Guidelines for the Management of Patients with Alopecia Areata in Korea: Part I Topical and Device-based Treatment

Ann Dermatol. 2023 Jun;35(3):190-204. doi: 10.5021/ad.22.168.


Background: Alopecia areata (AA) is a chronic disease with an unpredictable disease course and severe psychological impact.

Objective: To provide evidence- and consensus-based insights regarding the treatment of patients with AA in Korea.

Methods: We searched for relevant studies on the topical and device-based treatment of AA in the literature from inception until May 2021. Evidence-based recommendations were also prepared. The evidence for each statement was graded and classified according to the strength of the recommendations. Hair experts from the Korean Hair Research Society (KHRS) voted on the statements, and an agreement of 75% or greater was considered as consensus.

Results: Currently, there remains a scarcity of topical treatments, which is supported by robust evidence from a number of high-quality randomized controlled trials. Current evidence supports the efficacy of topical corticosteroids, corticosteroid intralesional injection, and contact immunotherapy in AA patients. Topical corticosteroids and contact immunotherapy are recommended for pediatric AA. A consensus was achieved in 6 out of 14 (42.8%), and 1 out of 5 (20.0%) statements pertaining to topical and device-based treatments in AA, respectively. The expert consensus was from a single country, and the study may not cover all the treatments used.

Conclusion: The present study provides up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines for AA based on the consensus reached among experts after considering regional healthcare circumstances, adding diversity to the previous guidelines.

Keywords: Alopecia areata; Device; Guideline; Korea; Therapeutics; Topical.