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How effective is clobetasol for hair growth?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on July 12, 2023.

Official answer


Clobetasol is effective at stimulating hair growth. Research has shown hair regrowth was stimulated in about 20 to 25% of people who used clobetasol ointment and in about 47% of people who used clobetasol foam. Regrowth was noticed as early as six weeks into treatment but may take up to 12 to 14 weeks to develop.

How effective is clobetasol ointment for hair regrowth?

Research has shown that clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment is effective in approximately one-quarter to one-fifth of people with alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis who used it to stimulate hair regrowth.

In one study, 28 patients applied 2.5g of clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment to the right side of their scalp every night and covered it with plastic film. This was undertaken six days a week for 6 months. 8 patients (28.5%) experienced hair regrowth which began six to 14 weeks after the start of treatment.

However, only 5 patients (17.8%) reported long-term benefit with this treatment, because three relapsed and were not able to maintain their hair regrowth.

How effective is clobetasol foam for hair regrowth?

A study of 34 patients with moderate-to-severe alopecia areata, reported hair regrowth in 89% of people that used clobetasol foam compared to 11% of those using placebo foam.

14 patients had hair regrowth of more than 25%, seven people reported a hair regrowth of greater than 50%, and three people reported a hair regrowth of greater than 75%.

The foam had good tolerability and patient acceptance.

The foam was applied twice a day for 5 days per week for 12 weeks. From weeks 13 to 24, trial participants continued with the treatment they thought had greater effectiveness.

Overall, 47% of patients had hair regrowth of greater than 25% at the end of the trial.

  • Tosti A, Piraccini BM, Pazzaglia M, Vincenzi C. Clobetasol propionate 0.05% under occlusion in the treatment of alopecia totalis/universalis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003;49(1):96-98. doi:10.1067/mjd.2003.423
  • Tosti A, Iorizzo M, Botta GL, Milani M. 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;20(10):1243-1247. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.01781.x

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