Finding out that you have alopecia can be disheartening. Chronic hair loss is nerve-wracking and can be difficult to manage. Believe it or not, there are reliable treatment options for this condition that can enable you to finally regain control of your hair.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that results in the loss of patches of hair. Alopecia can either present itself as complete hair loss of the scalp, hair loss in random patches, or even hair loss of the body. Though no one knows the true cause of alopecia, some believe that heredity may play a part. Alopecia at times seems completely random as the hair loss can appear at any time. In some cases, people can experience full (and unexpected) regrowth. Even though there is no cure for alopecia, the symptoms can be easily treated.
Treatment Option #1: Corticosteroids
Corticosteroid injections are used to suppress the immune system. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system is wrongfully attacking the body. In the case of alopecia, the immune system begins to attack healthy hair follicles. The injection will stifle the progress of the immune system keeping it from continuing its attack.
Treatment Option #2: Topical Ointments
There are topical ointments that can be used in the regrowth of hair. These ointments are usually a type of immunotherapy and may contain corticosteroids. It works the same way as the injections do, in that it suppresses the immune system and stops the attack. Applied to the scalp, these ointments often cause a rash that results in hair growth.
Treatment Option #3: Rogaine
Medically called minoxidil, Rogaine is a medicated treatment that is applied to the scalp. Minoxidil, however, is rarely effective on its own and is often used in tandem with topical corticosteroid ointments. Nonetheless, the effects of the treatment appear in about 12 weeks.
Treatment Option #4: Phototherapy
This more modern treatment is still being debated by physicians. However, low level laser therapy (LLLT) is thought to be an effective treatment option for hair loss. It is said that the UltraViolet light from the laser is absorbed by the weakened cells of the hair follicles and stimulates growth.
These treatment options have varying results and every case is different. However, there are several things you can do to help promote hair growth as you undergo treatment.
Tip #1: Wear Hats in the Sun
It is best if you avoid exposing your hair to direct sunlight. Even though ultraviolet therapy can stimulate growth, too much exposure to these rays can have a damaging effect on the hair follicles, thus impeding the progress of hair growth.
Tip #2: Avoid Certain Hair Care Products
Many hair care products contain ingredients that can counteract the effect of your treatment. Products that contain sulfates and parabens are said to promote hair loss. While this isn't scientifically proven, it would be best to use caution when considering the use of these products.
Tip #3: Follow Doctor's Orders
Always follow the orders prescribed to you by your doctor, especially when using medicated ointments. Some topical treatments may have side effects, but they can be minimized if used properly.
If you're in Cincinnati, Ohio or the surrounding area and are suffering from alopecia, our experts at The Dermatology Group are ready to help with resources and treatment options. Give us a call today!