Topical Immunotherapy for Severe Alopecia
Immunotherapy can be used to treat hair loss sufferers with severe alopecia who have extensive areas of baldness. A chemical solution is applied topically to exposed skin where hair loss is present (hence this treatment often being referred to as ‘Topical Immunotherapy’), however, at 40%, the success rate for this type of treatment is less than half.
Topical immunotherapy patients apply diphencyprone (DPCP) to the bald areas of their scalp affected by alopecia, once per week using a swab.
As DPCP can cause moderate to severe allergic reactions, the dosage is generally started at a low level then increased with each application in order to build up the skin’s tolerance to the chemical. If successful, regrowth from topical immunotherapy should start to show after approximately 3 months of treatment.
Generally Topical Immunotherapy needs to be on-going in order to maintain hair growth.
Whilst skin rashes are common with this type of treatment, a rare but noteworthy side effect of immunotherapy is vitiligo which can cause rashes and skin discolouration.