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Treatment of Alopecia Areata

In people struggling with alopecia areata, the hair follicles are damaged and, consequently, hair loss occurs. Bald patches begin to appear on the scalp. Initially, they are small, often even imperceptible. Over time, however, they increase their range and reach a size between 5 to 10 centimeters. Untreated alopecia areata can lead to complete baldness. Eyelashes and eyebrows may also fall out. The problem affects both women and men of all ages. However, the effects of the disease are reversible. In our clinic we deal with the treatment of various types of alopecia, including alopecia areata.
treatment of alopecia areata

What is the treatment of alopecia areata like?

There are basically a lot of methods of treating alopecia areata. They are selected for a specific patient, depending on the causes of the problem, which are not always clear. The sources of alopecia areata can be atopic dermatitis, autoimmune diseases, genetic factors or hormonal disorders.

After a thorough interview with the patient, the doctor starts looking for the cause of alopecia – inspects the condition of the scalp and orders the necessary tests to make a diagnosis. Treatment may consist in the selection of appropriate preparations – most often glucorticosteroids, regulating the hormonal situation of the body or implementing treatments in the field of cosmetology and aesthetic medicine, such as mesotherapy or carboxytherapy.

Very good results in the treatment of alopecia areata are obtained by the use of immunotherapy, which is to cause controlled inflammation on the skin. The implementation of PUVA treatment may also be helpful, which consists in administering to the Patient agents increasing the sensitivity of the skin to UV rays, followed by light therapy.

Indications for treatment

The indications for the treatment of alopecia areata include, first of all, gradually appearing bald patches on the head. For most patients, the hair loss has an exclamation mark character, i.e. it is slightly thinner at the head and shorter. The skin, from which the hair has already fallen out, should not be pathological or reddened, but sometimes patients complain of itching.

A characteristic symptom of the disease, as well as an indication for treatment, is the finding of yellow plugs in the areas of the hair follicles. Alopecia often has a negative impact, also on the mental state of the patient. Sometimes it is accompanied by changes in the nail plate, but this is not the norm.

Contraindications to treatment

Each of the above-mentioned methods of treatment is selected individually by the doctor. The choice of one of the methods is dictated by, among other things, his health, medications taken on a regular basis or the probable cause of the problems. The decision is made on the basis of a carefully conducted interview, results of blood tests, histopathological tests or trichoscopy.

In the case of PUVA treatment, contraindications to its use may be, for example, pregnancy and breastfeeding, the patient’s age, kidney and liver damage, or some ophthalmic diseases. It is also not used in people who have had cancer in the past or are at increased risk of developing oncological diseases. A contraindication to light therapy may also be the use of photosensitizing agents other than those administered during treatment, or general hypersensitivity to UV radiation.

Glucocorticosteroids are not administered to people who suffer from severe and unregulated pressure disorders, osteoporosis or advanced ophthalmic problems, but it depends on the specific case and the drug used. On the other hand, immunotherapy is not usually used in the treatment of children under the age of 5, unless it is very well justified. Contraindication to its conduct is also HIV or the presence of other diseases that prevent the proper response of the immune system to this type of treatment.

The course of the treatment

The course of treatment is closely related to the situation of a particular patient. Usually, treatment begins with a consultation with a dermatologist / trichologist who conducts a very detailed interview on the patient’s observation, symptoms and history of diseases, health condition or currently taken medications.

Then he goes to the inspection of the scalp and orders the necessary tests to be performed. Based on their results, the doctor suggests an appropriate treatment method. In some cases, you can combine them with each other or implement additional treatments in the field of cosmetology and aesthetic medicine, which will accelerate the growth of new hair.

Using several methods at the same time often allows you to see the effects of treatment faster and enjoy healthy, thick hair again. Even after the problem has completely resolved, it is worth remaining under medical supervision, because this disease has a tendency to recur.


Methods of treatment of alopecia areata

The following methods can be used in the treatment of alopecia areata:

  • Glucocorticosteroids – which can be used orally or topically by applying to the skin. These types of therapies can also be combined. Steroids are given in the form of tablets and capsules or ointments, creams and gels. They can have a moderate or very good effect on the skin. They have a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect.
  • Immunotherapy – designed to cause the body’s tolerance to a given allergen. It is well tolerated by most people. It is the most studied method of treating alopecia areata and most of it gives very good results. It consists in the local application of substances intended to cause an allergic reaction at the site of the bald patches.
  • PUVA treatment – a combination of the potential of UV radiation in the treatment of dermatological and trichological diseases with photosensitizing drugs that increase the power of the radiation.
  • Therapies supporting hair growth – such as carboxytherapy, which consists in subcutaneous administration of carbon dioxide or mesotherapy in which the skin is punctured, and then an individually selected, nourishing cocktail is applied to it, which will stimulate hair growth and strengthen it.

Treatment of alopecia areata in a nutshell

Alopecia areata is relatively easy to recognize because it has very specific symptoms. Trichoscopic examinations are recommended if the type of baldness is not known yet.
The treatment of alopecia areata may be different for everyone, due to completely different situations related to the health condition, symptoms of the disease or responding to the proposed treatment.
There are at least several methods of treating alopecia areata, so if there is no response to the implemented measures, if there are no contraindications, further ones can be started.
The disease is treated with light therapy and photosensitizing drugs, individually selected topical or oral steroids, immunotherapy or additional treatments stimulating the growth of new hair.
The treatment process is usually not particularly burdensome for patients. It requires regularity and compliance with medical recommendations, but it is not necessary to perform invasive procedures or tests, after which it would be necessary to observe the convalescence period.

Treatment results

The results of treating alopecia areata depend on the method used. For example, immunotherapy with DCP applied to the scalp is estimated to be 80-90% effective. If the cause of the problem can be found and eliminated, e.g. by regulating the body’s hormonal status, treatment can also be extremely effective, and the effects in the form of hair regrowth appear very quickly. Occasionally, however, alopecia areata will be very difficult to treat, which may take up to 2 years.

It is a condition that requires constant medical supervision, regular tests and monitoring the progress achieved with the chosen form of treatment. If you observe a response to the methods used, you can count on the gradual disappearance of the visibility of bald patches, their overgrowing with new hair and a visible reduction in falling out.

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