Hair Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids

These are often known as 'steroids' for short and are used to treat cases of alopecia areata. They work by suppressing the body's immune system which is often the cause of the condition in the first place.

The immune system turns upon the body, treating it as a foreign invader. It releases white blood cells and anti-bodies to attack the suspected invader which is this case happen to be the hair follicles. The follicles become inflamed and weaken which results in damaged hair that eventually falls out.

Two types of steroid treatment for alopecia areata

Corticosteroids dampen down this immune response which gives the follicles a chance to recover and grow new hair. There are two forms of treatment:

  • Steroid injections
  • Steroid creams or gels (also known as 'topical steroids')

Steroid treatment for hair loss

The injections are the most effective form of treatment particularly for small patches of hair loss. And they can be used for other areas of hair loss such as the eyebrows.

A liquid solution is injected into the scalp several times. It takes around a month for this to work and for new hair to grow. This process is repeated every few weeks.

Are there any side effects of steroid injections? There is a risk of thinning skin as a result of these injections and they can be painful as well. Acne is another side effect.