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What Can Be Done to Fight Alopecia?

The medical word for hair loss is alopecia.  Alopecia is a general term, and, despite incorrect usage of the word by many media outlets, is not a specific diagnosis per-se. There are multitudes of causes for hair loss and it can occur anywhere on the body where hair grows.  Some types of alopecia are temporary and can potentially be treated, while others are permanent.

 

Categories

Dermatologists generally group hair loss into the categories of scarring vs non-scarring alopecia.

With scarring alopecia, the hair unit (called the hair follicle) is destroyed and can no longer produce a hair.  Given that the number of hair follicles throughout the body is determined and fixed at birth, once a hair follicle is destroyed, it is gone forever and will not be replaced.  Therefore scarring alopecia is permanent, unless new hairs are transplanted into the area.  Some causes of scarring alopecia include trauma (burns, chemicals, hot combs, injury), excessive and prolonged traction (tight hairstyles, braids), and a variety of inflammatory skin disorders (lupus, lichen planus, folliculitis decalvans, et al)

With non-scarring alopecia, the hair follicle generally remains intact, however the hair shaft is either not produced, not produced correctly, or the follicle itself is miniaturized.  With this type of alopecia, regrowth of hair is theoretically possible, although at times it is not able to be achieved.  Several causes of this type of hair loss include androgenic alopecia (male and female pattern hair loss), alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, chemotherapy-induced alopecia, thyroid disease, among others.

Patients regularly present to dermatologists concerned about hair loss, especially on the scalp.  Hair loss in this area may be not only noticeable to patients, but, when significant, can be obvious to others as well.  Unexpected, and especially unexplained scalp hair loss can cause anxiety, embarrassment, and even depression in those suffering from such.  Alopecia of the scalp hair can be especially stressful for women.  And while most all dermatologists understand these concerns, improving the situation is often one of the most challenging things we deal with as specialists.

Common Types of Alopecia

Treatment of Alopecias

Treating and improving hair loss can be one of the most difficult challenges in dermatology.

Aside from transplants, there is no way to improve any of the scarring alopecias.  Addressing these generally involves controlling the underlying cause to limit the extent of hair loss as much as possible. However, as mentioned previously, the non-scarring alopecias are theoretically treatable, although the amount of improvement may be variable.  The types and methods of treatment are diverse and are dependent on the underlying cause.  This is why it is important to be evaluated by a dermatologist, a doctor who is specifically trained in addressing hair loss.

Alopecia Treatment in Lake Worth, Texas

If you suffer from hair loss and want to find a way to improve such, it’s time to see an expert. The earlier you seek to address your hair loss, the better chance you have at improvement. At Lakeview Dermatology, we can create a treatment plan to help address all types of alopecia. Contact us by calling (817) 752-5256 or request an appointment online.

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