Alopecia is the general medical name for ‘hair loss’. The two most common forms are Androgenic Alopecia and Alopecia Areata – and the two are quite different. Read about the types of Alopecia and how you can successfully treat them with Minoxidil hair loss treatment.
Alopecia Affects the Majority of Men
Alopecia and what to do about it
Are you Suffering from Hair Loss or Alopecia?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! According to a variety of reports, as many as 85% of men will suffer some form of Alopecia, or hair loss, at some point in their lives. For some, it’s not a problem – wear a hat, get a skinhead, grow enough hair at the sides to do that fantastic ‘combover’. But for the majority, those just aren’t good enough. Luckily, there is something you can do about it!
There are two common types of alopecia. The first, “Androgenic Alopecia“, is the more common, often called Male Pattern Baldness. It is one of those inevitable things that will occur in the majority of men as they age. The other, “Alopecia Areata” is not a ‘normal’ condition and is caused by a fault in your body’s autoimmune system.
Firstly, it’s normal! We understand that isn’t much comfort, but it is true. More commonly called Male Pattern Baldness, Androgenic Alopecia (sometimes called Androgenetic Alopecia) is the gradual loss of hair in men (and women), as they get older. It is a genetic condition, that is, you were born with it. You inherited it (most likely) from your father.
Minoxidil will treat Androgenic Alopecia. That’s good news!
The truth is that the genetics of Androgenic Alopecia is not particularly well understood. The regulation of hair growth in men (and women – and all mammals, as it goes) is particularly complicated and really not understood, despite it being an active area of research. It is clear to researchers that Male Pattern Baldness is a highly heritable condition, although other factors can contribute to its development.
Androgenic Alopecia follows a well-defined pattern. It tends to develop first above both temples and with time, the hairline recedes forming the characteristic “M” shape. But perhaps the most commonly seen hair loss is noticed first on the crown, around the top of the head. Left untreated, the outcome is often partial or complete baldness.
Far less commonly, Androgenetic Alopecia in men has been shown to be associated with a number of other medical conditions, including an enlargement of the prostate and even coronary heart disease. If you feel these conditions may apply to you, stop reading about hair loss and see a doctor!
This one is different – and perhaps, a little more serious. Alopecia Areata is, what is known as, an autoimmune disorder, where your own immune system attacks your hair follicles.
Instead of the classic old-man-balding symptoms, Alopecia Areata describes the condition of patches of, sometime sudden, hair loss. Clumps of hair (generally from the head) will fall out. In most cases, hair falls out in small patches about an inch in diameter (that’s about 2.5cm for those younger readers). For the majority, the hair loss will be a few patches, but in more extreme cases, can affect large areas of the head and other body parts.
Will Minoxidil Cure Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata cannot be ‘cured’, but it certainly can be treated. The effectiveness of Minoxidil against Alopecia Areata is not as good as in cases of Androgenic Alopecia, but it absolutely will have an effect!
This article from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, quotes…
Topical minoxidil solution can induce hair regrowth in alopecia areata. A dose-response effect was demonstrated when 48 patients treated with topical 1% minoxidil were compared with 47 patients treated with topical 5% minoxidil. A total of 66 patients were enrolled, 26 of them participating in both study groups. Patients with extensive (75% or greater) scalp hair loss showed a response rate of 38%, defined as terminal hair regrowth, with 1% minoxidil versus an 81% response rate with 5% minoxidil. The current 2% formulation is most likely to elicit cosmetically acceptable regrowth in those with patchy alopecia areata.
An 81% positive response rate. That’s pretty good!
If you are suffering from Alopecia Areata, we understand just how it can make you feel. Maybe today is the day to do something about it!
Causes of Hair Loss
Other Causes of Hair Loss
Minoxidil is specifically intended to be used by those suffering from Male Pattern Baldness, or Androgenic Alopecia, and while that is likely to be the cause of your hair loss, there other reasons that your hair is thinning. Here are a few of the more common causes, and whether they can be helped by Minoxidil.
Any kind of physical stress, like a car accident or a severe illness, or surgery can cause your hair to temporarily shed. This type of hair loss is usually referred to as “telogen effluvium”. As we have talked about on other pages, your hair has a ‘programmed’ life cycle, consisting of three phases, the Anagen Phase, the Catagen Phase and the Telogen Phase (read more about these perfectly natural phases here). When your – of your mind – experiences a serious shock, it is not uncommon that your hair growth phase will be forcefully ‘pushed’ in to the shedding, or Telogen, phase. Minoxidil has not been specifically approved for shock-related hair loss, but any stimulation of the follicles will enhance the regeneration of ‘damaged’ follicles. The good news is that hair lost through stress will regrow when the stress, or trauma, is gone.
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland is not functioning properly and not releasing the required amounts of hormones. These hormones are important for metabolism, growth and healthy development. A loss of these hormones can can contribute to hair loss. Minoxidil is not recommended for hair loss related to Hypothyroidism. Your doctor can do tests to determine the real cause and offer medical care.
Lack of Protein in your Body
If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body may ration protein by shutting down hair growth, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This hair loss may only be seen some months after any significant drop in protein intake. If you feel you haven’t been eating properly lately, do something about that first!! then worry about your hair loss. Again, there is not evidence surrounding Minoxidil use for low protein diets, but if the follicles of your head are stimulated, your hair will grow better. As we say though…start by eating more fish, meat and eggs.
Vitamin A and/or B Deficiency
Overdoing vitamin A-containing supplements or medications can trigger hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Although relatively uncommon, low levels of vitamin B are another reversible cause of hair loss. As above, you might want to consider your diet, before considering Minoxidil. If your vitamin intake is messed up, some simple supplementation should help the problem. So can dietary changes. Find natural vitamin B in fish, meat, starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruits. As always, eating a balanced diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein and “good” fats such as avocado and nuts will be good for your hair and your overall health.