Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system destroys the hair follicles of the affected individual, resulting in hair loss.
While this hair loss may be undetectable at first, if it occurs often, the regions of alopecia areata may merge together and become more noticeable.
Alopecia areata affects approximately 2% of the population.
Understandably, the condition can be distressing. However, there are numerous treatments available to assist in managing the symptoms of hair loss.
Continue reading to learn about the best common treatments for alopecia areata.
Topical immunotherapy is the most effective treatment for extensive alopecia areata, including alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.
It entails the application of chemicals straight to the scalp in order to elicit an allergic response. As a result, the immune system is stimulated, and hair growth is boosted.
Dinitrochlorobenzene, diphencyprone, and squaric acid dibutyl ester are all examples of chemicals that could be used in this manner.
Topical minoxidil is best for mild alopecia areata. Minoxidil, most often addressed as Rogaine, is an over-the-counter topical treatment that is simple to apply.
It enhances hair growth once the follicle is no longer attacked by the immune system and is able to produce hair. Usually, topical minoxidil solutions contain a concentration of 2 or 5%. Once or twice daily, you apply the treatment straight to the scalp or any other area requiring it.
It stimulates blood flow to hair follicles, awakens dormant follicles, and promotes hair growth.
Topical anthralin is also best for mild alopecia areata. Anthralin cream was initially used to treat psoriasis but was later shown to be useful for mild alopecia areata.
Also referred to as a "scalp sensitizer," Anthralin causes an irritating reaction that activates the immune system and promotes hair growth.
It is applied once daily straight to the scalp in places where hair growth is desired. You apply it for a specified amount of time and then wash it off.
Also best for mild alopecia areata, corticosteroid injections are frequently used to treat alopecia areata because they function by regulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation.
Alopecia areata patients experience hair loss due to their immune systems attacking the body's natural processes. Corticosteroids work by preventing these attacks.
They are a synthetic form of cortisol; a hormone produced naturally by the adrenal glands of the body. They are injected into hair loss areas to stimulate new growth.
Oral Corticosteroids are perfect for extensive alopecia areata, including alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.
While corticosteroid injections are more effective, the drug may be used topically or taken orally as a tablet.
Oral corticosteroids, like their other forms, function by inhibiting the immune system and inflammation in the body, which promotes hair regrowth.
Alopecia areata can be a difficult condition to manage, but recent scientific advances indicate that the treatment options will continue to expand in the future.
While there is currently no FDA-approved treatment, novel approaches, such as the oral Janus kinase inhibitor, may get approval following clinical trials. The FDA has approved this inhibitor for other indications, and dermatologists have safely used it orally and topically in recent years.
It's critical to consult a physician before starting any new treatment, as many have negative effects.