Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness
Hair loss treatments have to mount enormous obstacles to produce convincing results. Attempting to thwart the mechanisms that underpin hair loss, which can be both environmental and genetic, is no small feat. Despite the challenges, researchers have discovered some surprising solutions, such as applying onion juice.
A study published in the Journal of Dermatology sought to assess the effectiveness of topical crude onion juice in the treatment of patchy alopecia areata in comparison with tap water.
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can be unnoticeable.
The patients were divided into two groups: The first group (onion juice treated) consisted of 23 patients, 16 males and seven females. Their ages ranged between five to 42 years.
The second group consisted of 15 patients, eight males and seven females. Their ages ranged between three to 35 years.
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The two groups were advised to apply the treatment twice daily for two months.
Regrowth of terminal coarse hairs started after two weeks of treatment with crude onion juice.
Terminal hair is the thick, long, pigmented hair found on the scalp, face, armpits, and pubic area.
At four weeks, hair regrowth was seen in 17 patients, and, at six weeks, the hair regrowth was observed in 20 patients and was significantly higher among males compared to females.
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In contrast, hair regrowth was apparent in only two patients at eight weeks of treatment in the tap-water treated group.
In their concluding remarks, the researchers said: “The present study showed that the use of crude onion juice gave significantly higher results with regard to hair re-growth than did tap water and that it can be an effective topical therapy for patchy alopecia areata.”
There are other things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress but most treatments aren’t available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.
According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family.
“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women shouldn’t use finasteride,” warns the NHS.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
Other hair loss treatments include:
- Steroid injection – injections given into bald patches
- Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
- Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
- Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
- Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
- Hair transplant – hair cells are moved to thinning patches
- Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
- Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs.
Some of the above treatments may not be available on the NHS.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.
You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.
Try these online support groups:
- Alopecia UK
- Alopecia Awareness.
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