Here’s what you can do to treat hair loss

Hairloss can be a harrowing experience.

Hair disorders which are accompanied by hair loss have been rising in number. Hair loss can either be scarring or non-scarring.

There have also been complaints about scalp conditions such as redness, scaling or drying as well as itching and pain.

Getting to know some common hair disorders

The most common hair disorders include androgenetic alopecia, better known as male or female-pattern baldness and alopecia areata, which is associated with bald patches.

Other hair and scalp disorders that are also common include scalp psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis and fungal infections, also known as tinea capitis.

Androgenetic alopecia is associated with a sensitivity towards testosterone and is usually hereditary.

In females, this condition can appear with elevated androgen, a male hormone, levels and occurs comparatively in conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Acne, increased facial hair, irregular periods and fertility issues can also accompany this condition.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition with a genetic predisposition, where approximately 20% of those who are affected have a family history of the same disorder.

Alopecia areata is associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disorders, lupus and vitiligo.

Methods to treat hair disorders

Minoxidil liquid or foam is often used for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Men can opt to use finasteride tablets.

Women, on the other hand, can consider the use of pills such as spironolactone or cyproterone acetate that block the action of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone with powerful androgenic properties.

It is important to stay protected from exposure to the sun. This can be achieved through the use of wigs and hats, or the application of a sunscreen cream.

Alternatively, there are surgical options which include scalp reduction or hair transplant procedures.

Other methods of treatment include low level laser light treatment or platelet rich plasma (PRP). However, more evidence is needed to support the use of these treatment modalities.

In cases of severe hair loss, using a hairpiece can help provide a better cosmetic effect.

When treating alopecia areata, steroid creams or scalp applications can be used. Use of steroid injections are also effective.

If you are suffering from a severe case of this hair disorder, however, oral medication such as steroids, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, cyclosporine and azathioprine may be used.

Use of topical minoxidil can also encourage hair growth. Other treatment methods used for alopecia areata include contact sensitisation using squaric acid dibutyl ester [SADBE] or diphenylcyclopropenone [DPCP], platelet-rich plasma injections and photochemotherapy.

Caring for your hair

Minimising hair loss requires the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. This includes consuming a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, not smoking and reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

When it comes to hair care, avoid brushing forcefully when your hair is wet. Instead, untangle your hair using a comb or your fingers.

It is also important to reduce the use of hot combs, perms, weaves, chemical relaxers and hair dryers.

Doctors are usually able to diagnose hair disorders quite easily through the examination of symptoms.

This includes the degree of hair loss as well as an examination of hair and scalp from affected areas under a microscope.

If however, your doctor cannot make a diagnosis based on a clinical examination, he/she will then perform a scalp biopsy.To rule out autoimmune diseases, a blood test can be done as well.

Therefore, since the symptoms of hair disorders are distinctive in nature, seek consultation with a doctor as soon as possible in order to get it treated effectively.

This article first appeared in Hello Doktor. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.