The effects of hair loss can be devastating to hair loss sufferers. Treatments for hair loss that can help to reverse hair follicle damage do exist. The effectiveness of treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss and the depth of the damage.
Your hair cycles through resting and growth phases throughout its existence. At any given time, one-tenth of the hairs on your head are in the resting phase, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hair falls out after three to four months in this period. However, some people experience damage that causes the hair to shed for a longer time period or to cease growing at all.
Infections, such as fungal infections, can damage the hair follicles and result in hair loss. Wearing hairstyles that pull too tightly on the scalp also can cause hair loss. Pigtails and cornrows are two hairstyles that can pull excessively and damage the hair follicles, in some instances causing permanent scarring and damage. Hormonal fluctuations can cause hair follicle inflammation that leads to damage. An underactive thyroid gland or imbalanced sex hormones also can lead to scalp inflammation that results in hair loss.
Whether hair will grow from damaged hair follicles depends on the cause and severity of follicle damage. For example, most fungal infections can be easily treated with medications, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Similarly, hormone imbalances because of pregnancy or fluctuating thyroid hormones can be successfully regulated with hormone treatments. However, those who experience significant scarring of the follicles from chemical or hot oil hair treatments may be looking at permanent damage. In addition, follicle damage from common baldness – also known as male or female pattern baldness -- may be more difficult to reverse because the condition is an inherited trait. Treatments are available to minimize follicle damage.
Common Baldness Treatments
Both men and women with common baldness -- also known as androgenetic alopecia -- can use over-the-counter treatments containing minoxidil twice daily to stimulate damaged hair follicles, encouraging hair growth. There is no guarantee that treatment with minoxidil will work, however. At the same time, practice good hair hygiene habits to strengthen your existing hair — eat a balanced diet, refrain from excess heat styling and brushing, and avoid hairstyles that pull tightly at the scalp.
See a physician who can pinpoint the cause of your hair loss. Your physician will ask questions about your diet, medications you take and your lifestyle, such as your daily stress level. If your hair follicle damage is blamed on an underlying medical condition, your physician can prescribe remedies to reduce its effects.