ALOPECIA

ALOPECIA

Female alopecia 

(baldness) is the medical term for women’s hair loss. According to the USA National Alopecia Areata Foundation: “It occurs in males and females of all ages and races, but onset most often occurs in childhood. Approximately 6.8 million people in the United States and 147 million worldwide have or will develop alopecia areata at some point in their lives”. We are 7.53bln worldwide. So it’s about 10% of the world’s population and the tendency to develop further is very likely to grow. 

There are two main types of female alopecia:

Alopecia Areata

Definition

It’s an autoimmune disease where the own immune system (white cells) attacks mistakenly the hair follicles taking them as an invader and prevents them from growing. The follicles just become very small and grow no visible for years or months. With alopecia areata, the affected people lose their hair in patches and often it recovers in a period of a year even without treatment but sometimes it falls all from the scalp (alopecia totalis) or from all body (alopecia Universalis). Even if all hair is lost the follicles remain alive and the hair could reappear even after many years once the immune system stops qualifying them as danger.

Effect on people’s overall health

The affected people do not feel any pain. The process has got more psychologically negative effect such as sadness and depression.

Causes

It is believed that alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease and it happens when the body feels discomfort and a big amount of stress when a sad accident occurs or the body has been suffered too long from a great nutrition deficiency.

It could be also related to heredity (it has happened to other family members) or it is related to autoimmune disorders such as diabetes type 1 (people are born with it) or rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease. The latter is caused by eating gluten ( bread, pasta, crackers, beer, etc). 

Treatment 

As I mentioned before people do not ever need treatment as it regrows on its own in a year. But there is plenty of products that could help to speed the process and they are:

Non-traditional

Garlic 
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It removes the toxins from the hair and it has to be applied directly, topically to the hair or as a part of a diet. It should become a part of your daily routine. ALOPECIA 3The problem with garlic is the unpleasant odor, but luckily there are odorless products on the market we can use: ALOPECIA 4

Onion 
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A  small study published in the Journal of Dermatology involved participants who had alopecia areata and it has been found that hair growth started after 2 weeks of using onion juice, which was applied to the scalp twice daily. The regrowth continuously occurred in the next four and six weeks.

The best would be to use onion in its natural look chopped or minced and directly applied to the scalpALOPECIA 7

But if that’s not manageable there already prepared products we can purchase on Amazon:

Gingko Biloba

It stimulates the blood flow hence circulation that is crucial in hair regrowth at the root level. It is used as a daily drink in the form of a tea or topically as a herbal tonic.

ALOPECIA 8ALOPECIA 9According to a study posted on the International Journal of PharmTech Research, this herb leads to “hair regrowth, through combined effects on proliferation and apoptosis of the cells in the hair follicle thus suggesting potential as a hair tonic.”

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known to dermatologists for years. It is a part of a variety of cosmetics. It restores the pH balance, nourishes and moisturizes the hair roots and follicles. The International Journal of PharmTech Research reports that aloe vera “gel is used traditionally for hair loss and for improvement in hair growth following alopecia.”
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Peppermint

This herb also has got a moisturizing, soothing and stimulating hair regrowth follicles effect. It could be used topically applied directly to the hair roots or used as a part of a drink.

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Rosemary

It helps blood circulation at the roo level, premature greying, moisturizing of the roots and thus helping follicles to grow hair.

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Horsetail

Thanks to one of its ingredients silica it helps strengthen the hair and bones. It has to be taken with a lot of water as it is a diuretic. It helps to make hair less brittle which helps to decrease the reasons for hair loss.
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Lavender

The lavender is very well known as a bacterial cleaner. It removes fungus, parasites, toxins from the scalp and thus helps hair regrowth. It is used topically on the scalp in a form of oil and applied by massaging.

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Burdock

This herb is known for its fatty acids and phytosterol that help to soothe the irritated scalp and thus promote a healthy scalp and hair regrowth. It is also used in treating psoriasis.
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Nettle

The most important ingredients of nettle are agglutinin and lectin and it blocks the excessive production of DHT and helps the restoration of hormone balance. It also cleans the scalp from any kind of bacteria and fungus.

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Ginseng

It helps to blood circulation that is needed for hair regrowth and strengthens the hair texture.

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Saw Palmetto

Same as nettle it helps the excessive production of DHT and restoration of hormone balance. If combined with nettle could result in amazing regrowth support.
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Acupuncture

study published on the pages of  Spring Link made by Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science reports that: “Seventy-eight patients were randomly divided into two groups. 43 cases in the treatment group were treated by acupuncture and pricking of plum-blossom needle therapy. 35 cases in the control group were treated with oral administration of Cystine tablets, Vit B1, and topical wash with Minoxidil Solution. The therapeutic effects were assessed after 4-month treatment in the two groups. (.. )The curative effect and total effective rates were 58.1% and 97.7% in the treatment group, and 34.3% and 77.1% in the control group respectively, with statistical differences in the curative rate and total effective rate between the two groups (both P<0.05)”

This terrific outcome leads to the fact that acupuncture mixed with herbs is better than medications in the treatment of alopecia areata.

Medical

Intralesional Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroids that are injected into bare patches of skin with a tiny needle. These injections are repeated about every four to six weeks and are usually given by a dermatologist. The hair regrows in a month but there is no guarantee that it won’t fall again. It is not very painful or if there’s a pain it’s just temporary and disappears after the procedure is done.

Topical Minoxidil

Minoxidil was first found as a cure for high blood pressure but ultimately noticed that it promotes hair regrowth. Traditionally women use a less percentage of 2% but recently this has increased to 5%. With alopecia areata, the effect is been achieved only in a combination with topical corticosteroid medications. I (the author) have heard that there is a dependency on it once started but doing most recent research found in the National Alopecia Areata Foundation made me thinking that it could be stopped.

Anthralin Cream/Ointment

It is applied to the bald patches for 30-60 min or more and afterward washed. It is also been used for psoriasis. The new hair regrows within three months. The disadvantage is the changed skin color to brownish therefore some people use it a shorter period of time that doesn’t affect the outcome.

Topical Corticosteroids

They come in any type or form: gel, lotion, cream, foam, solution and help hair regrowth at 25 %, reduce the hair loss.

Medical  Cosmetics

Ducray

I (the author) am dedicating a lot of attention and space to Ducray as I personally used all of the series and they helped my hair regrowth ( I had a patch above the neck) and improved the texture of my hair overall. It is true that the hair becomes a bit dry, hence use the shampoos in a combination with a conditioner.

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Androgenetic Alopecia

Definition

It is mostly known as a male but is commonly spread amongst women too. Hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape.

“Because the hair loss in androgenetic alopecia is an aberration of the normal hair cycle, according to C. CAROLYN THIEDKE, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 1;67(5):1007-1014, it is reversible. Advanced androgenetic alopecia, however, may not respond to treatment, because the inflammation that surrounds the bulge area of the follicle may irreparably damage the follicular stem cell”

Causes

The reasons are mostly genetic predispositions. For the men, it has been discovered that the reason lies in the androgens. But women with androgenic alopecia have got normal levels instead and researchers tend to think that the hair loss is more common after the menopause as estrogens may stimulate the hair growth. The experiments showed that this again is not certain as some this process of thinning and finally losing hair with women starts at the age of 12 and finishes at 40.

According to Dr. Leona Yip, Research Fellow, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, 2007 in a material found on  DermZet Net. Updated by Prof Rod Sinclair, Melbourne, Australia, July 2015. : “The majority of women affected by FPHL do not have underlying hormonal abnormalities. However, a few women with FPHL are found to have excessive levels of androgens. These women also tend to suffer from acne, irregular menses and excessive facial and body hair. These symptoms are characteristic of the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) although the majority of women with PCOS do not experience hair loss. Less often, congenital adrenal hyperplasia may be responsible”

Effect on people’s overall health

The affected people do not feel any pain. The process has got more psychologically negative effect such as sadness and depression.

Treatment

Medications are the most common treatment for hair loss in women. They include the following:

Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions) Minoxidil was first found as a cure for high blood pressure but ultimately noticed that it promotes hair regrowth. Traditionally women use a less percentage of 2% but recently this has increased to 5%. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. The results could be seen after two months of treatment, even four, to be certain to see a positive outcome plan on a trial of 12 months. With alopecia androgenetic, the case must be different so in order to maintain and sustain the result it should be used regularly. It should be applied directly to the thinning spots with a dropper or spray pump and then leave in the hair for at least 4 hours. It should be paid attention to drops outside the treated areas as they could result in undesired hair growth (cheeks, forehead, neck).

Rogaine is the brand of Minoxidil but the market offers less known brands with the same products. Try to check what they do contain as you need a pure form of minoxidil.

Anti-androgens

Women with excessive levels of androgens, eg women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), might not respond to a minoxidil treatment and are been given anti-androgen drug spironolactone (Aldactone) together with an oral contraceptive for women of reproductive age.  During this treatment, women should not become pregnant as the drugs can cause genital abnormalities in a male baby. There are proven side effects of this way of treatment such as weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.

Iron supplements

People with anemia, heavy menstrual bleeding, vegetarians might have low iron levels. The elimination of this deficiency might stop your hair loss. Do not take iron supplements without a visit to your doctor as such could lead to an upset stomach and constipation.

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Hair transplantation

As there is a lot of new clinique nowadays that do these procedures patients should be careful about what is offered. There are two types of completion:

  1. old fashioned and not looking natural (cheaper): removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head and using it to fill in a bald patch.
  2. follicular (the new trend) – “surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units” (Harvard Medical School)

Telogen Effluvium

It is a form of temporary hair loss that usually happens after stress, a shock, or a traumatic event. It usually occurs on the top of the scalp. The hair on the hairline starts shedding for more than 6 months and becomes really thin. The hair goes through

1. Anagen (growth phase)

2. Catagen (transitional phase)

3. Telogen (resting phase)

With telogen effluvium, the anagen slows down and just 30% of the hair goes to the next stages.

The causes are severe stress, poor diet, sudden weight loss, menopause, surgery, metal toxicity, poor health, pregnancy, and childbirth, certain drugs.

It is reversible by lowering down the stress levels, improving the diet, hormone replacement therapy, eliminating protein and iron deficiencies.

A person with this condition does not lose all their hair, although it may become noticeably thin.

The hair is been restored in the period from three to six months from commencing the treatment.

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