For many people, their hair is their crowning glory. So, losing it as a result of the autoimmune disease alopecia areata can be upsetting. While there are number of prescription drugs that can either stimulate hair growth or reduce the impact of your immune disorder so your hair can grow, here are two natural solutions you may want to try first.
Massage Essential Oils Into the Scalp
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to successfully treat a variety of medical ailments. Though it may seem unlikely at first, massaging an oil into your scalp can actually stimulate hair growth—since the condition is caused by an immune disorder—a clinical study did find this particular treatment can be beneficial for some.
In the study, 43 patients massaged a mix of essential oils (lavender, cedarwood, thyme, and rosemary as well as grapeseed and jojoba carrier oils) into their scalps for seven months. At the end of the study, researchers found 44 percent of the experimental group experienced some hair regrowth versus 15 percent of the control group.
Essential oils tend to be non-toxic and have few, if any, side effects, which is why you may want to give this treatment a try before using prescription drugs. You can also use them while undergoing drug therapy, but it's best to consult with your healthcare provider before doing so to ensure it's safe.
Increase Your Vitamin D Consumption
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that's necessary for proper immune function. In fact, a number of studies have linked several autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, with vitamin D deficiency. One theory is that vitamin D helps regulatory T cells differentiate between native (your own) and foreign tissues. Low amounts of vitamin D means dumber T cells that can't properly identify foreign agents and, thus, attack everything.
It's a good idea to get your vitamin D levels checked and, if they are low, to begin a supplementation regime to ensure you are getting the proper daily amounts. This may alleviate your autoimmune disorder on a systemic level enough so that it stops attacking your hair follicles enough to let the hair regrow.
It's important to note that these remedies may only work on people who have mild to moderate alopecia areata. If your condition is severe or doesn't respond to these treatments, you should consult with an immunologist at a medical center like The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC for more aggressive therapies that may be more appropriate.