Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Alopecia: A Comprehensive Review

    February 2019 in “ Skin appendage disorders
    Anna-Marie Hosking, Margit Juhasz, Natasha Atanaskova Mesinkovska
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    TLDR Some alternative treatments for hair loss might work, but more research is needed.
    The document reviewed the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for alopecia, indicating that while some treatments show promise, there is a need for more robust clinical studies and standardization. Treatments such as garlic gel, onion juice, procyanidin B-2, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil lotion, saw palmetto, and various forms of vitamin D have shown improvements in hair count, density, and thickness, with some studies reporting significant improvements and mild adverse events. However, the studies varied in design and quality, with participant numbers ranging from single case reports to hundreds. Topical treatments like caffeine, curcumin, capsaicin, raspberry ketone creams, and a hexane extract of Curcuma aeruginosa combined with minoxidil showed positive results, but more research is needed. Biotin, despite its popularity, lacks randomized controlled trial evidence for its effectiveness in alopecia. Vitamin D, vitamin E derivatives, zinc, acupuncture, and mind and body medicine have potential benefits, but evidence is inconclusive or limited. The document stresses the importance of clinicians being informed about CAM products and their effects to provide accurate patient counseling, and the need for evidence-based practice when recommending these treatments for alopecia.
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