Ultraviolet A-1 Phototherapy: Alternative Alopecia Areata Treatment

Phototherapy with ultraviolet A-1 (UVA-1) has been considered a promising treatment option for patients afflicted with alopecia areata.

Phototherapy with ultraviolet A-1 (UVA-1) has been considered a promising treatment option for patients afflicted with alopecia areata.

A research letter recently published in the International Journal of Dermatology, followed Maira E. Herz-Ruelas, MD, University Hospital, Monterrey, Mexico, and her colleagues’ study in which they treated four patients with refractory alopecia areata with UVA-1 phototherapy.

Before and after 75 sessions, the team withdrew two separate 4 mm punch scalp biopsies from alopecic plaque. Following the 75 sessions, study results indicated that all four patients showed a prominent reduction of inflammatory infiltrate, a reduction in telogen hairs, and miniaturization of hair follicles with simultaneous increase in anagen hairs.

Using the severity of alopecia tool (SALT), three patients received a score of S0 and the patient who demonstrated the most severe alopecia had a score of S1 with hair regrowth.

Furthermore, the levels of improvement were maintained even after six months post treatment.

Herz-Ruelas and colleagues concluded, “To the best of our knowledge, this is an initial report of hair regrowth with this phototherapy. We feel that UVA-1 could be included as a therapeutic alternative for patients unresponsive to previous topical or systemic pharmacological treatments.”