Hair loss or Alopecia is a condition which can affect men and women of all ages. Though in itself alopecia is a serious or life threating condition, it can be a symptom of something much worse. It can also be caused by medical treatments such as chemotherapy used to treat many cancer patients. Hair loss can be embarrassing for both men and women, and completely shatter our self-confidence. Luckily there are some treatment options out there.
Male pattern baldness is a form of alopecia that normally affects older men. The condition is believed to be genetic and so far there is no substantial cure for it. Medicines such as finasteride, which is available in tablet form on private prescription from your GP, may be effective at treating male pattern baldness, but the effects vary from person to person, working well on some and having no effect on others. There are also very expensive and without the guarantee that they will work many men are put off buying them.
Creams and lotions like Minoxidil may also help to treat alopecia. Minoxidil is available as a lotion which you massage into your scalp every day. It is available from pharmacies without a prescription. Tests have shown it can encourage hair in some men, though how it works exactly is still unknown. Minoxidil is currently the only treatment which can be used for treating female pattern baldness. It will take several months before you see any results from Minoxidil, if you even see any at all, so you need to be patient.
Another possible treatment is Corticosteroid injections although this generally only used in cases of alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is thought to be caused as a result of damage to the hair follicles from the body’s immune system. The steroids in these injections help to suppress the immune system thus reducing the damage to the hair follicles. Corticosteroid can also be administered topically in cream, gel or foam form.
More recently, ultra violet light has been used to treat baldness. Though these treatments are usual expensive and ineffective, as well as causing a lot of unwanted side effects such as nausea and an increased risk of skin cancer!
For a lot of people these treatments simply don’t work! Other non-medical solutions to hair loss include wigs, tattooing and hair transplants. Wigs can be a life saver for those suffering from temporary alopecia, they come in a variety of materials from synthetic to real human hair as well as different colours and styles. You can have a lot of fun with wigs, experimenting with different hair styles you would normally be too afraid to commit to. For those of you looking for a more permanent solution you might want to consider a hair transplant, although this kind of surgery doesn’t come treat. Tattooing is also an option for those of you with sort hair. Tattoo ink matching your hair colour can be used to cover up thinning and balding patches.