What Your Client Can Expect from Medical Therapy for Hair Loss?

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If your client is experiencing hair loss, you may be more concerned about finding how to correct it and grow their hair back than about finding out what caused it. However, the reality is that depending upon the underlying cause of the hair loss, efforts to grow the hair back can actually be counterproductive and allow a disease process affecting the scalp to continue to progress and cause more injury to the hair follicles on their scalp.

So, the prudent thing to do is to encourage your client to identify the underlying cause of their hair loss as well as help them to groom and style their hair in a manner that will be healthy for their scalp.  To get an expert opinion on both cause and cure, have your client visit a dermatologist as soon as you or they happen to notice thinning hair or bald patches.  The specific course of treatment will depend on the cause. 

Some types of hair loss such as alopecia areata will reverse themselves either over time or when the underlying cause is treated, such as hair loss due to lupus, fungus infections or another eczema related conditions.  But in other instances, hair loss is the primary problem, and the solution needs to focus on preventing further loss and promoting new hair growth.  In any case, when  your client visits a dermatologist they can get appropriate medical treatment and advice about realistic expectations for the regrowth of their hair.

What Can Be Done for Hair Loss?

Hair loss evaluations involve taking a medical history related to the condition, examining the scalp, and at times taking a sample of skin from the scalp area for biopsy evaluation to really know what is going on with your client.  Once these steps are done and a diagnosis is made, treatment can involve oral medication, topical medication, and intralesional injections of anti-inflammatory medication depending upon which specific diagnosis is made.

Some medical diseases cause scarring of the hair follicles and some don’t.  Scarring of the scalp is what happens in traction alopecia, where the hair follicles become damaged and injured from being pulled too tightly over time.  It is also an issue in central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, where the hair loss starts at the top of the head and spreads outward in a circular fashion.  Sadly many women chose to disguise these conditions and cover them up with hair pieces that oftentimes either make them worse or cover up the medical condition that continues to spread.

When the disease process has been stopped and the inflammation is no longer active, this kind of hair loss can be treated with hair transplants, where sections of skin with healthy follicles are transplanted from other areas to the scalp.  This procedure can have beneficial results for those willing to go through the requirements for the procedure and wait months to see the improvement.  When the hair is first transplanted, the hair on the grafted skin will fall out.  But new hair will grow in, and in less than a year, if all goes well, you should see real improvement.

For hormonal hair loss, Minoxidil can be applied to the scalp to promote hair growth and is available over the counter.  It is a good option for androgenic alopecia.  While this product is available without a prescription, it is still a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying it to make sure it is the appropriate approach and that you don’t have any medical issues that would make it unsafe. If the scalp is inflamed or irritated, Minoxidil should not be used.

There are other medical therapies to promote hair growth including various medications and a newer laser device that shows some promise.  But the important thing is to have your client talk to a doctor and see what the realistic expectations are for their situation.

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