What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a general term used to describe hair loss. There are various types of alopecia, that include both the nonscarring type, as well as scarring alopecia. With so many different types of alopecia and hair loss conditions, it is important that an accurate diagnosis be made so that treatment can be recommended. Some hair loss conditions can be treated and the hair can grow back. If the hair follicle is destroyed, then permanent hair loss could result. The board-certified dermatologists at Snyder Dermatology in Austin, TX are able to diagnose, treat, and manage hair loss in individuals with proven treatments that can help slow down or restore the hair loss.
Types of Alopecia
Alopecia areata is one of the most common types of nonscarring hair loss and is caused when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which results in clumps of hair falling out, leading to smooth bald areas. It can affect both men and women, it is not contagious, and can also occur at any age range. Other types of nonscarring alopecia include telogen effluvium, which can cause hair shedding due to thyroid dysfunction, anemia, diabetes, post partum, and hormone replacement; as well as anagen effluvium, which can be a side effect from treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Scarring alopecia almost always occurs when inflammation or trauma has occurred to the hair follicle, which immediately (or in some cases, slowly) destroys the hair follicle. Burns, infections, and skin diseases are examples of this, as well as repetitive hair pulling (known as trichotillomania). In addition, individuals that place extreme tension on their hair, such as braids, weaves, etc, can cause long-term trauma to the follicle.
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How to Treat Alopecia
Treatment for alopecia will depend on the type of hair loss that is occurring and what is causing it. There are a number of medications (including corticosteroid injections to the scalp) and prescription shampoos that can be prescribed to help slow hair loss or stop it all together. It is also important to understand that with alopecia, specifically, alopecia areata, the hair loss can be highly unpredictable and cyclical. So even with treatment, it is possible the hair can grow back, and then fall out again. Every case is unique and is diagnosed and treated separately.
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Snyder Dermatology offers treatment for hair loss and can start by offering a comprehensive medical exam, as well as a scalp and hair analysis to confirm what is causing your hair loss. If you are suffering from hair loss and your hair thinning is becoming visible, or if you are experiencing balding in areas that are new, we invite you to call our office and schedule your exam. Every patient is treated with compassion and understanding and our goal is to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that can help stop hair loss, reverse it, or even assist with new hair growth.