Treating Alopecia Areata

How do you treat Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia Areata is difficult to predict, which means it may require a large amount of trial and error until someone finds something that works. For some people, hair loss may still increase despite treatment.

Below are the primary treatment options prescribed by dermatologists.

  1. Topical Treatment:
  • Topical Corticosteroid - believed to decrease the inflammation around the hair follicle and shown to reduce hair loss.
  • Topical Minoxidil - 5% topical minoxidil solution is applied once or twice a day to help stimulate hair on the scalp, eyebrows and beard to regrow. Topical minoxidil is often applied in combination with topical corticosteroid
  • Anthralin Cream - applied to a hairless patches once a day and then washed off typically after a short time (usually 30-60 minutes later) or in some cases, after several hours. It may irritate the skin and cause brown discoloration. Anthralin is also widely used for psoriasis. 2. Corticosteroid Injections - the most common form of treatment, injected into bare patches of skin - repeated every 4 to 6 weeks
  1. Oral Corticosteroid - sometimes prescribed for extensive scalp hair loss to try to suppress disease activity and regrow hair. Can have long term side effects and not advised to take for too long
  2. Light Therapy - also called photochemotherapy or just phototherapy. It’s a type of radiation treatment that uses a combination of an oral medication called psoralens and UV light
  3. Topical Immunotherapy - applying chemicals such as diphencyprone (DPCP), dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) or squaric acid dibutyl ester (SADBE) to the scalp, which causes an allergic rash (allergic contact dermatitis) that looks like poison oak or ivy, that in turn alters the immune response on the scalp. Topical immunotherapy is not widely available.