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Synthetic Vitamin D Derivative Trialled as Alopecia Treatment

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The ‘sunshine vitamin’ vitamin D has frequently been linked to hair growth and having a potentially beneficial result on certain hair loss issues.

It is a subject regularly explored in clinical trials, particularly with regards to the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

Researchers at Aswan University Hospital in Egypt have reportedly now completed an interventional trial comparing the efficacy of calcipotriol ointment to narrow band UVB phototherapy in treating, and elevating the vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) levels, in adults with patchy hair loss from scalp-only Alopecia Areata.

Diagram Belgravia Centre Different Types of Alopecia Areata autoimmune hair loss
Areas affected by hair loss shown in blue

People with the more extensive phenotypes – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Totalis – which cause the entire head or the whole body from head to toe, to also become hairless, were excluded from the study.

Vitamin D3 levels

According to trial registration information published on the clinicaltrials.gov database, there were three interventional arms used and one control group (IV) which was given a placebo.

One arm involved participants in group II being treated with a narrow band UVB device, whilst group I was treated with topical calcipotriol. Group III was treated with both narrow band UVB and calcipotriol ointment.

Calcipotriol is a synthetic derivative of a type of vitamin D known as calcitriol. It is currently widely used in cream form to treat the skin condition plaque psoriasis, which is also an autoimmune disease.

UVB phototherapy delivered to the scalp via a narrow band device uses these rays to help stimulate the follicles into accelerating hair growth, in a similar way to how Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) devices, such as the HairMax LaserBands work. These FDA-cleared devices are currently not recommended for Alopecia Areata, however.

Results, which were measured at the 3 month mark, were assessed using the Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT) and the serum vitamin D levels (ng/ml) with both sets of readings compared from before and after completing the course.

Although the clinical trial was completed on 31st December 2018, and the registration documentation was updated to confirm this on 21st February 2019, the findings have not yet been released.

Dealing with scalp-only Alopecia Areata

Interestingly, when Alopecia Areata only affects the scalp, generally causing sudden hair loss which results in one or many rounded bald patches of varying sizes, in many cases hair regrowth tends to occur naturally within 12 months.

It is also the phenotype with the highest success rate from treatment; although there are not currently any MHRA-licensed nor FDA-approved medications for this specific purpose, there are a number of Alopecia Areata treatment options for adults which have proved to be effective in treating the scalp-only form.

At Belgravia we offer consultations to adults concerned about losing their hair – for whatever reason – and, once a hair loss specialist has made a diagnosis, personalised treatment recommendations can then be made.

Further assistance, in the form of peer support and recommendations for therapists who may help those affected to better cope with Alopecia Areata, can be found from hair loss charities, such as Alopecia UK. The work of these dedicated organisations should not be undervalued as their assistance can form a crucial part in any holistic approach to tacking hairloss.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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