About Alopecia Treatments for Alopecia Areata Minoxidil and Bimatoprost for Alopecia Areata Topical Minoxidil Minoxidil is available off prescription, as a liquid or foam that is applied to the scalp. It is usually applied once or twice a day. Minoxidil is only licensed to treat male and female pattern hair loss (Androgenetic Alopecia); however, it is also used to treat Alopecia Areata, either alone or combined with corticosteroid treatment. Advantages It can be applied at home and has minor side effects only. If effective, hair re-growth can take four to six months to appear. Disadvantages It is less effective on its own for Alopecia Areata, and therefore is often only used as an additional treatment alongside some of the other treatments mentioned here. It can cause dryness, redness or irritation when regularly applied to the scalp and may stimulate facial hair growth in some women. Bimatoprost (eyelashes only) Bimatoprost 0.03% is a solution originally used as an eye drop to treat glaucoma. It was observed that in people using this treatment their eyelashes grew thicker and longer. Since then Bimatoprost (marketed under the name Latisse®) has been approved as a cosmetic product in the US to treat short and poorly growing eyelashes. When bimatoprost is used to treat eyelashes, it should only be applied to the upper eyelid margin at night time (with a small brush or cotton bud) but never put directly into the eyes. Advantages It can take up to four months for hair re-growth to be visible; however, people have reported a noticeable difference in as little as eight weeks. Disadvantages It can cause irritation in the skin, can cause a permanent changes in the colour of the eyes (to a dirty brown) if applied directly into the eye, and skin pigmentation may also be affected (turning the eyelid skin either lighter or darker).