Alopecia is a name for progressive hair loss. Gradual development of this condition eventually leads to baldness. There are several types of alopecia, and they all may have different manifestations. For example, diffuse alopecia is characterized by thinning hair on the head. Alopecia localis (patchy alopecia) involves complete absence of the hair on certain skin areas ("patches"). Androgenic type is associated with the level of male hormones in the body. Complete baldness or hair absence in a certain area are caused by total alopecia. Men and women are exposed to different types of alopecia. The condition has a pronounced cosmetic defect, which often results in a serious psychological problem.
Causes and onset of the disease
There are plenty of causes that can lead to alopecia. Quite often, it is triggered by physiological changes in the body, for example, during pregnancy or after childbirth. Administration of particular medicines can also be a potential factor to cause the condition. Long-term intake of retinoids, oral contraceptives and drugs that decrease blood clotting ability can cause alopecia. Stressful situations and endocrine system disorders can increase the risk of the disease appearance.
The density of the hair coat is dependent on the iron and zinc level in the body. Deficiency of these elements may have a negative impact on a healthy growth of the hair.
As a rule, alopecia begins with gradual appearance of small bald patches in the parietal or frontal parts of the head. The skin in these areas acquires gloss. Hair follicles in the affected area atrophy and fall out. However, single untouched hairs can preserve in the balding skin area.
Pathogenetic hair loss can be a result of mycosis, radiation therapy, poisoning with bismuth, arsenic, gold, thallium or boric acid.
How to treat alopecia
Treatment for alopecia includes vitamin and multivitamin therapy, intake of fitin, biotin, immunocorrecting medicines (for example, decaris or tactivin). Quite often, the patients are prescribed to use medical drugs that improve microcirculation in tissues. The most severe cases require hormonal corrections with certain hormone-containing drugs.
The treatment course may include procedures using Darsonval's currents, chloroethyl, cryomassage, ultraviolet radiation. External application of alcohol tinctures (red pepper, naphthalan oil extract), corticosteroids-containing creams can do a great deal for the healing process.
People with alopecia have to pay special attention to the hair wash. It is recommended to use boiled water and neutral soap. Rinsing the head with infusions and decoctions of medicinal herbs (nettle, burdock, chamomile, celandine, etc.) will help to restore the health of the scalp and hair.