From Bald Patches to Thick Locks – How to Grow Your Hair Back
While having bald patches is not something to lose sleep over, it can distress some people who consider hair loss to be a serious problem. Bald patches result from hair loss, and there are a good many ways to help your scalp look new. There are both surgery options and natural remedies.
Bald patches are the result of hair loss and thinning. The way hair loss should be treated depends on what the underlying cause is.
The scientific term for hair loss is alopecia. While it can affect any skin region where there is hair, it is the scalp that loses its “coat” more often. Men are more likely to develop the disease than women are.
What can cause bald patches?
In most cases, alopecia is inherited. That being said, the only known way to treat it is surgery. However, genetic predisposition is not the only thing that can sprinkle hairless spots on your head.
Traumas and injuries are not the most common cause of bald patches, but it can also be the case. Scar tissue can result from burns, diseases (such as lupus, sarcoidosis, infections, skin cancer, etc.), X-ray, or injuries. Scarred tissues usually prevent hair from growing, so such areas remain hairless.
Alopecia areata is a kind of hair loss that leads to bald patches. The causes of it are unknown, but hair can grow back within several months, unless hair on other body parts is lost too.
Among other factors are aging, protein deficiency, iron deficiency, hormone changes (thyroid problems), medications (including chemotherapy), and intake of excessive amounts of vitamin A.
Growing back lost hair
Depending on what triggered hair loss, you can use different treatments.
If your bald patches are inherited, your doctor will likely advise you to opt for hair replacement surgery. There are various kinds of it, including the following:
- Hair transplant. Since sides and the back of the head are rarely affected, grafts (areas of scalp with growing hair) are relocated from these areas to where there is no hair.
- Flap surgery. This approach implies removal of the scalp part that has no hair growing on it, and the skin that does have hair is placed there instead of it. This type of surgery is considered preferable, as the flap being replaced remains connected to the original blood supply.
- Scalp expansion. Using a special device, new skin cells are grown in a skin patch, which is then expanded and placed instead of the bald area. It takes several weeks to expand a patch of skin.
- Scalp reduction. This method is based on removal of the bald skin part and pulling together the skin around the removed area.
If surgery is something you dread or want to avoid for some other reason, you can try using minoxidil, which is widely known as Rogaine. Another option is corticosteroid injections, but it’s used in those patients who are losing hair due to inflammatory disease.
Treatment of underlying conditions, if it is them that caused hair loss in your case, is the best way to try to stimulate hair growth.
It has recently been revealed that the way hair grows is regulated by communication between skin regions. According to researchers, the signaling pathways used in these processes can be influenced by means of pharmacological solutions. However, there is no such way to affect hair growth yet, and natural remedies are the only substitution.
- Onion juice. Do not let the juice smell deter you – there is scientific evidence suggesting that onion juice can promote hair growth if applied twice a day for 2 weeks.
- Protein-rich food. Make sure your diet provides you with enough nutrients. Protein deficiency can be one of the reasons behind hair loss. However, eating a lot of red meat, which is a good source of proteins, is something to be avoided. Look for healthier options, preferably vegetables.
- Check whether your blood iron levels are normal. Anemia can result in hair loss. If that’s the case, you may consider taking iron supplements.
You may also come across advice to take zinc and biotin supplements, but it is recommended that you consult a doctor first before taking them, as uncontrolled intake of supplements can be dangerous.