According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, approximately 147 million people worldwide have or will develop alopecia areata at some point in their lives. This condition can cause your hair to fall out in patches and cause distress. If you have noticed extra hair on your brush or odd bald spots while looking in the mirror, you might have alopecia. What is alopecia? Are there any treatment options? Scroll down for the answers and more.
What Is Alopecia?
Alopecia is an autoimmune condition that results in hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face. It causes your hair to fall out in patches and can lead to a complete scalp hair loss or even full body hair loss.
Causes Of Alopecia
Alopecia is often caused by genetics, oxidative stress, chemicals, side effects of medicines or treatments, nutrient deficiency, psychological stress, or an illness.
- Genetics: If your parents have a hair loss problem, it is likely that you will as well. While this is more evident in men, women, too, are likely to develop genetically inherited alopecia.
- Oxidative Stress: An imbalance in the production of free radicals causes oxidative stress, which causes hair loss. Oxidative stress can be affected by intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
- Chemicals: While everyone wants their hair to look on point all the time, going overboard with chemical hair treatments and hot styling tools can lead to hair fall.
- Side Effects Of Medicines: Certain medical conditions call for treatments and surgeries. While these treat your condition, the side effects of the treatments can often damage the hair follicles and cause rapid hair fall. Treatments like chemotherapy, steroids, and medication for typhoid, heart diseases, depression, etc. may cause extreme hair fall.
Alopecia was found to be one of the common adverse effects of Voriconazole, an antifungal medicine. Other drugs that may cause hair loss as a side effect include:
- Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids)
- Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
- Birth control pills
- Anti-clotting drugs
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Drugs that suppress the immune system
- Drugs that treat breast cancer and other cancers
- Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
- High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Mood stabilizers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Parkinson’s disease drugs
- Thyroid medications
- Weight loss drugs
What Are The Best Natural Treatments For Alopecia?
- Nutritional support: Minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, chromium, iodine, zinc, and magnesium are necessary to maintain healthy hair growth. Yogurt and soy, dark green vegetables, whole grain products, essential fatty acids, and nuts and seeds are typically the best sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant and nerve protector. Carrots contain high amounts of vitamin A. It is an antioxidant that helps produce healthy sebum in the scalp. Having too much vitamin A can lead to hair loss. There are many other foods that help promote hair growth and prevent hair loss, such as fruits, eggs, spinach, and broccoli.
- DHT Blockers And 5-α-reductase Blockers: The use of herbs that have pronounced DHT or 5-α-reductase blocking activity can be used for the treatment of alopecia.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can be used as a supplement to treat alopecia. It uses highly concentrated extracts, which are derived from the flowers, leaves, bark, and the roots of various plants. As with herbs that are taken orally, the essential oils reach the circulatory system (the blood), where they bind to receptors and change the chemical composition. These oils work not only on a cellular level to strengthen/calm the nervous system, but also on a spiritual one, providing a sense of well-being. Topical herbal therapy stimulates hair follicles, and it is proved as the safest way to cope up with different types of hair loss (alopecia).
In the next section, we have listed out the symptoms of alopecia.
Symptoms Of Alopecia
Here are some of the symptoms of alopecia. If you notice any signs of these, consult your doctor:
- Genetic hair loss in the family
- Severe hair shedding
- Hair thinning
- Hair fall at a particular area on the scalp