveness for other causes of hair loss. In one study, more than 200 men and women who had hereditary hair loss received a laser comb or a simulated device that looked like a laser comb. The AAD states that wearing tight hairstyles such as pigtails, bows or braids can damage the hair and recommends loose hairstyles that don't pull the hair. Hair loss in women can be frustrating, but in recent years there has been an increase in resources to deal with the problem.
However, researchers will need to study larger samples to determine if scalp massages are useful for hair loss. Consult a general practitioner to get a clear idea of what is causing your hair loss before considering going to a commercial hair clinic. The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely it is that treatments can help you regrow your hair. Not all types of hair loss can be treated, but a dermatologist can prevent further hair loss.