The Role of Diet as an Adjuvant Treatment in Scarring and Nonscarring Alopecia

Christine T. Pham, Karina Romero, Hind M. Almohanna, Jacob Griggs, Azhar Ahmed, Antonella Tosti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Diet is known to affect a wide range of health disorders. Many patients with hair and scalp diseases often inquire about special diets that may improve their symptoms. Objective: To evaluate nutrition and diet as adjunct treatments in nonscarring and scarring alopecia. Methods: A primary literature search using PRISMA guidelines was conducted using the PubMed database in October 2019. Results: Twenty-four articles with 1,787 patients were included. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in raw vegetables and fresh herbs, and isoflavone-rich soy contain anti-inflammatory nutrients that may promote hair health and growth in androgenetic alopecia (AGA). The gluten-free diet was shown to stimulate hair growth in alopecia areata (AA) patients with concomitant celiac disease, though no effect was seen with a lactose-free diet. Sufficient protein was found to be necessary for hair health. The human chorionic gonadotropin diet, hypocaloric diet, and increased fish, buckwheat, and millet groats consumption were possible triggers of alopecias such as AGA, AA, telogen effluvium, or frontal fibrosing alopecia. Limitations: This review was limited by the lack of studies and controls. Conclusion: The Mediterranean diet as well as diets rich in protein and soy may be potential adjunct therapeutics for the treatment of nonscarring alopecias. The use of diets in alopecia treatment regimens warrants further exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalSkin Appendage Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Alopecia
  • Diet
  • Hair loss
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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