Researchers from the Shanghai General Hospital’s department of dermatology and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of medicine studied the efficacy of a treatment containing capsaicin, curcumin, and piperine against minoxidil, a conventional treatment for alopecia areata.
Capsaicin, curcumin, and piperine are compounds derived from chilli peppers, turmeric and black pepper respectively.
Alopecia areata is a common condition that accounts for 25% of hair loss in patients and can occur at a range of ages. It is usually characterised as a single or several round, oval or irregular hair loss areas.
The cause of alopecia areata is not fully understood, and it is currently believed to be related to autoimmune, genetic, emotional stress, and endocrine factors, the researchers noted.
“Because hair loss affects the appearance of the individual patient, it has a very large impact on the quality of life of the patient. Therefore, the patient's desire for treatment is very urgent. However, the pathogenesis of the disease is not fully understood, and the existing treatment effects cannot meet the needs of patients.”
Previous studies had explored the efficacy of capsaicin, piperine, and curcumin as alternative hair loss treatments individually.
For instance, when applied topically, capsaicin was found to stimulate the scalp, improve blood circulation, and promote hair growth. It has also been found to be more effective that clobetasol treatment.
For this study, the researchers intended to study how a combination of capsaicin, piperine, and curcumin could benefit people who suffer from alopecia areata.
The team performed a randomised and controlled study comparing the efficacy of the mixed preparation compared to a minoxidil tincture in the treatment of alopecia areata.
According to the research, 60 patients from Shanghai General Hospital with alopecia areata
were enrolled in this study and randomly assigned to two groups.
For three months, the first group was treated with the capsaicin, piperine, and curcumin mixture twice daily, while the control group was treated with minoxidil once daily. The degree of hair loss was assessed by Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT) and dermoscopy.
With SALT, the change and variation between the two groups were relatively the same, and the results showed that both treatments could effectively treat alopecia areata. Additionally, it was observed through dermoscopy that the hair growth rate between the two groups were comparable.
This led the researchers to concluded that that “the curative effect of the mixed preparation in the treatment of alopecia areata was similar to that of minoxidil.”
The researchers noted that their study was limited as it only studies the short-term efficacy of the capsaicin, piperine, and curcumin mix as a hair loss treatment. As such they could not determine if the mix was more effective than minoxidil.
“We demonstrated that the mixed preparation of piperine, capsaicin and curcumin is effective in treating alopecia areata, but it has not been shown to be superior to minoxidil in the short-term therapy.
“Long-term efficacy is needed to further prove the efficacy of the mixed preparation. And based on previous studies, we plan to investigate whether the combination of mixed preparations and glucocorticoid will improve the therapeutic effect of alopecia areata in future studies.”
Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology
Efficacy of a mixed preparation containing piperine, capsaicin and curcumin in the treatment of alopecia areata
Authors: Yaqi Mao, Ziqian Xu, Jun Song, Yihui Xie, Xingyu Mei, Weimin Shi