If you have alopecia areata (AA), a condition that involves hair loss and can lead to bald patches, you’re likely curious about whether certain baldness plus hair maintenance products can help manage or improve your condition.
It may feel like you’re being bombarded with advertisements for new products — from topicals to implants and everything in-between — plus it’s not a coincidence. These products are having a resurgence in mainstream media advertising, from TV commercials in order to ads on the internet and public transit.
Curious if these viral items could be a fit for your alopecia? Here’s what the experts say.
What to Know Before You Try Popular Hair Products with regard to Alopecia
Alopecia areata is a type of autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, leading to hair thinning.
Various new hair loss products are available — whether over-the-counter, by prescription, or even as subscription services. Depending on the particular product, it may claim to help you:
- Retain natural tresses
- Disguise thinning hair
- Implant and regrow hair or hair alternatives
Many of these options may be enticing if you have a condition like alopecia. But , before you rush to try one of these products, consult with a dermatologist to develop an appropriate individualized treatment plan, says Dina D. Strachan, MD , a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at New York University plus director in Aglow Dermatology in New York City.
“There are usually many treatments for hairloss, but these are diagnosis-dependent, ” Dr. Strachan says. “Get the diagnosis first, then seek to treat. ”
This is especially important with alopecia, as there’s more than one type and level of severity for this condition, none of which respond equally in order to treatment. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , there are three main types associated with autoimmune alopecia:
- Alopecia areata, the most common type, which can result in patchy hair loss anywhere on the body, including your scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes
- Alopecia totalis, which leads to total baldness around the scalp
- Alopecia universalis, the rarest type, which usually results in full-body baldness
The prognosis can vary through type to type. Some people may be able to regrow curly hair without condition recurrence, while others may experience permanent baldness across their entire body.
Tresses Regrowth Items
However, “topical minoxidil can help in some cases of minimal alopecia areata, but if there’s active inflammation, it’s unlikely to make a considerable difference, ” adds Lindsey Bordone, MD , a dermatologist who specializes in hair reduction at ColumbiaDoctors and is an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City.
In the case of androgenetic alopecia (which is not really autoimmune related and more commonly known as pattern baldness) without severe hair thinning, research shows 5 percent minoxidil has been shown to improve density plus hair shaft diameter.
“It is best to use this early in order to preserve the particular hairs growing on the scalp, [because if] hairs have miniaturized, minoxidil may help to restore a few features associated with the hair prior to it was because thin and fine, ” explains Doctor. Bordone.
When it comes to hairloss in other areas, Bordon notes: “Minoxidil does help in order to improve facial hair growth when applied consistently to the particular beard area. It can also help eyebrow growth, but great care would need to be taken to avoid getting minoxidil within the eye. Use along the eyelashes is strongly discouraged. ”
At the same time, there is several risk of excessive locks growth within the forehead plus sideburn region due in order to minoxidil applied to the particular scalp, Bordone adds.
“If facial hair becomes excessive, and this is sometimes problematic within women, the minoxidil might need to be discontinued, ” she says. “If hair growth persisted beyond six months after discontinuation, then laser tresses removal or even other remedies to reduce hair would certainly likely become needed. ”
Curly hair Implants
While it can be tempting to many, both Bordone and Strachan caution against seeking out implant treatments regarding alopecia.
“Implanted hair that isn’t done through the transplant is not a good FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approved treatment, ” Bordone explains. “Most claims made for hair regrowth are false. The only studies showing over-the-counter improvement in development that have significant scientific support involve the particular use associated with minoxidil. ”
Locks Regrowth Serums
Many popular plus name-brand serums seek in order to address hair loss or loss for curly hair on other parts of the body. These various serums claims to improve eyelash length and thickness and assist regrow eyebrow hair — but Bordone advises talking to your doctor before trying them for alopecia-related hair loss.
“Using any product near the eyes carries risk, ” the girl says. “I only recommend physician-prescribed bimatoprost solution for use in these delicate areas. ”
Prescription Options intended for Alopecia
Prescription medications are also available for various types of alopecia, the lady adds, including one that recently became FDA-approved to treat alopecia areata, specifically. This new oral drug, baracitinib (Olumiant) will be primarily to get people who experience from least 50 percent hair reduction.
“Physicians may also perform steroid injections when limited areas are involved, ” Bordone says.
Other options include topical corticosteroids or anthralin, which is applied to the bald area in order to help stimulate hair regrowth.
Overall, these types of options provide promise for those living along with alopecia areata. “We possess considerable success with therapy in most cases, ” notes Bordone.
Temporary Fixes and Other Options
If over-the-counter or even prescription options aren’t working for you, you may be curious about temporary solutions that can help camouflage hair loss. Some choices to try that are safe for alopecia include:
“Pigmented fibers that look like hair or even different dark makeup powders and sprays on the particular scalp may give the illusion associated with additional locks, ” Bordone adds.
According to Strachan, items that don’t specifically address inflammation but stimulate plus support hair regrowth could furthermore be helpful as a supplemental therapy tool pertaining to autoimmune-related alopecia. One such example is red light caps, which are FDA-cleared for androgenetic alopecia and can be effective for pattern hair reduction. Like minoxidil, red light works to promote blood flow, in addition to inhibiting DHT (aka the particular androgen dihydrotestosterone), similar to finasteride , which is frequently prescribed meant for male-pattern hair loss. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Additionally , dietary supplements — whenever used in conjunction with other treatments — can sometimes assistance regrowth by providing a burst of nutrients, she says.
“For example, people with this condition who are zinc deficient get some hair growth benefit when this deficiency is addressed, ” she says. “Good hair and scalp hygiene also decrease inflammation which supports recovery. ”
The Bottom Line
Whether or not popular hair growth products may help your own alopecia depends largely on your individual diagnosis and situation as each person reacts uniquely to different treatments. It’s important to keep your physician in the loop to help you understand the particular risks plus prioritize your overall health above cosmetic concerns.
“Using an inappropriate product could delay analysis, leading in order to increased and permanent tresses loss or missing an underlying medical problem, ” emphasizes Strachan.