Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss. It can affect both men and women and can be mild or severe. There are several different types of alopecia, but the most common form is called androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. A combination of hormones and genetics causes this type of alopecia.
Compounding pharmacies can create custom medication formulas to treat the underlying cause of alopecia and symptoms like hair loss. Compounding for alopecia may include topical medications, oral medications, or a combination of both. Topical medications are applied directly to the scalp, while oral medications are taken by mouth.
What are the Symptoms of Alopecia?
The most common symptom of alopecia is hair loss. This can range from mild hair shedding to complete baldness. In some cases, the hair loss is patchy, while in others, it is more diffuse. Other symptoms include:
- Scalp itching
- Scalp tingling
- Burning or stinging sensations on the scalp
- Increased sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures
- Red, inflamed patches on the scalp
- Nail changes (brittle nails or ridges in the nails)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so they can determine if you have alopecia and what type you have.
How Is Alopecia Diagnosed?
No one test can diagnose alopecia. Instead, doctors will usually diagnose based on your medical history and a physical examination. They may also order blood tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as hypothyroidism.
In some cases, a biopsy of the scalp may be necessary. This involves taking a small skin sample from the affected area to examine it under a microscope.
What Causes Alopecia?
The exact cause of alopecia is unknown, but it is considered an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In the case of alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles.
There are several different types of alopecia, but the most common form is androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. This type of alopecia is caused by a combination of hormones and genetics. Androgenetic alopecia typically affects men, but it can also affect women.
Other forms of alopecia include:
Alopecia areata: This is a form of patchy hair loss that can affect anyone at any age. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder.
Telogen effluvium: This is a temporary hair loss often triggered by stress or trauma.
Traction alopecia: This hair loss is caused by tight hairstyles that pull on the hair.
How Is Alopecia Treated?
There is no cure for alopecia, but there are treatments that can help stop hair loss and even regrow lost hair. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the type of alopecia you have.
Androgenetic alopecia: Treatment for androgenetic alopecia often includes oral medications called finasteride and minoxidil. These medications can help stop the progression of hair loss and even regrow lost hair. In some cases, a combination of these medications is necessary.
Alopecia areata: Treatment for alopecia areata may include corticosteroid injections or topical medications. These treatments can help stop the progression of hair loss and even regrow lost hair. In some cases, a combination of these treatments is necessary.
Telogen effluvium: Telogen effluvium often resolves on its own without treatment. However, treatment may be necessary in some cases to help stop hair loss. This may include medication changes or managing underlying conditions causing the telogen effluvium.
Traction alopecia: Traction alopecia can often be reversed by avoiding tight hairstyles. In some cases, treatment may be necessary to help stop hair loss. This may include medication changes or managing underlying conditions causing traction alopecia.
Compounding for Alopecia
Compounding pharmacies can prepare custom medications for patients with alopecia. These medications can be tailored to each patient’s specific needs and can be in a form that is easy to use. For example, compounding pharmacies can prepare topical medications that are re-applied directly to the scalp, while oral medications are taken by mouth.
Compounded medications can also be flavoured, making them more palatable for children or adults who have trouble taking medication in pill form. This can make it easier for patients to stick to their medication regimen and see the best results.
If you are interested in learning more about compounding for alopecia, talk to a compounding pharmacist. They can answer any questions and help you find the best treatment option for your needs.
Ask a Pharmacist
Not close to us? No problem! Have your doctor fax your prescription and we will ship your custom compound with free overnight shipping.