A lot of young people attending my clinic arrive with a common complaint of bald patches appearing on the scalp and other hair bearing areas known as Alopecia areata. There is always a bigger fear in their minds especially about losing their entire hair than anything else. Hence I chose to answer some common questions surrounding this condition.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata is a chronic inflammatory disease which affects the hair follicles and sometimes the nails. The onset may be at any age and there is no known race or sex preponderance. Alopecia areata usually presents as patches of hair loss on the scalp but any hair-bearing skin can be involved like moustaches or beard.

How does Alopecia areata look like?

The affected skin may be slightly reddened but otherwise appears normal. Short broken hairs (exclamation mark hairs) are frequently seen around the margins of expanding patches of alopecia areata. The nails are involved in about 10% of patients.

Doctor, Can I lose my entire mane?

Only 14–25% of patients progress to severe forms like total loss of scalp hair (alopecia totalis, AT) or loss of the entire scalp and body hair (alopecia universalis) from which full recovery is unusual (< 10%). Research has indicated that spontaneous remission can occur within one year in 80% of patients especially those with a small number of circumscribed patches of hair loss.

What factors predict the course of the disease?

The prognosis is less favourable when onset occurs during childhood and in ophiasis (alopecia areata of the scalp margin). The concurrence of atopic disease has been reported to be associated with a poor prognosis. About 20% of people with alopecia areata have a family history of the disease, indicating a genetic predisposition. If there is a long gap between the onset of the disease and treatment, this may affect the outcome.

What are the treatment options for alopecia Areata?

A lot of treatment options are available which are effective and safe. Topical and intralesional steroids help in faster regrowth of hair in these patches. Contact immunontherapy is tried in many patients who donot respond to topical and intralesional steroids. Patients with more extensive involvement of the scalp may be given oral immunosuppressants. Please discuss with your Dermatologist for the best options.

Do’s and Dont’s for dry, damaged hair

Hair is the most beautiful accessory bestowed by nature. Every morning , the very first thing that we notice is our hair. A good hair day certainly brings freshness not only to our face but mood as well. They bring a dramatic difference to one’s personal appearance and confidence. In present times when we all are busy striving for a work –life balance, Hair get under deserved attention. It is also very difficult to make the right choice for hair cosmetics as little is known about them, unlike skin products.

How to know your hair better?

It requires nothing more than to run your fingers through your tresses to know your hair type. If you can slide your fingers through them, easily detangle them and they feel soft to touch, you are lucky to have healthy hair. While frizz, split ends,tangled and rough looking hair qualify as dry and damaged hair. A shiny, bouncy and bright look indicates good hair health and vice versa.

Let us understand the hair structure in a little detail. Hair is made up of three layers- cuticle , medulla and cortex ,the most important of which is cuticle. It has a structure resembling tiles overlapping on a roof and is very vulnerable to damage.It is chiefly responsible for the look and appearance of our hair and is made up of protein layer enveloped on the outside by lipids . Damage to the protein causes weakened hair while the lipid layer when ripped off causes dull looking hair, frizz and split ends. The intercellular cement between the different layers is most vulnerable to damage during procedures like hair straightening, colouring , rough handling and shampooing. The cortex or the innermost layer is damaged during straightening and procedures involving heat.

What causes hair damage? It is mostly the faulty hair grooming practices that cause dry, damaged hair. Repeated rough washing, unprotected drying, friction actions, sunlight and alkaline chemical treatments cause hair damage. Hairs which have undergone procedures require special care with special emphasis on the correct post procedure styling products and methods. Exposure to sunlight and other forms of direct heat like dryers and iron rods can weaken the hair fibres significantly. Combing practices also play a major role in hair breakage and damaged hair.

Do's and Don'ts to maintain healthy hair
  • Correct shampooing practices
  • Apply shampoo more on the scalp from the front to back. Avoid putting it on the hair body and top of head.
  • Prefer a mild cleansing , pH balanced shampoo with an added conditionerfor best results.
  • Use your fingertips to spread the shampoo rather than scrubbing on the top of head.
  • Professional shampoos (available at salons) should be avoided at all costs as they are harsher on hair.
  • Baby shampoos should be avoided in chemically treated hair.
  • Shampooing should be performed twice or maximum thrice a week. Over washing the hair rips off the outer protective layer of natural oils.
  • Rinse shampoo thoroughly
  • Rinse shampoo thoroughly with cold or lukewarm water( hot water should be avoided) as build up of residual products make your hair look limp and dull.
  • Moisturise , Moisturise , Moisturise!!
  • A good conditioner is a must for dry hair to make hair stronger and improve their appearance. They reduce the static charge by replenishing the lipid layer of cuticle. They seal the gaps between the cuticle layers hence strengthening the hair fibre. They improve the combability minimising breakage. In difficult to detangle, curly or severely damaged hair, it is a must before combing.
  • Protein hydrolysate containing conditioners especially keratin hydrolysate are very effective for treated hair.
  • Anti- Dandruff or medicated shampoos should always be followed by hair conditioners.
  • Deep Conditioning can be added to your weekly regime. Use a hair mask or leave on serum or warm coconut oil under a shower cap for an hour followed by shampooing to see the best results.
  • Oops!!! Be Gentle with hair
  • Gentle towel drying to remove excess water droplets and air drying the hair (at ambient temperature) is advisable. Please avoid wringing the hair with towel as this is lethal for hair health.
  • Pre- wash Oiling is a must!!!
  • Coconut oil or any other mineral oil should be applied on the hair ends before head bath. It should be avoided on the scalp to prevent dandruff and oily look. Coconut oil is most preferable as it also prevents protein loss from the hair. It can be used both as pre and post wash hair grooming.
  • The right hair styling habits
  • Blow drying can damage the hair and make them look lifeless. Blow drying at a distance of 15 to 20 cm along with usage of heat- protector agents like silicone can minimise hair damage due to heat. It should be still used as less as possible.
  • Flat or curling irons should be avoided.
  • Chemical hair straighteners should be completely avoided as well.
  • Hair straightening if to be repeated should only be done at the junction of previously straightened hair and new growth.
  • It is best to wait for a minimum of fifteen days after hair straightening if one wants to dye the hair.
  • Semi permanent dyes which are ammonia free should be preferred.
  • Hair mask should be definitely a part of grooming chemically treated or straightened hair to prevent hair breakage.
  • Comb with love and care
  • Wet combing using wide toothed comb minimises split ends and dull hair.
  • Combs are preferable to hair brushes as tangling of hair is more with the latter.Hair bll.rushes tend to increase the frizz making hair look dull
  • Whatever is tight on hair is perhaps not right!!!
  • Tight hair styles like braiding and tight buns increase hair loss. Use of hair accessories should be kept to a minimum.
  • Even the sun plays a culprit!!!
  • Direct exposure to sunlight should be avoided.
  • oWearing a wide brimmed hat or a hair length scarf should be really helpful.
  • Wear a swim cap while swimming.
  • Usage of hard water does not lead to weakened hair but can lead to loss of sheen. A good hair serum or conditioner can be helpful.
  • Healthy diet for healthy mane!!!
  • Include lot of protein rich foods like pulses, lean meat etc.
  • Omega -3 rich foods like avocados, walnut, flaxseeds cold water fish.
  • Iron and Zinc supplementation is helpful in some cases.

Avoid shampoos and other hair products containing sulphates and alcohol.

A happy hair day is just a few steps away. Dry and damaged hair are easy to take care , provided one adopts the right steps to hair care. Last but not the least, staying happy and stress free go a long way in maintaining hair health. Have a happy hair day always!!!


FAQs on Dermaroller for hair loss

The Dermaroller has a rolling head with multiple fine needles, mounted on a rotating drum moves freely on the skin making micro channels in the skin.

How does Dermaroller work in Hair loss treatment?

The Dermaroller is a microneedle device that has a rolling head with multiple fine needles, mounted on a rotating drum moves freely on the skin making micro channels in the skin of the scalp.This increases the scalp microcirculation and also increases the growth factors which aid in hair growth.

The Dermaroller is an innovative, relatively painless and inexpensive treatment method with many applications in skin and hair care. This device which has a rolling head with multiple fine needles, mounted on a rotating drum moves freely on the skin making micro channels in the skin.

How does Dermaroller work in Hair loss treatment?

The Dermaroller is a microneedle device that has a rolling head with multiple fine needles, mounted on a rotating drum moves freely on the skin making micro channels in the skin. This increases the blood flow to the scalp, bringing fresh nutrition to the hair roots, and flushes away the toxins. Also any medications that are applied immediately after the roller are able to penetrate easily into the roots of the hair and are more effective that with regular application.

How is the treatment done?

After thorough cleansing of the area, the dermaroller is gently moved at a particular angle over the is moved in different directions and all over the scalp.Immediately after the procedure, the medicines are applied in order to deliever them deeper near the hair roots.

Is the treatment painful?

The hair loss treatment with dermaroller uses a roller with needles measuring around 0.5 mm to 1 mm. This makes the treatment uncomfortable, but not unbearable. The treatment can be compared to a sharp comb running through the hair.

How often should I get these treatments done?

Dermaroller treatments can be performed once a week to fortnightly intervals depending upon the patient’s condition. Please consult your Dermatologist for a customised regimen.

Do I need to continue other medicines while undergoing Dermaroller?

The dermaroller treatments enhance the absorption of the medicines that you may be using, making the hair grow faster and healthier. Please consult your dermatologist to customise a hair care regimen to give better results and hair regrowth.

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