Hair loss can be caused due to several reasons. Treatment is therefore, influenced by the underlying cause, such as hair loss because of infection or a condition, such as anaemia, improves with treatment of infection or condition. Hair may grow back in some cases including after chemotherapy. Treatment options for hair loss because of conditions that do improve without treatment include both medicines and surgery.
Hair loss caused by some underlying disease needs treatment for that disease. It may also need drugs to reduce inflammation and suppress your immune system, such as prednisone.
Approved medicines for treatment of hair loss include:
Minoxidil: This is available as an over-the-counter liquid or foam to be applied locally on the scalp. It has to be rubbed on your scalp twice daily to grow hair and to prevent further loss. It not only slows the rate of hair loss but also leads to re-growth of hair. It takes about 12 weeks for new hair to start growing. Minoxidil is available as 2 percent and 5 percent solution. If you stop using it, hair loss will restart. Some of the common side-effects include scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth on the adjacent skin of the forehead or face.
Finasteride: It is available as a prescription medication for treatment of male-pattern baldness. It is approved for use only by men. The medications is taken daily in the form of a pill. Finasteride helps to slow down hair loss and in some men, it may lead to new hair growth. It can cause side-effects, such as diminished sex drive and sexual function. Only rarely is the risk of getting a fast-growing type of prostate cancer increased. It should be avoided by women of childbearing age.
The most common type of permanent hair loss is the one that affects only the top of the head. Surgical procedures use the hair you are left with to cover the bald sections of the scalp. Surgical procedures used for treatment of baldness are effective, but expensive and can be painful. Some of the risks associated with these procedures include infection and scarring.
Wigs and hairpieces
A reasonable alternative to medical or surgical treatment for baldness or if you don't respond to treatment is wearing a wig or hairpiece. They are useful in both cases of permanent or temporary hair loss. The hairpieces available today are of good quality and natural-looking.