Alternative Treatment for Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a hair-loss disease that affects people of all ages. Unlike standard alocepia, which is the medical term for hair loss on the scalp, alopecia areta can affect all parts of the body. There are three kinds of alopecia areta---alopecia areta universalis, the total loss of hair on the entire body; alopecia areta totalis, the complete loss of hair on the scalp; and alopecia areta, which is hair loss on the body or scalp, but does not consist of complete hair loss.
Hair growth may resume on its own in all three types of alopecia areata, but a number of different treatment options are designed to stimulate hair growth.
Even though there are no FDA-approved methods of treating alopecia areata, the medical community does use several methods. Cortisone injections can be given to the affected area. Another treatment is topical immunotherapy, which essentially creates an allergic rash on the affected area. The patient's immune system will then fight the allergy and possibly the cells causing the alopecia areata disease.
Other mainstream treatments include photochemotherapy (PUVA), topical minoxidil and anthralin cream.
Alternative Topical Treatments
Topical solutions have been used to treat alopecia areata, including evening primrose oil, aloe vera, mustard seed, DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) and even poison ivy. Vitamins may be taken orally or applied in different topical forms.
Ingested Alternative Treatments
Many alopecia areata treatment plans involve tablets or pills with zinc, flaxseed oil/fish oil and melatonin. Vitamins taken orally are another avenue of treatment.
A variety of Chinese herbs have been used to treat alopecia areata.
Heat treatments, including sunlight, have been used to treat alopecia areata. The premise behind heat treatments is that prolonged exposure to heat will irritate the skin, while ample time in the sun will lead to sunburn, giving an effect similar to topical immunotherapy.
Different methods of stress reduction have been used in the treatment of alopecia areata, including relaxation techniques, acupuncture and aromatherapy with essential oils.
Caution should be used with any alternative treatment plan. Consult with your doctor before beginning an alternative treatment, especially if you are taking medication. There is little to no evidence to support any claims of hair regrowth. In some cases, an alternative treatment could make the problem worse.
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