Can You Treat Hair Loss With Antihistamines?'

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Name: Jamie

Question: I read on a forum that hair loss can be treated with anti-histamines. Can you tell me which ones work best? should I use cream or tablets?

Antihistamines for Hair LossAnswer: Hi, Jamie. The use of the anti-histamines for hair loss is something that crops up often on internet forums, however the advice is often misleading. We do not advise using antihistamines as a hair loss treatment.

Firstly, it depends entirely on what the hair loss condition is as to which treatments should be used. Secondly, anti-histamines have only been used, as far as we are aware, to treat bald spots brought on by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata. Even in these instances, findings have been fairly inconclusive given the patchy hair loss this can cause often regrows spontaneously anyway so any benefits are difficult to measure precisely.

The Department of Regenerative Dermatology at Osaka University in Japan carried out an Alopecia Areata clinical trial in 2009 which discovered fexofenadine - a type of oral antihistamine - could be useful when taken as an accompaniment to topical immunotherapy, however it was not advised as a treatment in its own right.

It seems as if the rumours about antihistamines and hairloss stems from the fact that both Alopecia Areata and Androgenetic Alopecia - commonly known as Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss - are often referred to as 'alopecia'. This can be confusing, especially given they are extremely different conditions.

Androgenetic hair loss is a permanent, progressive form of shedding that is inherited through your blood line. It causes gradually thinning hair around the top of the head and hairline and can lead to baldness in men. There are only two clinically-proven hair loss treatments recoginised to treat this in men - finasteride 1mg and high strength minoxidil - the latter of which can also be used by women.

Alopecia Areata, however, is considered an autoimmune disease that suspends the normal hair growth cycle leading to one or more rounded bald patches anywhere on the scalp. These develop suddenly and the hair tends to fall in clumps, as opposed to the thinning seen in genetic hair loss. Although the hair will grow back naturally in many cases, alopecia areata treatment may help to speed up this process.

If you are concerned about excessive shedding or sudden hair fall, the first step is to have a hair loss specialist assess you to determine the cause. They can then talk you through your condition and recommend specially tailored treatment courses to help combat the problem.
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