Alopecia areata is a disease characterized by hair loss which occurs in bald patches. In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a coin.
Treatment for Alopecia Areata – Hair Loss
Alopecia areata often causes considerable embarrassment in the affected individuals. Many people suffering from this condition may resort to the use of hair care shampoos and hair care oils that are widely advertised and easily available in the supermarkets. However, before starting any kind of hair care treatment, it is extremely important to consult your family doctor. The health care professional will make proper diagnosis of the condition and refer you to a dermatologist for advanced treatment.
Treatment of alopecia areata with the help of steroids
The most widely used form of treatment for alopecia areata is steroids. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the hair follicles. Steroids help to suppress the abnormal immune reactions that result in the patchy unexplained hair loss. But in the process of curing alopecia areata the steroids may suppress the normal immune reactions as well. In many cases the dermatologist will prescribe giving steroid injections on the patchy bad spots on the scalp. This usually gives excellent results.
The individual receiving this type of treatment usually reports fewer incidences of hair loss and increased hair regrowth. However, in cases of extensive and rapidly progressive alopecia areata, the dermatologist may look into prescribing steroid tablets instead of the steroid injections. Steroid treatment is often successful but it does not suit everyone. Many people receiving the steroid treatment have often reported increased hair loss as soon as the treatment is stopped. Also, one of the major side effects from any steroid use is thinning of the skin.
Use of topical irritants in the treatment of Alopecia Areata
In cases of alopecia areata where the individual does not respond well to the treatment of steroids, the dermatologist may prescribe the use of topical irritant or immunotherapy. In this type of treatment, the topical irritant is applied directly to the bald spots on the scalp. Other types of irritants frequently used in the treatment for alopecia areata include dithranol and salicylic acid.
Some dermatologists prefer to use immunotherapy agents such as diphenylcyclopropenone (DCP). These agents function to divert the immune attacks toward the skin surface and away from the hair bulb. This facilitates the growth of hair on the bald spots. Some individuals may complain of mild to severe reactions to these treatments. Topical irritants are not suitable for everyone. These treatments would need to be used for several months in order to achieve the desired results for hair growth.
PUVA therapy can also be used to treat Alopecia Areata
Another treatment alternative is PUVA therapy, which requires visits to the doctor’s surgery 3 times per week for treatment with ultraviolet light.