Whether it’s male pattern baldness or alopecia areata, there is hope for you to recover your hair.
Read on to learn about helpful treatments that may be just the solutions you need.
Why Are You Losing Your Hair
Male pattern baldness is a type of hair loss that occurs as a result of hormonal problems, namely the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair loss occurs more gradually or in spurts, affecting small sections of hair at a time. A guy may lose hair at the top only or get a gradually expanding bald spot near his hairline. Because male pattern baldness is largely hormone-related, if you get DHT in line, you’ve pretty much solved your hair loss problem.
There is another condition called alopecia areata, which is considered an autoimmune disorder since the body is essentially attacking itself – or at least attacking the hair follicles. With alopecia areata, the cycle of hair growth is somehow thrown off course and large portions of the hair follicles stop growing simultaneously. The result is huge patches of bald spots or baldness all over.
Solutions for Male Pattern Baldness
Saw palmetto berries – The fruit of the saw palmetto tree, these berries are well known for their ability to reduce an enlarged prostate. Few people realize that saw palmetto berries are also effective treatments for baldness, since they prevent the body’s ability to produce DHT, the male hormone which kills hair follicles.
Licorice extract – Licorice extract works like saw palmetto. Using shampoos containing licorice extract or by adding the oils to your shampoo or other hair products is a clever way of preventing hair loss, since using it results in less DHT production as well.
Scalp massage – Regularly massaging the scalp with your fingers, or combing and brushing the hair often, will increase blood flow to the scalp. You will also help remove dead cells and oils and unclog pores so that new skin and hair is more likely to grow in their place.
Prescription medications – There are a number of prescription drugs available that are effective against baldness in men. Propecia (a lower dose of the drug Proscar), which was originally intended to treat prostate enlargement as it stunts the production of DHT, inadvertently also prevents hair loss (just like saw palmetto and licorice extract).
Doctors have also discovered that combining Rogaine (minoxidil), Proscar and thyroid hormone together are one of the most powerful treatments to combat baldness in men. Minoxidil was already known to stimulate hair growth, but combining it with these other two drugs has proven much more effective. Application consists of rubbing the mixture into the scalp daily, and it’s not long before hair begins to regrow. Men (and women) desiring to have children in the future should not use Proscar.
Solutions for Alopecia Areata
About four million Americans (male and female) suffer from alopecia areata, which is a harder condition to treat than male pattern baldness. A newer form of treatment involves the use of UV light to trick the immune system into changing focus from attacking the hair follicle to deliberately inflicted scalp sunburn. To do this, the drug psoralen is applied to the scalp where hair loss has occurred to increase that portion of skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Afterwards, the doctor will shine an ultraviolet light onto the scalp until redness and irritation occurs (typical of sunburn).
Just like with a fresh wound, the immune system will go on alert and focus its energies to the sunburned spot rather than the hair follicle, allowing the hair the chance to grow back. This treatment has had some success, and it remains to be seen how well it will do for the millions of alopecia areata sufferers who may choose the procedure in the long run.