There are a range of treatments for alopecia areata (AA), although the prognosis and reaction to the treatment vary from person to person. The most common treatment approach involves the use of corticosteroids. Corticosteroid creams applied to the bald patches are popular with the average dermatologist, although this treatment approach is only successful for very mild cases of alopecia areata.
More specialized treatment approaches involve the application of contact sensitizing chemicals to the skin or treatment by phototherapy. However, there is no permanent cure for alopecia areata and there is no universally proven therapy for inducing remission. Nevertheless, there are a range of therapies with partial success but as soon as any of the therapies are stopped, alopecia areata returns. All the current treatments are more effective in those who are experiencing milder forms of the disease. They are less effective in people with extensive hair loss.
The treatment of telogen effluvium, which is a severe form of alopecia, depends on the causes. It can be caused by a major surgery in which case, the best response is to wait for the follicles to recover of their own accord. However in rare cases, a specific causal factor cannot be pointed out, hence there are a few treatment options. Most dermatologists resort to prescribing minoxidil. Minoxidil is a direct hair growth stimulator as it promotes the telogen hair follicles to follow their normal cyclical growth by inducing the anagen growth phase.
Minoxidil can work well for some individuals with telogen effluvium. Until the underlying cause of this form of alopecia is resolved, minoxidil use has to be maintained until the predisposing factor or root cause of this hair condition is removed in order to block the progress of the hair disease.
Another type of effluvium, called anagen effluvium, involves the shedding of a large amount of hair. It is mainly caused by various cancer drugs and treatments like chemotherapy. The only practical hair loss control procedure is to complete the cancer drug treatment course then let the hair begin its normal growth again.
For Scarring Alopecia, treatment should be quite aggressive as it involves a lot of damage and permanent hair loss. Treatment of the lymphocytes infected scarring alopecia involves the use of oral medications like doxycycline, mycophenolate mofetil, hydroxychloroquine, cyclosporine, or corticosteroids. Topical medications may include corticosteroids, topical tacrolimus, topical pimecrolimus, etc.
Once a scarring alopecia has reached the burnt out stage and there has been no more shedding of hair for a few years, bald areas can be removed surgically. If they are not too big, bald patches can be covered with a hair transplant which involves taking the hair follicles from unaffected areas and surgically implanting them into bald areas.
In order to arrive into an informed decision regarding the course of hair loss treatment, one should consult his or her dermatologist and ask about the potential side effects of the chosen treatment.