Pump Up the Hair: Cortisone Treatments for Hair Loss

steroidmanXSmallAs we’ve discussed previously on our blog, genetically linked balding (androgenetic alopecia) can be treated with topical, botanically derived treatments.  The most common treatments for male pattern loss remains the topical formula which includes minoxidil and the oral medication finesteride resulting in 80-90% halting the progression of hair loss.  For hair loss where inflammation is prominent, like alopecia areata, the steroid cortisone is the treatment option for hair restoration since surgery is certainly not an option.

The term STEROID conjures images of muscular athletes and body builders, but it should be known that there are some viable, medical uses for cortisone, a type of steroid.   Anabolic –androgenic steroids are often the culprit behind over-developed muscles and the super human athletic abilities you hear about in the news. This class of steroids works primarily to facilitate the rapid growth of muscle and allows for enhanced endurance.  This happens because anabolic-androgenic steroids mimic sex linked androgens like testosterone that signal the body to boost protein synthesis and create muscle.   One downside to these steroids is that they often accelerate hair loss in men and women who are genetically predisposed to balding (among other side effects when used in high doses without caution.)

Corticosteroids are also a class of steroids; which work to mimic the naturally occurring hormone cortisone.  According to an article published by the International  Alliance of hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS), corticosteroids are used in hair-restoration therapy for their ability to regulate the body’s inflammatory response, allergic reactions, and the symptoms of auto-immune disorders.  Any alopecia involving scarring such as lupus would be considered a type of balding which would be responsive to cortisones.  Alopecia areata, is balding exhibited as perfectly round, smooth circles on the scalps of men, women, and children.  With this condition, monthly injections of very dilute cortisone are injected just under the skin just to the depth of the hair follicles which inhibits the inflammation of white blood cells: allowing hair regrowth within 1 to 4 months (typically).  The limited use of this cortisone is very safe and usually results in no side effects and does not suppress the body’s immune system.

In this age of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), many patients both men and women have been given topical or injections of low dose hormone replacement.  All these medications can increase the natural balding of the patient.  These persons should especially investigate the use of a blocker like finesteride so that the messenger of baldness, DHT, will be blocked and baldness will be prevented.  This advice applies to both males and females.  Of course, females of child bearing age should not use finesteride without understanding its uses and its potential side effects.

It is of utmost importance that you seek the medical advice from your dermatologist before you begin taking any steroid-like product for hair restoration and regrowth.  To learn more about the other non-surgical hair-loss treatments available through Dr. Edmond Griffin visit The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research’s website, contact their office, or subscribe to their blog.