Loss of hair occurs to both men and women at some point in their life cycle, especially as they age. It might be concerning when an individual starts to lose hair in their twenties, but early hair loss is not unusual. The majority of factors that could be causing hair thinning are reversible. A dermatologist’s diagnosis could enable treatment, which will prevent hair from thinning and boost its growth.
The Benefits of Early Treatment
The medical term for permanent or temporary hair loss is alopecia. The factors that cause this condition include:
• Eating Disorder
• Thyroid Disorder
• Extreme Usage of Hair products
• Hair Pulling Disorder
• Hereditary Factors
• Hormonal Factors
• Autoimmune Diseases
A visit to a dermatologist will enable the determination of the factor causing hair to thin. The dermatologist can decide whether the thinning is reversible or not by conducting a biopsy of the scalp, a test on the iron levels, on complete blood count (CBC), and a thyroid function test. The dermatologist will then advise on the appropriate treatment.
Hair Loss Treatments
Alopecia caused by underlying disorders and medical conditions is reversible by treating the underlying factor. For instance, alopecia caused by having an eating disorder is probably because the individual is not consuming enough proteins and hence creating a deficiency in keratin, a protein found in hair. Keratin deficiency will hinder the growth of hair follicles. Curing the disorder and eating a healthy, balanced diet will also prevent further hair loss and stimulate regrowth. Autoimmune diseases like lupus or arthritis cause the body to produce antibodies in a bid to protect the body, except in these cases, the fight is against the body’s own tissues. Autoimmune diseases hinder hair growth by preventing normal bodily functioning. Therefore, administering treatment for any autoimmune disease could have a positive effect on the alopecia too. Choosing the appropriate hair treatment products and using them moderately can also enable regrowth.
Alopecia is curable with over-the-counter medications, which include:
Minoxidil is appropriate for treating pattern baldness. This drug was initially prescribed to treat high blood pressure until researchers discovered that it has a side effect of stimulating hair growth. Minoxidil lotion is applied on the scalp and will increase blood flow, which will improve the nourishment of hair follicles and stimulate growth. However, minoxidil will not be of any assistance if your hair is thinning due to a hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, the drug’s effect is temporary, so hair thinning will continue when usage is suspended.
The mechanism employed in hair transplantation is the harvesting of hair follicles chosen for their resistance to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which normally inhibits the growth of hair follicles. Hair follicles are transplanted after the minuscule plugs of skin are removed on the balding areas, and then the follicles are distributed evenly along the scalp. Hair transplantation is, however, an expensive and painful process. There is also a risk of scarring.
Finasteride inhibits the type II 5-alpha-reductase enzyme that is responsible for increasing and stimulating DHT production. As DHT levels are reduced, the inhibition of hair follicle growth is minimized. A supplement for finasteride is dutasteride, which inhibits both type II 5-alpha-reductase and type I 5-alpha-reductase. Therefore, DHT levels are reduced even lower. However, finasteride and dutasteride only work on men.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy stimulates epidermal cells in the hair follicle to elongate, hence stimulating growth through a light and heat treatment. Studies have found this treatment to be effective for both men and women.
Stimulating hair growth will be potentially tricky when treatment is administered late, as the damage might be irreversible at that stage. An early visit to a dermatologist will enable early diagnosis. Remember, alopecia is curable when still in its early stage. Do not wait until you are bald.