Topical Sensitizers in Alopecia Areata

While not technically a research result, many studies are sited in this extensive overview of using topical sensitizers to treat alopecia areata. If you are interested in this form of treatment you would be well advised to read this article in it’s entirety.

This was originally posted on the 29th of September, 2004 by Amy J. McMichael Robert L. Henderson, Jr.

We again give mad props to the wonderful Medline website.


Though many therapies exist for alopecia areata, one of the most unique is topical sensitization. By altering the pathogenic inflammatory response with few side effects, sensitizers offer an attractive treatment option for many patients with alopecia areata, including those who have previously failed more traditional treatments and those who have extensive disease.


Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease of the hair follicle resulting in patchy or total hair loss from any area on the body. Although many forms of alopecia exist, alopecia areata is distinctive for its circular, nonscarring involvement of the scalp (Hordinsky, 2001). While AA is seen throughout all populations with an equal incidence in men and women (Muller Winkelmann, 1963), it is more common in younger ages. An estimated 60% of those who develop AA do so before the age of 20 years (Price, 1991).

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