Corticosteroids are medicines containing steroids that work by suppressing the immune system and reducing inflammation. Therefore, they can be the first line of treatment for patients suffering from certain inflammatory hair loss conditions such as cicatricial alopecia, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium.
Corticosteroids can be administered in three ways:
- intra-lesional (injections)
Oral administration should be provided with good follow-up to observe for side effects like diabetes and stomach ulcers. Mood swings, insomnia, and increased appetite are other potential side effects, especially when given in high doses.
Steroid injections are effective at administering the medication directly into a specific area where it stops the immune system from attacking the hair follicles as well as to reduce inflammation. Treatment should be repeated every four to six weeks. Topical corticosteroids (creams, lotions, gels, foams, or ointments) are prescribed to treat cicatricial alopecia. Most commonly applied once or twice daily, it is a comfortable, pain-free therapy but requires commitment in order to achieve results.