Therapy approaches – Alopecia Areata

Let us be honest: we must soberly admit that unfortunately there is currently no cure for Alopecia Areata. And so the existing therapy approaches are of two types: either they produce some effect as long as the therapy continues (if there is any real effect at all), or they are of rather questionable nature … or even both. Especially since most therapies are not approved for affected children under 16 years of age.

AAD opinion on media reports about healing success

Currently, a wave of new press reports on the potential for healing of Alopecia Areata by means of so-called “JAK inhibitors” is sweeping through the media, mostly the Internet (for example: article in the WELT). The AAD has already voiced their critical assessment of the described substance class in their statement in September last year.

Full text of the statement »

Are there any healing options?

Although the disease is known worldwide and enormous efforts are being made to investigate its causes, no therapy has yet been found which could actually cure the disease. There are symptom therapies, which may lead to partial or even complete rehabilitation. However, after the therapy has been discontinued, cases of recurring hair loss are very frequent. Many dermatologists therefore advise their patients to wait. For many affected persons such approach seems incomprehensible and difficult to carry out. Especially when children are affected by AA it is difficult for the parents to just wait and watch the hair loss continue without doing anything about it. However, waiting may indeed lead to self-healing, which would otherwise be suppressed. After all, the spontaneous healing rate (that is, renewed hair growth without prior therapy) is 75-80% – which is the same as that of currently known therapy approaches! For this reason, the significance and the effect of all therapies are viewed with a degree of controversy.

In the following section, we would like to give you an overview of several existing therapeutic approaches. However, we do not wish to claim the list is complete.

PLEASE NOTE: This information cannot replace a personal appointment or consultation with your doctor!

Cortisone (glucocorticoids)

There is scarcely any need to introduce cortisone, the most well-known drug therapy for Alopecia Areata. Often in the case of small inflammation areas affected by spot baldness, often at the onset of the disease, cortisone-containing drugs are used in the form of solutions or creams. The effect of externally applied glucocorticoid preparations is however very limited in case of Alopecia Areata, because of the drug’s limited skin penetration depth. In addition, there are also cortisone injections into the scalp, as well as intravenous infusion (Pulse therapy). Still, as with most treatments for Alopecia Areata, it is difficult to predict or influence the long-term course of the disease, even with temporary cortisone therapy.

Topical immunotherapy (e.g. DCP)

Topical immunotherapy consists in the repeated application of a special contact allergen to the patient’s head. This creates and maintains an allergic contact eczema. As a result of such scalp treatment, new hair growth is stimulated. Presently neither of the two substances are contained in any approved medicines which makes the cost of such treatment quite expensive. Therefore, in general, this method should only be used in the case of extensive and severe forms of Alopecia Areata, but not for children, due to formal legal requirements connected with these medicines. The approved age limits may vary at different medical centers.

Zinc therapy

Zinc therapy is based on the recognition that Alopecia Areata is a disorder of the immune system. Due to the “misinformation” of the immune system the organism tries to destroy the hair root by means of inflammation. Zinc administered into the patient’s body acts as an immunostimulator ensuring that complicated biochemical reactions compensate for cell imbalance in the immune system, which appears to be associated with the cases of occurring “misinformation”. The efficacy of this therapy is also not confirmed.
The advantage of this therapy approach is that it is also available to children, since it obviously does not have any significant side effects.


Thymus peptides, as used in Thymuskin®, stimulate the cells of the immune system to differentiate and multiply. This stimulation liberates the cells’ messenger substances that modulate the entire network of the immune system. Based on experience from its application monitoring at several skin clinics and university clinics, Thymuskin® was also used in patients with Alopecia Totalis and Universalis. In 65% of cases, visible hair growth occurred in the head are and / or body after 9 to 12 months (with daily use of Thymuskin® as hair shampoo). The efficacy of this therapy approach therefore does not exceed the spontaneous healing rate and unfortunately cannot be considered reliable. However, no side effects were observed at all.

You can find more information about the individual therapy approaches in our brochure, which you can request from us.