What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition that causes the rapid onset of round patches of baldness. The cause of alopecia areata is unknown, although in some cases, alopecia areata has been associated with autoimmune diseases.
People are often in good health. In approximately one-fifth of people who develop alopecia areata, there is a family history.
Natural Remedies for Alopecia Areata
In most people with alopecia areata, hair usually grows back within a year without any treatment. The following are some natural remedies that have been explored for alopecia areata.
1) Essential Oils
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the use of a combination of essential oils or a placebo oil in 86 people with alopecia areata. The combination oil was a mixture of thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood essential oils in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed). This oil was massaged into the scalp daily. The control group used only the carrier oils for their massage, also daily.
After 7 months, 19 (44%) of 43 people using the essential oil blend showed an improvement compared with 6 (15%) of 41 people in the control group. Although no side effects were associated with the topical application of essential oils, they may cause allergic reactions in some people.
2) Onion Juice
A study published in the Journal of Dermatology examined the effectiveness of onion juice or placebo in people with alopecia areata. Twenty-three people with alopecia areata applied the onion juice twice daily for two months, and 15 people applied tap water twice daily for two months.
People in the onion group began to experience regrowth of hair after two weeks of treatment. At four weeks, hair regrowth was seen in 17 (73.9%) people and at six weeks, hair regrowth was observed in 20 (86.9%) people. Improvement was significantly higher among males. In the tap water control group, hair regrowth was apparent in only 2 people at 8 weeks.
A preliminary study explored the use of hypnosis on hair growth and well-being in people with alopecia. The study involved 28 people with extensive alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, or alopecia universalis who did not respond to previous conventional treatments.
After treatment with hypnosis, all patients had a significantly lower score for anxiety and depression. Hair regrowth of 75% to 100% was seen in 12 people after 3 to 8 sessions of hypnotherapy. Total regrowth occurred in 9 of these 12 people. In 5 people, a significant relapse occurred.
There were major limitations to this study, however, including the small size of the study, the lack of a placebo group, and the fact that the study was not double-blind. Larger, well-designed studies are needed.
Find out more about Hypnosis.
Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol. 134.11 (1998): 1349-1352.
Sharquie KE, Al-Obaidi HK. Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata. J Dermatol. 29.6 (2002): 343-346.
Willemsen R, Vanderlinden J, Deconinck A, Roseeuw D. Hypnotherapeutic management of alopecia areata. J Am Acad Dermatol. 55.2 (2006): 233-237.