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Does Clodan shampoo work for hair loss?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 27, 2023.

Official answer


Key Points

Clobetasol propionate, the active ingredient in Clodan Shampoo 0.05%, has been shown in clinical studies to stimulate hair growth in patients with alopecia areata. Clodan Shampoo, which contains topical clobetasol 0.05%, is not specifically approved by the FDA for hair regrowth but is used in adults for treatment of psoriasis on the scalp. If you are experiencing hair loss, talk to your doctor for evaluation and possible treatment.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin condition that leads to patchy hair loss on the scalp. This type of hair loss usually grows back within 12 months or less, even without treatment, but can lead to total hair loss in some patients. Topical corticosteroids may not be as beneficial for people with extensive hair loss.

The most acceptable forms of corticosteroids for hairy areas include shampoos, creams, lotions, foams and topical solutions. Ointments, which are greasy, are not usually an agreeable dosage form for use in the hair.

Note: Hair loss is listed as a common side effect of Clodan (clobetasol propionate) Shampoo, 0.05%. For its approved use in psoriasis, Clodan Shampoo is only indicated for use in patients 18 years and older.

What is Clodan?

  • Clodan (clobetasol propionate) Shampoo, 0.05% is a super-high potent topical corticosteroid formulation indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe forms of scalp psoriasis in adults.
  • Clodan Shampoo is applied onto a dry (not wet) scalp once a day in a thin film to the affected areas only, and left in place for 15 minutes before lathering and rinsing. Treatment should be limited to 4 consecutive weeks. The total dosage should not exceed 50 g (50 mL or 1.75 fl. oz.) per week.
  • The most common side effects with Clodan Shampoo include burning/stinging, itching, fluid build-up (edema), folliculitis, acne, dry skin, irritant dermatitis, alopecia (hair loss), hives, skin thinning and visible broken capillaries (telangiectasia).

How effective is topical clobetasol for hair loss?


A research study evaluated 34 adults with moderate-to-severe alopecia areata. Patients received clobetasol foam 0.05% (brand name: Olux) compared to a placebo foam over 24 weeks. Foam was applied twice a day for 5 days per week for 12 weeks. From weeks 13 to 24, patients continued with the treatment judged to be more effective.

Overall, a greater hair regrowth was observed in 89% of the head sites treated with clobetasol foam vs. 11% in the sites treated with placebo foam at the end of Phase 1.

  • Hair regrowth of more than 25% was observed in 42% of clobetasol-treated sites and in 13% of placebo-treated sites (P=0.027).
  • In 7 patients, a hair regrowth of 50% was seen in clobetasol-treated areas. In 3 patients, a hair regrowth of 75% was seen with clobetasol foam use.

Side effects were minimal. No significant modifications in cortisol / ACTH blood levels were reported. Folliculitis occurred in two patients. This formulation had good patient acceptance and compliance.


In a study of 41 children ages 2 to 15 years, topical clobetasol propionate 0.05% cream was compared to hydrocortisone cream 1% in a randomized fashion as an initial treatment for patchy alopecia areata (at least 10% of the scalp surface area) over a 24-week period.
Patients applied a thin layer of cream twice daily to the areas of hair loss for 2 cycles of 6 weeks on, then 6 weeks off, for a total of 24 weeks.

Topical clobetasol propionate 0,05% cream was shown to be significantly more effective as a first-line treatment when compared to hydrocortisone cream 1%. This effect was greater at the 12, 18 and 24 week checkpoints.

  • Overall, 17 of 20 children in the clobetasol group (85%) vs. 7 of 21 in the hydrocortisone group (33.3%) had at least a 50% reduction in surface area with hair loss at 24 weeks, a significant effect.
  • Scalp skin atrophy (skin thinning) occurred in one patient which was resolved in 6 weeks.

Bottom Line

  • Clobetasol propionate, a super-high potent topical corticosteroid has been shown to be effective as an option for alopecia areata, an autoimmune form of hair loss, in both adults and children.
  • Clodan Shampoo 0.05% is not specifically approved by the FDA for hair loss. It is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe forms of scalp psoriasis in adults.
  • Acceptable forms of corticosteroids for use in hairy areas includes shampoos, creams, lotions, foams and topical solutions. Ointments can be greasy and unpleasant in the hair.

This is not all the information you need to know about Clodan Shampoo for safe and effective use. Review the full Clodan Shampoo information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

  • Tosti A, Iorizzo M, Botta GL, et al. Efficacy and safety of a new clobetasol propionate 0.05% foam in alopecia areata: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2006 Nov;20(10):1243-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.01781.x
  • Lenane P, Macarthur C, Parkin PC, et al. Clobetasol Propionate, 0.05%, vs Hydrocortisone, 1%, for Alopecia Areata in Children: A Randomized Clinical Trial . JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(1):47–50. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5764
  • Clodan (clobetasol propionate 0.05%) Shampoo. Product Labeling. Accessed Dec. 7, 2020 at
  • Messenger A, et al. Alopecia Areata: Management. Up to Date. Accessed Dec. 7, 2020 at

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