Alopecia is broadly divided into scarring and non-scarring alopecia.
The main difference between scarring and non-scarring alopecia is the level of damage caused to the hair follicles.
Non-scarring alopecia, also known as non-cicatricial alopecia, is a type of hair loss that does not cause permanent damage to the hair follicles. This means that the hair follicles are still alive and have the potential to regrow hair. Examples of non-scarring alopecia include androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male or female pattern hair loss, and telogen effluvium, which is a temporary form of hair loss caused by stress or hormonal changes.
Scarring alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia, is a type of hair loss that causes permanent damage to the hair follicles. This means that the hair follicles are destroyed and cannot regrow hair. The damage is caused by inflammation and scarring of the hair follicles, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including autoimmune disorders, fungal infections, and certain types of hair styling practices. Examples of scarring alopecia include lichen planopilaris, folliculitis decalvans, and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA).
Treatment for non-scarring alopecia typically involves medications such as minoxidil and finasteride, which can slow down or stop hair loss and promote new hair growth. Treatment for scarring alopecia, on the other hand, typically involves a combination of approaches, including topical and oral medications, as well as hair restoration surgery. In some cases, hair restoration surgery is the only option for scarring alopecia, as the hair follicles have been permanently damaged and cannot regrow hair.
The treatment for non-scarring alopecia varies depending on the specific type of hair loss. Common treatments for non-scarring alopecia include:
1. Medications: Minoxidil and finasteride are the most commonly used medications for treating non-scarring alopecia. Minoxidil is a topical solution that is applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. Finasteride is an oral medication that is taken daily to inhibit the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause hair loss.
2. Light Therapy: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-level lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to stimulate hair growth.
3. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: This is a non-surgical treatment in which a small amount of the patient’s blood is drawn, and then processed to separate the platelets from other blood cells. The concentrated platelets are then injected into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
4. Diet and lifestyle changes: Eating a healthy diet and reducing stress can improve hair growth and overall health.
5. Hair restoration surgery: In more advanced cases, hair restoration surgery such as hair transplantation may be considered.
It’s important to note that hair restoration surgery is usually recommended after trying other options as it is an invasive treatment and it can be costly. Additionally, it is important to consult with a hair loss specialist or a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause of the hair loss and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
It’s also important to note that hair regrowth may take time and the results may vary depending on the individual case. In some cases, hair loss may be irreversible and may require hair systems and hair prosthetics to regain a more youthful appearance.
Treatment options for scarring alopecia can vary depending on the specific type of hair loss and the underlying cause of the inflammation and scarring. Common treatment options for scarring alopecia include:
1. Topical and oral medications: Topical steroids, immunomodulatory agents, and oral antibiotics may be used to reduce inflammation and improve hair growth.
2. Light therapy: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) may be used to stimulate hair growth.
3. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: This treatment involves injecting concentrated platelets from the patient’s blood into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
4. Hair restoration surgery: In advanced cases, hair restoration surgery such as hair transplantation may be considered.
5. Other treatments: Scalp cooling, topical immunotherapy, and oral immunosuppressive agents are other treatments that may be considered in some cases.
6. Hair prosthetics: In cases where the hair loss is irreversible, hair prosthetics such as wigs or hair systems may be used to regain a more youthful appearance.
It’s important to note that treatment for scarring alopecia can be challenging and may require a combination of approaches. It is important to consult with a hair loss specialist or a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause of the hair loss and to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Additionally, some cases may not respond to treatment and hair loss may be irreversible.