tofacitinib for alopecia - a patient's storyUnlike some men who have a receding hairline, Mike Thomas went almost completely bald in his 40s due to alopecia. A shock that he said made him feel like a ‘freak.’ Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease affecting about 147 million men and women of any age. Basically, your immune system attacks hair follicles and results in hair loss and while the cause is still relatively unknown, it is thought to be a result of trauma / stress or lifestyle factors.

Losing his hair made Mike feel depressed and lacking self-esteem.

When he took part in clinical trials by taking a pill used for arthritis, he found his hair returning after just a few months. He joined 65 others to take part in a study by Stanford, Yale and Columbia University to trial Xeljanz, usually prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers (which is also an autoimmune disease). He was one of 50% that saw signs of hair regrowth and part of the third who saw more than 50% of their hair return. While Mike saw hair growth where he’d lost it due to the alopecia, he didn’t see regrowth of his receding hairline caused by male pattern baldness.

Another option

In this case, scalp micropigmentation (or SMP) would be a great way to help hair loss both from alopecia AND male pattern balding. It is often known as a ‘camouflage’ treatment and is becoming increasingly popular. SMP is a non-surgical, non-invasive technique where natural pigments are applied to the scalp to look like natural regrowth of hair follicles. It is an ideal cover up for all types of hair loss including receding hairlines and patches of hair thinning or baldness. While early testing of Xeijanz have proved successful for reversing the effects of alopecia, there is no cure for male pattern balding. SMP is becoming a more popular choice for a cost effective way to give the illusion of a fuller head of hair or fuller hair line.

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By Ian Watson

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