Genetic alopecia treatment: an overview

Alopecia, (excessive hair loss) can happen to anybody. Every day hundreds of factors endanger our hair. For some of these factors we are responsible, others are the effect of physiological imbalance that we can treat, yet others are almost unpreventable, but we still can do a lot to minimize them. In each case balding is caused by mechanisms, which to some extent can be controlled. Hair loss treatment is always performed indirect reference to its causes and types.

Hair loss programmed in the genes

Some types of balding, however, are programmed in the genes. Such hair loss is often a problem for males suffering from androgenic baldness, women during and right after the menopause, and both men and women (even children) suffering from spot baldness. All types of genetic (hereditary) baldness are difficult to control, because the mechanisms causing excess hair loss are so strong and so strongly physiologically-related, that most typical actions cannot counteract it. However, there exist treatments that provide (sometimes better, sometimes worse) results and allow stopping excess hair loss. They stimulate the growth of hair that has already fallen out or (as a last resort) they rebuild hair in an artificial way by means of hair transplantation.

How to cure androgenetic alopecia

It is not an easy task, because androgenic alopecia is determined genetically. To reduce the risk of losing hair, you would have to change the genes inherited from your ancestors. Unfortunately, this is not possible. Yet. However, this does not mean at all, that men suffering from androgenic hair loss have to put up with their hair falling out. This type of alopecia can be successfully stopped, although it is not an easy task. Unfortunately. When fighting hair loss you should have a bit of patience and finds, because the most effective methods of treating hair loss are quite expensive.

Since the disease condition of alopecia areata is autoimmune-mediated, the current treatment methods focus on symptom alleviation as the main therapeutic effect. The manifestation of alopecia areata is in the form of patchy hair loss, which is most commonly seen on the scalp and can occur on other parts of the body too.

The predominant causative factor of this autoimmune disease is genetic, and so the nature of the symptoms is long-term, and need treatment methods that have a long-lasting effect. There are different kinds of genetic alopecia treatment, with different immune-system suppressing agents used to suppress the hair follicle destruction that is behind the hair loss symptom of the disease.

Androgenetic alopecia forms one type of alopecia which is characterized by a pattern balding symptom, where the hair around the temples is lost and hat on the crown thins. Androgenetic alopecia is most commonly seen both in men and women, and has a genetic cause behind it, with androgenic (hormonal) imbalances being a minute cause.

Treatment of it includes reducing the activity of the androgens in the body, with few compounds showing effective therapeutic activity.

Minoxidil drug has been known for several decades. This drug, when used topically, improves the functioning of the so-called potassium channels that are responsible for nourishing hair follicles. Minoxidil unblocks these channels and thus strengthens hair follicles, which become less susceptible to genetic influences and less susceptible to hair miniaturization caused by DHT. Minoxidil requires constant use. It is available in two concentrations. The best Minoxidil products are enriched with additives such as substance stimulating hair growth. This drug’s effectiveness is unrivaled, however, it does have some side effects. These are allergic reactions and hair starting to grow in other skin areas than the head.

The commonly used genetic alopecia treatment methods include corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system and thereby prevent the destruction of the hair follicle cells which usually occur in the disease. These may be the topical, systemic, or intra-lesion type of steroids, all of which show their therapeutic efficacy.

Topical corticosteroids are creams applied onto the affected area, whereas intra-lesional medication involves corticosteroid injections given at the area where the loss of hair is seen. Since corticosteroids have side effects, continuous use being harmful, the alopecia areata treatment regime is given in pulsating doses to minimize the side effects.

The steroids have a relatively long-lasting effect (almost for a few years), and treatment regimes like these may be used to provide symptomatic relief from relapses of the condition.

Another part of the genetic alopecia areata treatment involves suppression of the immune system by ultraviolet light, Psoralen and ultraviolet (PUVA) used with topical and oral applications have shown considerable effect n reducing the hair loss.

Employment of irritants like anthralin solutions of different concentrations to suit the extent of prevalence of the hair loss symptoms is also a treatment method, while using compounds like Squaric acid Dibutylester (SADBE) and Diphenyl cyclopropenone (DCP) which promote hair growth also forms a part of the treatment, with the concentrations set to balance side effects like eczematous reactions to a tolerable level.

This article was written by Vetta Thompson, the founder of The Center, who is one of only 9 internationally certified trichologists in the entire United States, certified specialists in the field of trichology.
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