Permanent Hair Loss
While most causes of hair loss, such as disease, illness, hormonal changes, medications, and chemotherapy, are temporary in nature, some causes can lead to permanent hair loss. The leading causes of permanent hair loss are injury, disease, and alopecia.
Androgenetic AlopeciaAndrogenetic alopecia is the most common form of Alopecia. This genetic condition affects about one-third of the population and is responsible for more Male Pattern Baldness than any other disease or condition. In men, this condition is characterised by hair loss that begins at the hairline and recedes backwards towards the scalp over time. In women, the condition causes notable hair thinning at the crown but hardly ever leads to total baldness.
In both men and women the condition leads to permanent hair loss. However, just because the hair loss is permanent does not mean it cannot be treated. Although treatment cannot help the individual regrow hair, certain techniques, such as Hair Transplants, can replace the affected area with healthy hair follicles and produce renewed hair growth.
Drug Treatment for Permanent Hair LossNo matter what the cause of your permanent hair loss there is a treatment available to help with hair regrowth. However, the use of oral or topical medications is only proven to help the hair loss that is caused by androgenetic alopecia. If your permanent hair loss is a result of severe injury to the scalp or skin of the scalp, you may need a surgical hair restoration treatment.
If you are seeking treatment for androgenetic alopecia, you have a few medications to choose from. For over-the-counter treatment minoxidil, commercially known as Rogaine, has been proven to halt hair loss and aid in the regrowth of hair. However, this treatment is more effective for mild cases of hair loss and the new hair growth will stop once treatments are discontinued.
For the prescription treatment of permanent hair loss doctors can prescribe finasteride, corticosteriods, or anthralin. Finasteride, known commercially as Propecia, is an oral medication used to treat the permanent hair loss that comes from male pattern baldness. This medication can stop the progression of hair loss and may promote new hair growth in some users. Corticosteroid injections can be given for extensive hair loss. These injections are given directly into the skin of the scalp and can inhibit further hair loss.
Anthralin, commercially known as Drithocreme, is a topical medication that may stimulate new hair growth. This medication works well in cases of temporary hair loss but may have some effect on permanent hair loss as well.
Surgical Treatments for Permanent Hair LossIf the cause of permanent hair loss stems from injury, disease, or some forms of alopecia then surgical treatment may be the only effective way to achieve new hair growth. There are three main types of surgical treatment for permanent hair loss, hair transplants, scalp reduction or stretching surgery, or flap surgery (see our article Other Surgery For Hair Loss.)
Each of these techniques is very effective at treating permanent hair loss, stopping the progression of hair loss, and covering the areas already affected by permanent hair loss. In order to decide which type of surgical treatment would be right for you and your type of permanent hair loss it is necessary to speak with a doctor about your choices.
While permanent hair loss can be devastating there are options for treatment. Understanding your condition and seeking treatment as soon as possible will help you decide how to treat your condition and stop the progression of the hair loss before it is too late.