Alopecia universalis is the loss of hair over the entire scalp and body. It is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system gets confused and attacks the hair follicles.
Alopecia areata is hair loss of unknown cause, characterized by round patches of complete baldness.
Till this day, there is neither a cure for alopecia areata nor drugs approved for its treatment. Two recently concluded clinical trials tested two possible interventions: oral steroids (Methylprednisolone) for alopecia areata, and Botox (botulinum toxin) injection for both alopecia areata and alopecia universalis; results of both studies are still not published yet.
Other agents that have been reported to produce erratic hair regrowth include:
- Immunomodulatory agents such as imiquimod (acts by modulating the immune system activity to decrease it against your own tissues and thus limit or reverse hair loss) and
- Tofacitinib citrate (a druig used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and may be beneficial because it inhibits the production of inflammatory mediators that are usually involved in hair loss) may also have benefits. In June 2014, it was reported that a 25-year-old man with almost no hair on his body grew a full head of hair, and eyebrows, eyelashes, facial, armpit and other hair, following 8 months of treatment < http://boston.cbslocal.com/2014/06/19/hairless-man-grows-full-head-of-hair-in-yale-arthritis-drug-trial/>
Keep in mind that because the hair follicles of individuals with alopecia universalis remain alive, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.
The course of alopecia universalis is highly unpredictable. Hair loss may continue or cease, and the lost hair may grow back or not.