Some people can be seen intentionally doing the bald look as some type of “fashion style”, more than likely because they know their hair will grow back. But for a good number of people especially men who are 30 and older, going bald can be a real nightmare. This nightmare might have begun since childhood – it’s alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata is classified as a disease wherein the body attacks the hair follicles as if they are foreign. The body’s antibodies called T-lymphocytes attack each hair follicle preventing the growth of new hair and force them to enter into the resting phase or telogen. When the telogen phase is over (lasting approximately three months) the hair begins falling off. It’s only when the T-lymphocytes cells cease assaulting the hair follicles can hair regrow.
The alopecia areata disease initially starts off as an inch-wide bald patch on the head and gradually recedes over time. Hair loss of this type affects both women and men equally, which often began since their childhood.
Alopecia areata causes are unknown. Yet in America, this disease affects one person in every 100 at some point in their lifetime. Most people with this condition experience only one regrowth after the hair shed off. However, the condition usually recurs and becomes permanent. The disease has four types known according to the severity of each case:
1. Alopecia areata – describes a mild hair loss condition on the scalp that is usually an inch across.
2. Alopecia totalis – people with this hair loss disease lose all of the hair on their scalps.
3. Alopecia universalis – if you have this hair loss type, all of the hairs on your body including your scalp shed off.
4. Alopecia areata barbae – this mild hair loss condition is limited only to the beard with one or more bald patches.
Best Treatments For Alopecia Areata
Unfortunately, there isn’t any cure for this disease yet, though, there are treatments. These treatments should be continuous until the condition stops, which in most cases is after a couple years even without treatments. There is a certain alopecia areata treatment for patients who have not shed 50 percent of their hair, while there is a specific treatment for patients experiencing more than 50 percent hair loss.
Patients with mild cases of alopecia areata should take cortocosteroid (cortisone) lotion or cream massaged on the bald spots. Alternatively, a more potent form of cortocosteriod is injected directly on the scalp to prevent hair loss and promote regrowth.
Dithranol is best known for its effectiveness in treating psoriasis, but is also prescribed to patients with alopecia areata. This alopecia areata treatment takes the form of an ointment that, likewise, is applied on the bald areas to prevent further cell division as well as hinders the excessive growth of skin at the top layer.
Retin A (Tretinoin) is well known for treating acne vulgaris but is now increasingly used for the treatment of alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia. The commercial form of retin-A is in a gel form that is massaged on the area. Doctors often prescribe retin-A along with the topical form of minoxidil: minoxidil in the morning and retin-A in the evening.
Minoxidil (Rogaine, Regaine, or Headway) are topical treatments for people with androgenetic alopecia or the genetic hair loss, but also applies to mild alopecia areata. Unfortunately, minoxidil is ineffective in people who have lost 100 percent of their hair, since it only acts as a temporary treatment.
Finasteride (Propecia) are the alopecia areata pills that have been effectively helping men and women with their hair loss problems. The FDA approved finasteride as treatment for hair loss since 1997. This treatment acts by blocking Type 2, 5-alpha reductase (an enzyme in the skin) that lies inside the scalp cells, and converts into dihydrotestosterone or DHT (the active form of male hormone, testosterone).
Hair loss is considered a typical occurrence especially among adults. In spite of that, though, having more hair is still, inarguably, much better.