Treatment Options for Alopecia
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Alopecia is condition that causes hair loss. This can range from small patches (alopecia areata), to complete loss of scalp hair (alopecia totalis) or complete loss of body hair (alopecia universalis). Alopecia can occur in men, women, and children and is thought to be an autoimmune condition. If hair loss is minimal, there may not be a need for any medical treatment as the hair could grow back on its own. This is not the result for everyone, however, but there are multiple treatment options that a dermatologist can discuss with you if you are interested.
Minoxidil, more commonly known by its commercial name Rogaine, is a topical version of a blood pressure pill called Loniten, which has a side-effect of hair growth. It is applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. Hair growth usually begins after a few months of regular use of Minoxidil. Hair growth only lasts as long as the medicine is being used, so hair loss will begin again after the treatment has stopped. Rogaine is an over-the-counter treatment, but you should consult a dermatologist before beginning to take this medication.
Finasteride, also known by its commercial name Propecia, is another hair growth medication, but is used to treat men exclusively. This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT). Decreasing the amount of DHT leads to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss. Like minoxidil, Finasteride must continue to be used to generate hair growth.
Recently, laser therapy has been used to effectively treat hair loss. In a 2007 study of the use of a 308 nm-excimer laser, it was shown to be a viable option for patchy alopecia of the scalp and beard area. It does not work for patchy alopecia areata of the extremities.
Before beginning any alopecia treatment, consult with a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and discussion of your treatment options.
Dr. David Goldberg of Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists of NY & NJ is a world-renowned dermatologist and laser specialist. He has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of dermatologic conditions including alopecia. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call today at (646) 461-8550 in New York, (201) 299-4521 in Hackensack, NJ, or (908) 360-1474 in Hillsborough, NJ.