The main connection between prednisone and hair loss seems to be that, as a side effect of using of the drug, some users have complained of thinning hair. Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid often prescribed to treat inflammation. Synthetic corticosteroids refer to a manufactured version of the steroid hormone that is naturally produced in the adrenal gland. By affecting the balance of these hormones, the normal cycle of hair growth may be affected, and the hair may become brittle. Hair loss may also occur in patients once they stop taking the medication or while using the drug for cancer treatment.
It appears that some of the hair loss issues faced by prednisone users may not be directly caused by the hair falling out, but instead by the fact that high doses of the drug can make hair more brittle. This brittleness can make hair more fragile and increase shedding and breakage. Hair thinning may become more severe in individuals taking prednisone who also choose to use a chemical process on their hair such as hair dye or a perm. The chemicals used in these processes can strip the hair and cause it to become wispier and finer than average. To counterbalance the dryness and prevent hair loss, the use of moisturizing treatments and conditioners may be useful.
Interestingly, this drug and other corticosteroids may be prescribed to treat alopecia areata, a form of hair loss that is thought to occur when the immune system views hair follicles as a foreign object and destroys these healthy tissues. As a result of the attack, normal hair growth is suspended and bald patches may begin appearing in the scalp. As prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug, it may sometimes be used to slow or reverse the condition. The hair loss that some individuals notice may be attributed to the fact that, the once treatment is stopped, the immune system response will no longer be suppressed.
Even though a prednisone user may suspect that his hair loss is caused by taking the drug, losing hair can have many causes that may not always be obvious. Chemotherapy patients, for instance, are often prescribed this corticosteroid as part of the treatment process. If hair loss occurs in these individuals, the cause may actually be another chemotherapy drug. Radiation therapy, which also kills healthy cells, may also cause hair loss that occurs only in the area of the body where the radiation was given.
Ultimately, the connection between prednisone and hair loss is still being explored. For an accurate diagnosis of the cause of hair loss and treatment, people who use this or other corticosteroids should speak with a healthcare professional. If the connection between the two is clearly indicated, a change in dosage or the use of additional medications may be used to help avoid this side effect.
Can You Prevent Hair Loss from Prednisone?
In most cases, hair loss will naturally reverse after you taper off a prednisone treatment regimen. If you plan to start prednisone in the near future, though, you might want to prevent hair loss from happening in the first place. There are a few options you can try that may offer a proactive solution to prednisone-induced hair loss.
Some users report that starting a minoxidil treatment plan prior to starting prednisone can help stave off some of the hair loss. Minoxidil works by altering the hair growth cycle and shortening its resting phase. Similarly, you can invest in biotin supplements and start taking these before and during your prednisone treatment. Biotin works why stimulating the body’s production of keratin, which in turn, strengthens the strands of hair while increasing follicular growth.
Maintaining a healthy diet full of nutrients is also essential to preventing hair loss from prednisone. Some hair loss is caused or exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies, so it’s imperative that you get enough protein and vitamins from your diet.
Prednisone and Hair Loss: Will It Grow Back?
If you’ve already undergone a prednisone treatment and experienced hair loss, you’re likely wondering if it will ever grow back. In most cases, the answer is yes. The majority of people who experience this side effect will notice that their hair begins regrowing within a month or two after they have stopped prednisone.
For some people, it may take longer, though. It may take up to three to six months, or in some cases, 12 to 18 months. In order to ensure that your hair grows back, you can apply some of the aforementioned preventative treatments such as using minoxidil or biotin and maintaining a healthy diet.
In rare instances, prednisone patients might not see regrowth after hair loss. This is more common for men than it is for women, though it can affect both. If you experience this, you should talk to your doctor about potential treatment methods for reversing the hair loss.
Does Prednisone Affect Hair Texture?
Prednisone can affect hair growth, but can it affect hair texture, too? Yes. Prednisone can affect the texture of hair on your scalp and your body — and interestingly, it often has the opposite effect on each. Hair on the body is sometimes reported to become thicker while hair on the scalp is often said to become more brittle.
This contrast is more common amongst women. Hirsutism — or male-pattern hair growth throughout the body — is a known side effect of prednisone. It may occur in combination with a thinning of the hair and a change in its texture. This is commonly attributed to prednisone’s ability to increase the concentration of androgens in the body.
Hair texture can be affected by prednisone in both men and women, though. It may make hair more brittle and porous by increasing the level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. Too much DHT makes hair follicles shrink, thus becoming more brittle and thin.