Insane Facts About the Human Hair Used in Wigs & Extensions


Wearing other people's hair on your head sounds a bit odd when you really think about it, but for millions of men and women around the world, it's a natural part of their lives. Wigs and hair extensions have become so commonplace and necessary that a lot of us no longer think about where they come from or exactly how they eventually end up on our heads. But there are some very interesting and downright crazy facts about the human hair used in wigs and hair extensions. Here are just some of them:

A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

While it may not seem like it, the human hair industry is extremely lucrative. There's money to be made at just about every stage: from those who sell their hair, to cleaning it, sorting it and creating beautiful wigs out of it. Human hair has become so valuable that they can go for up to $700 a pound. Some salons have even been burglarised for it. And during one major hair auction, companies bid almost $14 million dollars for it! It's no wonder then that in India, one of the main sources of human hair, it is referred to as 'black gold'.

The Biggest Sources of Human Hair

So where do most of the human hair used to make wigs come from? As you may have already figured out, they come from two of the most populated countries in the world: India and China. In these places, shaving one's head is viewed as a traditional religious practice. In pilgrimages to such temples as the Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala, India, hundreds of barbers will shave a different person's head every five minutes! That's a lot of hair.

There's Hair in Your Pizza!

The demand for human hair wigs has increased dramatically in recent years, and so has the use of human hair. Not only are they being used for wigs and hair extensions, they're also used for fake lashes, fertilizers, stuffing, and they can even be found in your pizza! That may sound unappetizing, but it's actually just the amino acids produced from human hair that is added into the dough of pizza and bagels.

Big Money for Blondes

The saying 'blondes have more fun' is contentious, but blondes earning more in the hair industry is a fact. That's because natural blonde hair is prized in the human hair industry more than any other type of hair. Russian women with naturally long, blonde hair can get hundreds of dollars for their locks. There have even been cases of these women being flown to wigmakers for their hair. One case in Indiana involved a woman earning $1,500 for her golden locks! This figure is nothing however, compared to how much the wig made of her hair cost, which was a whopping $8,000.

Iconic Wigs and Wig Owners

Fans of the Kardashian-Jenners will know that Kylie Jenner is a great fan of human hair wigs. She owns several different wigs made by celebrity wigmaker Tokyo Stylez. But long before the young Jenner, many other celebrities, icons and royalty have owned wigs that have become iconic themselves. Back in her day, Queen Elizabeth I had more than 150 wigs, and King Louis XIV had over 40 wigmakers. Some of the

more recent icons who owned wigs include Michael Jackson and painter Andy Warhol, whose own wig sold for a hefty $10, 800!

It Takes a Lot to Make a Wig

...And we're not just talking about strands, we're talking time and effort. It takes several days to make just one wig, as this process involves untangling, sorting, washing, drying, dyeing and sewing these strands. Some fully-custom-made wigs can take up to eight weeks to finish! If you're a woman looking to find a good wig however, don't worry because you won't have to wait that long. Transitions Hair offers real human hair wigs for women in Sydney that will instantly give you a full head of beautiful, natural-looking hair. Call us on 1300 427 778 today to know more or fill out our contact form to avail of a free, personalised and private consultation with one of our expert hair replacement professionals.

The Relationship Between Hair Status and Ageing


A healthy head of lustrous hair is not just about looking good. Our ‘hair status’ is often intrinsically linked to how we feel about ourselves. There’s a notion that healthy, shiny and good-looking hair is part of what defines our attractiveness, sexuality and success.

While this is not actually true, the reality is that when our hair isn’t at its best, it can affect us in negative ways. We may feel less attractive and certainly far less confident. While a bad hair day is nothing major, female hair loss may be incredibly stressful, and it’s quite common, particularly as we age.

Hair loss and women

One perception that still lingers is that hair loss is something only men face. But this perception is inaccurate.

A paper published by the US National Library of Medicine concluded that less than 45% of women retain a full hair of hair through life.

Why it is so common?

There are a number of reasons that women develop hair loss or thinning. It may be due to a medical condition such as trichotillomania or polycystic ovary syndrome, or be a side effect of some medications or even menopause.

Hair commonly thins as we age, so even those blessed with healthy hair throughout life may still experience a change in hair appearance. According to the paper, female pattern hair loss (or androgenetic alopecia) is the most common cause of hair loss in women, and its prevalence increases with age - 12% of women develop some form of hair loss by age 29, 25% by age 49, 41% by 69, and over 50% by the age of 79.

Major ongoing stresses may also play a part in hair loss. But whatever the cause, the results are often the same. Women tend to feel less attractive, less confident and unfortunately, often less happy.

What can be done about female hair loss?

For women whose hair is not as thick or lustrous now as it once was, or those who are experiencing any form of female hair loss, it’s important to realise two things.

Firstly, as the statistics show, it’s very common and no one suffers alone. Secondly, there are a number of solutions available for hair loss and thinning. These range from laser therapy to hair-thickening powders, and human-hair wigs and hairpieces that look and feel perfectly natural.

If you’re experiencing issues with hair thinning or loss, and need advice on how to help improve your hair ‘status’, then contact us. We can guide you through the options to regain your head of healthy lustrous hair.

Thinking Naturally for Healthy Hair


Hair loss, as plenty of women and men come to discover, is far more common than most imagine, yet no less stressful for that. While some medical hair loss treatments may assist, there is unfortunately no magic natural cure. Thinking naturally is a good idea however, to help keep your hair as healthy as possible and improve its appearance.

Taking a natural approach

There are plenty of people who believe a natural approach to your hair – and overall health – is the best approach. A balanced diet and regular exercise may help you look and feel good, and we all know that when it comes to food, fresh rather than processed is preferable.  A healthy diet rich in nutrients and vitamins and plenty of water may also have positive benefits for your skin and hair.

As noted by the US Office on Women’s Health, keeping hair in top condition involves a healthy lifestyle and good haircare. Regular washing is recommended but it doesn’t need to be daily. Too often may dry hair, leading to breakage. Ensure the water you wash with isn’t too hot. And just as you avoid ingesting chemicals, minimising the chemicals on your scalp is probably a good idea. Always check the labels of hair dyes, shampoos and other products so you know what they contain, and opt for natural and/or good quality professional products.

Lifestyle factors to consider

According to the Victorian Government’s Better Health site, most hair loss can be attributed to genetic factors, however other medical conditions may play a part.

Chronic stress can also contribute to hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Depending on how severe your stress is, you might consider changing your lifestyle where possible to help minimise your stress levels. This might be through talking to family, friends or a medical practitioner, regular exercise, and other activities such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation.

Other options

Being healthy overall can help improve the appearance of your hair, and keep it in good condition. And if you are affected by hair loss, you should certainly seek medical advice. Hair loss treatments have improved dramatically over the years, and there are also many alternatives such as human-hair extensions that may help hide hair loss and ensure your hair looks healthy and perfectly natural.

Alopecia Treatment Options - VLOG Ep 5.

Before we discuss the treatment options available, there is one thing we need to address:

Alopecia is highly unpredictable. 

For most people with Alopecia, they may get some small balding patches for a time and then the hair will regrow and that will be the end of the story. 

For a smaller percentage of people, they may lose some hair and then it will regrow, then fall out again and regrow again and fall out, and so on and so forth.  It can be a continuous cycle of hair loss.  This is possibly the work type of alopecia experience because with every new cycle of Alopecia hair loss and regrowth there is a new level of expectation, loss and grief.  Often losing your hair the second time is worse than the first.  If only because you thought you had conquered it and found out it was a false hope. 

For and even smaller percentage of people, the hair may fall out and, unfortunately,  not regrow.

There is currently no cure for Alopecia.  There are some exciting things in the pipeline that do look promising and we will bring you the most up-to-date information as it becomes available - so watch this space!

Six Treatment Options for Alopecia

In saying this, there are six different treatment options that you can try:

1. Cortisone Injections

The first course of action should be cortisone (steroid) injections.  Cortisone is a very powerful anti-inflammatory drug that helps to suppress the immune system.  Injections have proven to be the most effective if you get in early.  In fact, it will increase your chance by 50% of hair regrowth if you get in early than if you don’t do anything.  These injections are painful - anything going into your scalp is not nice - and usually you need them every few weeks.  If it is going to work, often times it might be 6-8 weeks before you see any kind of results.

2. Cortisone Creams

These are less effective than the injections because you’re applying them to the surface of the scalp rather than injecting them deeper into the skin where the hair follicles are.  Cortisone creams would need to be applied on a daily basis.

3. Minoxidil

This is something that is effective in Androgenetic Alopecia but that’s quite a bit different to Alopecia Areata or autoimmune related hair loss.  Studies show that it is not that effective for Alopecia Areata however, there is no harm in giving it a go.  It certainly does act as a vasodilator - it does help stimulate the blood vessels around it and also the hair follicles.  Give it a crack, you’ve got nothing to lose.  We do advise you check with your doctor first.

4. Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is something that is often put forward as a treatment for Alopecia.  Anecdotally people do report that it has been beneficial to them, however, there are no clinical studies for Alopecia Areata or the autoimmune related form of Alopecia.  So we couldn’t say with confidence that this treatment will definitely work for you.  Similarly, there are no results to show it works in X% of people because there are no studies that have given us this evidence.

5. Lifestyle Factors

People often say stress is the cause of Alopecia.  In reality, it’s actually not.  Stress is not a huge contributor to Alopecia Areata, though it certainly can be.  If you’ve noticed peak periods of stress in your life when you started getting patches forming on your scalp or on your body,  chances are it is related to that.  Where possible, remove yourself from those stress factors. Sometimes you may have a really important job but I would think that your hair and your overall health are more important.  Your body is sending you a signal.  

6. Photochemotherapy

This is also known as UV Light Treatment.  Your scalp is treated with UV radiation.  It’s something that has probably fallen out of favour over the last few years.  Although there are some small studies that will say that it has acceptable cosmetic results.  In my personal experience of 22 years in looking after people with Alopecia, is that it isn’t very successful.  If you are going to do it, be careful: only do it in small doses, and don’t do it over long periods of time as it could potentially cause Melanomas or skin cancers and the consequent other problems that go with that, plus the premature ageing of the skin.  

New Developments in Treatment

There are some clinical trials going on at the moment.  There have been some good results, predominantly with people who have had short term Alopecia.  For people who have had long term Alopecia (2+ years), they haven’t found these new treatments to be all that effective.  This is a really new and exciting area that we will explore further in an additional post.

Bonus 7th Treatment Option: Cosmetic Approaches

These are real human hair wigs, various forms of extensions or crown extensions, hair systems, cosmetic hair thickening products, etc.  We will look at these more closely in future episodes.  In the meantime, give us a call and get in touch:  Ph: 1300 427 778 (Intl: +612 92124950).  Or send us your details via our contact page.

Sydney Studio: 02 9212 4950

New Zealand: 0276530462

Meet Jo Thompson, Transitions’ New Zealand Representative!

As a leading name in hair loss solutions in Australia, one of our main goals at Transitions Hair has always been to deliver only the best hair loss solutions for women and men all throughout the country. Having just about reached that goal we set our sights even further, partnering with hair replacement and restoration centres all over the world to bring our products to the global market. That of course also meant partnering with hair restoration specialists in one of our closest neighbours, New Zealand.

Bringing The Transitions Hair Experience to New Zealand

Our entry into New Zealand has given us the opportunity to provide the high quality hair loss solutions that so many in this island country have been searching for. But in order to bring the unique and superior Transitions Hair experience to New Zealand, we had to choose a partner that would be able to bring that same level of expertise and quality service to our clients. Thankfully, we were able to meet just the person for the task.

Transitions in New Zealand is being spearheaded by our New Zealand representative Jo Thompson, who has been in the business of hair care and hair restoration for almost 30 years. Jo has worked in numerous salons and hair care companies primarily in the Wellington region, and now she’s bringing our exceptional line of hair loss solutions to clients in New Zealand. These solutions include the revolutionary BioTHIK hair thickening fibres and the complete line of Follea hair products, considered to be the world’s most beautiful and luxurious of cosmetic hair products. With Jo’s experience and dedication to offering not only high quality products but also impeccable service, we have no doubt that our clients in New Zealand will receive nothing but the best in hair restoration solutions.

Get To Know Jo

In the above video we spoke to Jo about her background in hair care, and it is apparent that she shares the same passion and goal as the rest of us here at Transitions Hair. If you currently reside in the Wellington area or surrounding areas and are looking for the best in hair loss solutions, make sure to get in touch with Jo by calling her on 027 653 0462. You can also email her at or visit her website:

Jo Thompson is one among many global Transitions Hair partners, and we hope to find and partner with more like her in the future. We’re driven to making Transitions Hair for women and men accessible to everyone all over the world; and will partner with like-minded salons and specialists that are intent in achieving the same goal.

If you would like to partner with us and think your salon or hair treatment centre would be a perfect fit for our products, get in touch with us today. You can give us a call on 1300-427-778 or send us an email at

Who is More Prone to Hair Loss – Men or Women?

The average human head has around 100,000 hair follicles, and most of us shed about 100 hairs every day. The hairs we lose of course are replaced with new ones of the same density – for a while at least.

As we age however, it’s often a different matter. Hair follicles tend to become smaller, making any new hair that grows very fine and short, leading to what is known as ‘patterned hair loss’ in many of us.

This phenomenon affects both genders – although the pattern is different for each. Baldness is very common in men, and is usually genetic. It generally follows the pattern of hair recession at the temples, and baldness on top of the head.

When it comes to hair loss in women, the pattern is different, involving more of a scattered thinning of the hair, with true baldness only occurring in about 5% of cases. According to the Better Health Channel, about 20% of women develop a moderate to severe loss of hair as they age.

So while becoming bald is more common in men, it does also happen in women, and in most cases of hair loss the pattern differs between the genders.

What causes hair loss?

In some cases, hair loss can occur in an individual due to emotional stress or trauma, illness, medications (e.g. chemotherapy) or malnutrition. Some women also experience hair loss or thinning during or after pregnancy.

In what is considered the more ‘normal’ type of hair loss however, the major contributing factors are age, genetics and hormones (predominantly androgens). This type of hair loss is not generally something you can prevent with special diets or potions, or by avoiding hair washing or the wearing of hats!

However, that does not mean you should just put up with it. These days there are some excellent and very effective treatments available for hair loss – particularly if they are applied as soon as the problem is identified.

What can be done about hair loss?

Treatments for hair loss include over-the-counter and prescription medications. For those who would prefer to avoid meds, along with their potential side-effects, the options include keratin hair thickeners, laser hair therapy to stimulate regrowth, hair extensions to create length and volume, hair grafting, and surgical transplants. Natural-hair wigs are another option – especially where a quick solution is needed, or for severe hair or baldness.

If you think you may be suffering hair thinning or loss, then the first step would be to get a professional consultation. At Transitions, we offer a free personalised consultation for new clients – get in contact today to discuss an appointment.

Fast Facts about Alopecia - VLOG Ep. 3:

Alopecia: Fast Facts

What does Alopecia mean?

Alopecia is a catchall phrase for hair loss.  Any type of hair loss that you may have can loosely be defined as Alopecia.  

The word Alopecia originates from ancient Greece where it was known as Foxes Disease because foxes would shed their fur twice a year.  Much like Alopecia Areata, your hair can fall out and regrow, and fall out and regrow again, sometimes multiple times within a year, or even a lifetime. 

Three Types of Alopecia

There are three common types or classifications of Alopecia:

1. Androgenetic Alopecia

As the name suggests, it is genetic in origin.  Essentially there comes a time in your life where the body starts to shrink your hair follicles and you notice a thinning, especially through the top and also through the sides for women.  The hair follicles shrink in size and become finer in texture, fluffy in nature, and generally very annoying.  You also notice you can see through the scalp much more.  It can be inherited from your parents, grandparents or wider community of people to whom you are related.  These days, we’re also finding hair loss in women can be triggered by the contraceptive pill due to the hormonal nature of this form of hair loss.  By and large, if you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s probably this one.  It affects 80% of all people who experience hair loss.


2. Alopecia Areata

This is an autoimmune related form of hair loss.  Usually you first notice it because you get these little 10 or 20 cent pieces of hair loss forming over the scalp, arms or your legs. Basically, the immune system is attacking the hair follicles and causing them to stop working, at least for a season.  For most people, the hair does grow back, however, this is not the case for everyone.  Within the category of Alopecia Areata there are three different degrees of Alopecia - Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis, Alopecia Universalis.

Alopecia Areata - usually refers to the the 'spots' or 'patches' of hair loss. 

Alopecia Totalis - refers to when a person has lost their hair all over their head but not their body.

Alopecia Universalis - refers to hair loss all over a persons head and body.  It is 'universal' over their entire being.

For people with hair loss in the latter two stages we would recommend a Gripper wig. You can find more information about it here!

3. Diffuse Hair Loss or Telogen Effluvium (TE)

In most cases, this is a stress related form of hair loss or Alopecia.  It can be triggered by having a physical shock to the body.  It could be a surgical operation, a car accident, stopping or starting  some form of medication.  An extreme form of TE can be medically induced through chemotherapy.  It could also be an emotional shock, like a relationship breakdown caused by a divorce, break up, death of a loved one, etc.  Most people who go through Diffuse Hair Loss don’t lose all of their hair although you might notice a significant hair fall or shedding of yoru hair; lots of hair may come out all at once. 

Generally speaking, if you look back three months into your history you may find what the cause is.    Usually it takes three months after the event has occurred for the hair to start to fall out.  Good news is, usually once the shock has passed your body has recovered, you’re in a better state - a much more whole and richer state as a person - your hair will tend to grow back.  Just remember, your hair doesn’t grow back overnight, it does take time, but it will happen.  It will start to come back in most circumstances - not for everyone but 90% of the time.

Do you have more questions?  Get in touch:  Ph: 1300 427 778 (Intl: +612 92124950).  Or send us your details via our contact page.

Sydney Studio: 02 9212 4950

New Zealand: 0276530462

Hair Styling Tips Every Girl Can Try

Great hair is not always easy to come by, even for those blessed with naturally thick lustrous locks. Styling can be a particular challenge for women with fine hair, and downright stressful when thinning hair or hair loss is involved.

If your hair is in need of a helping hand, no matter your hair type, start with these styling tips.

Pick the right cut

The first and best way to achieve great-looking hair is to start with the right cut. Your hair type and face shape together will help determine the style for you, and a professional hairdresser can make recommendations.

For fine hair, two popular cuts are the pixie cut and blunt cut (above the collarbone). Longer styles tend to weigh hair down, yet these cuts when combined with product may help the finest hair look a million dollars.

Know your products

Hair products vary immensely and not all will suit. Always look for products tailored to your hair type, and it goes without saying that professional salon products tend to be more effective than supermarket counterparts.

For fine hair, lightweight root spray, mousse and texture spray can be great options. Products not specifically designed for thin hair may make hair hard to style, and similarly an unsuitable shampoo and condition can zap hair of volume and shine.

Form good habits

How you look after your hair plays a part in how it looks. Drying can be particularly damaging so limit the number of times – and the amount of time – that you’re using a hair dryer. Apply product to the middle and ends of your hair rather than the roots. For those with fine or thinning hair, washing less rather than more can be helpful.

Choose the right tools

Not all hair tools suit every woman. For fine hair for instance, soft, foam rollers are a much better option than hot rollers. If you do have fine hair, stay away from the hair straightener, which tends to emphasise thinness.

Style up

As with haircuts, your best styles will be those that best suit your face and hair type.

Fine or thinning hair? Add volume with loose waves, or pile hair up and keep loose strands around the face.

Accessorise with hairpieces

The right accessory can make all the difference and when it comes to your hairstyle, that means hairpieces and extensions. Hairpieces vary from clip-in pony tails to full-cover top pieces. They’re also now often made from human hair so they look and feel perfectly natural.

Need help?

If you are experiencing hair thinning or loss, then do remember that it’s very common and you’re certainly not alone. We understand how stressful it can be and we’d love to help you revamp your style so that you look – and feel – fantastic.

How to wash your human hair wig - a step by step guide

There are many ways to wash a human hair wig-- and plenty of wrong ways to do it. People have gone as far as putting their wigs in the washing machine-- something we definitely do not recommend! If you want to keep your human hair wig in the best condition for longer, it’s important to know how to wash it properly, and not resort to such unorthodox methods! The video above shows one of the proper ways, and we give credit to Follea Hair products for producing this video.  Please take the time to look at their range of Topettes and Wigs. We just love their hair, as it is the most beautiful hair in the world (no exaggeration!)

This is the first in a series of videos on how to care for your hair and all of the wonderful things you can do with your human hair wig, Topette or Crown extension. If you purchase your hairpiece from us, our stylists will take you through a workshop and demonstration showing you how to properly wash and care for it. They will take you through each step and guide you on what to do, and what not to do.

Below is our step-by-step guide on how to properly wash your human hair wig.

Before you start:  What you will need

  • Wide tooth comb (or vent brush)
  • Transitions Hair Mannequin Head
  • 4-6 straight dressmaking pins
  • Hydrating shampoo
  • Hydrating conditioner
  • Towel
  • Large Sink

14 Easy Steps to washing your Human Hair Wig

Step 1:  Brush or comb the hair to detangle it.

We recommend using either a wide tooth brush called a vent brush (also called 'spider' brush) or a wide tooth comb. Gently brush the hair in three stages:

         a.  Brush then ends first.

         b.  Then mid-lengths to the ends

         c.  The the roots to the ends to remove all tangles from you human hair wig.

Step 2:  Place the wig onto the mannequin head using the dressmaking pins.
We recommend you place it on the same way you would wear the wig. Placing it on the mannequin head (or ‘blocking’ as some people call it) will help reduce the amount of hair inversion that occurs. That is, where the hair inverts through the wig cap and comes through the interior of the wig. 
Once the wig is properly positioned, pin it in place. We recommend placing two pins at the front, near the temple area, two at the sides and also two at the nape. Do not place the pins in the area where you part the hair.
Step 3:  Wet the wig with lukewarm water.

Make sure all the hair is untucked from underneath. Using lukewarm water, begin to rinse from the top (crown area) down. Keep the hair in the same direction to reduce the chance of tangling.

Step 4:  Apply hydrating wig shampoo

Apply a high quality hydrating shampoo gently to the wig.  Stroke or 'pat' the wig hair in a downward direction to spread the shampoo throughout the hair.  Do not rub or scrub the hair-- it won't make it cleaner but will potentially tangle it. 

Note about shampoos and conditioners: It’s best not to use any cheap and nasty products from the chemist or supermarket, as these simply aren’t as good as professional grade hair products.  We have our own range of high quality hair products that we use in-house, and we recommned that you use them too!    You will notice a difference how nice the hair feels and how long the wig lasts as a result!  You can purchase them online.

Step 5: Rinse shampoo from the crown down.

Step 6: Apply hydrating wig Conditioner, starting at the ends first and then working your way to the mid-lengths and roots last.

Step 7:  Gently use a wide tooth comb to spread the conditioner throughout the wig.  Be careful not to catch the comb on the fabric of the wig.

Step 8:  Rinse hair thoroughly

Step 9:  Remove pins from the wig and mannequin head.  Gently remove the wig from the mannequin head.

Step 10:  Comb or brush the length of the hair, starting from the ends moving up the hair shaft to the roots.

Step 11:  Towel Dry - Wrap the human hair wig vertically inside a towel and blot it dry. 

Step 12:  Take the hair out of the towel and give it a shake!

Step 13: Place the hair back onto the manneqin head, using pins to hold it in position.  Lightly spray some Transitions Hair Leave-in Conditioner into the hair, then brush  into the style you like.  Allow to air dry (over night is best)

Step 14:  When your hair is 80% dry, you are now ready to blow dry your hair to give it that unique touch and expression of yourself.

Get in touch with your local Transitions Hair, human hair wig specialist!

We hope you have found this step-by-step guide helpful. If you need some further assistance please call us ph: 1300 427 778 or get in touch on our contact us page.

We have Transitions studios in Sydney and mobile representative in New Zealand

We are here to help you have the best experience with your hair, so get in touch!

Do you have more questions?  Get in touch:  Ph: 1300 427 778 (Intl: +612 92124950).  Or send us your details via our contact page.

Sydney Studio: 02 9212 4950

New Zealand: 0276530462

Latest Research on Treating Alopecia - May 2017

Beautiful Girl with Alopecia


A Study of 90 Patients:  Tofacitinib for the Treatment of Severe Alopecia Areata and Variants

Some time ago there was a buzz and excitement in the Alopecian community about exciting results from a new treatment for Alopecia that evidently helped grow hair back completely.  The photos of before and after the treatment were astounding.  However, number of people treated was extremely small. 

Since then there has been wider testing of the drug Tofacitinib and Janu Kinase (JAK) inhibitors, but still only on a small number of people. The recent study of Tofacitinib for the treatment of severe alopecia has yielded some important results.  But is this treatment the saviour that the Alopecian community has been hoping for?

Let's take a look.

Study Summary – New Treatment for Alopecia related Hair Loss

Liu and colleagues conducted an open-label, retrospective study of 90 adults.  This group of adults consisted of:

Median age: 34.5 years
55.6% female
Alopecia Areata 14.4%
Alopecia Universalis 83.3%
Alopecia Totalis 2.2%
Note: this trial excluded patients with AA, AU, or AT of greater than 10 years' duration

Of this initial group, 65 trial-eligible patients received monotherapy with tofacitinib 5 mg twice daily for the first 2-3 months of treatment. After this induction phase, 29% of patients received a higher tofacitinib dose (up to 10 mg orally twice daily), and 28% of patients started adjuvant therapy with pulsed prednisone.

The primary endpoint was the percentage change in the Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT) score between the first and last visits. Treatment safety was assessed with laboratory studies, examination, and review of systems.

Snapshot of Results for the latest clinical trial for Alopecia

77% of patients achieved a clinical response,  after 4-18 months of tofacitinib therapy
58% of patients achieved at least a 50% improvement in SALT scores,
20% showed a complete response (full hair regrowth) after a median of 15 months of treatment.
Patients with Alopecia Areata (AA) (13 people) were better responders than those with Alopecia Totalis (AT) or Alopecia Universalis (AT) (52 people).  AA showed 81.9% improvement in SALT scores vs AT or AU 59.0% improvement, respectively
No serious adverse events or laboratory abnormalities were observed after a mean of 1 year of treatment.
The most common adverse events were upper respiratory infections (28.9%), headache (14.4%), and acne (7.8%).

Discussion of Results from Alopecia research study

In this small but statistically significant study, the oral JAK 1/3 inhibitor tofacitinib showed impressive efficacy in the treatment of AA, AT, and AU. Of note, this trial excluded patients with AA, AU, or AT of greater than 10 years' duration, because prior studies had showed poor tofacitinib efficacy in this group with chronic disease.

One point to be noted is their trial lacked a control group, even  though the nature of Alopecia is unpredictable with hair able to grow back without any rhyme or reason, this is important for scientific purposes.  Approximately 28% of patients went on to receive adjuvant therapy (i.e. an immunological agent that modifies the effects of other agents) with pulsed corticosteroids during the trial period. There was a low spontaneous relapse rate of 7.7%; however, the duration of treatment ranged from 4 to 18 months (median, 12 months). Hence, we do not know whether tofacitinib therapy can induce long-term disease remission, or whether the disease process will resume after drug cessation.  This is a curious point that we look forward to seeing if there is additional testing and the commensurate results.

This study showed tofacitinib efficacy in adult patients, but oral JAK 1/3 inhibitors also shows promise in adolescents with AA, AU, and AT. A small study (13 patients) showed a median change in SALT score of 93% after a mean of 6.5 months of tofacitinib therapy, and topical JAK inhibitors can induce significant hair regrowth in localized AA.[7]

Salient comments about possible new Alopecia treatment

Although tofacitinib therapy was not associated with significant adverse events in this study group, oral JAK inhibitors used to treat rheumatoid arthritis have been associated with significant adverse events, including rare cancers (soft tissue and lymphoma) and serious infections. Whether these risks are unique to patients with rheumatoid arthritis because of comorbidities and concurrent medications, remains to be determined. This is not something to be glossed over. Hair is very important but not at the expense of your overall health and even your life.  Certainly this is something to be investigated further.

Although response rates were not as dramatic for AU and AT, the efficacy in these more severe forms of autoimmune alopecia is especially impressive, given the lack of therapeutic alternatives Future studies should adopt a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled design and include long-term follow-up, both with and without maintenance tofacitinib therapy.  Certainly, JAK 1/3 inhibitors, such as tofacitinib, are a promising new treatment for AA, AU, and AT.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, clinical studies of topical treatments, psychological interventions, and additional JAK inhibitor strategies are under way. Until then, we watch and wait.

If you have Alopecia Universalis or Totalis and are looking for a wonderful solution, we highly recommend the Follea Gripper Wigs.  They are simply the most beautiful and natural wigs in the world, there is nothing that compares to them.  They have been created for people with AT and AU, we love them we are sure you will too!  Take a closer look on our information page about these beautiful hair creations.

For further information please see the original research:

Liu LY, Craiglow BG, Dai F, King BA
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;76:22-28

All information given should be considered as general advice and not a medical directive.  Please see your doctor or dermatologist for further information.

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