5 Ways to Stop Alopecia Areata from Spreading

Stop that bald spot in its tracks…

My alopecia areata journey has been like a yo-yo: ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, zero hair to full hair growth to nothingness once more. I’ve gone from quick regrowth after Nioxin to having a teeny patch, then watching that bald spot claim my head again.

But over the years I’ve learned how to stop alopecia areata from spreading; or at least, how to minimize damage. 

Hair loss can be a long and frustrating journey. So in this post, I’ll share tips to make it a teeny weeny bit easier. Hopefully.

Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.

My Top Choice for Alopecia Areata

Revita Shampoo

Vegamour Serum

GRO Hair Serum

Nioxin System 2

What Can Trigger Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata, or patchy hair loss, is an autoimmune condition. It ranges in severity – from a small patch to near-complete hair loss (like I have) – depending on how big your patches are.

Although alopecia areata is often genetic, there are typically other causes involved. These hair loss triggers include:

  • Stress: How the immune system responds to a traumatic event, or builds on a chronic level
  • Inflammation: As a result of illness, dietary intolerances, lifestyle factors or physical/emotional stress
  • Hormonal changes: Leading to dormant hair follicles and those hair follicles snapping at the root, prevalent in postpartum hair loss

Does alopecia spread?

Well yes, it often does. You might see once patch fill in only to watch another pop up.

The thing is, alopecia areata varies from person to person. That’s what makes any autoimmune disease, like hair loss, such a tricky thing to treat. And it’s why I’m against the ‘blanket cures’ or topical corticosteroids offered by many dermatologists.

I don’t believe in taking steroid injections or a harsh topical cream without looking at the root cause of the problem (which likely, stems from your immune cells). 

Yes, hair loss is the effect…but what about the cause?!

LA Says: That’s why I’d address the above triggers first, to see how you might take a holistic approach to treating your alopecia areata patches. Then you could follow up with products to support an optimal scalp environment, nourish the hair follicles and promote hair growth. (More on those in a sec!)

5 Ways to Stop Alopecia Areata from Spreading

I’ve said it plenty: there isn’t a miracle cure for alopecia areata. But there are ways to reduce the extent of patchy hair loss, or even promote hair growth.

The below tips worked to stop alopecia areata from spreading in my experience; they may or may not work for you. (And if something else works for you, feel free to share it in the comments!)

Psst…If I notice my alopecia areata patches getting bigger again, I’m likely neglecting one of these steps. So I make my way through the checklist to stop that spread!

How to stop alopecia areata from spreading naturally:

1. Anti-Inflammatory Diet

A game-changer for someone with alopecia areata: you can potentially stop hair loss, or get it growing back, with the food you eat. It’s also one of the trickiest things to do, which is why I’ve never stuck to a long-term AIP diet! 

As I explain in this post, what we consume has a HUGE effect on those of us with an autoimmune disease. A poor diet in general should be a red flag as good gut health will affect the entire body. Plus, certain inflammatory foods – like sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs and soy – can trigger an autoimmune response, resulting in hair loss

When I went off these foods, my shedding stopped within a few weeks, I had hair growth in my alopecia areata patches after a month…but then I fell off the wagon. Because I ended up stressing so much about what I could/couldn’t eat, the AIP diet was doing my immune system more harm than good. 

Luckily, there are less restrictive versions you can try for hair loss: like temporarily cutting out certain foods to stop your alopecia areata patches spreading.

Mmm, health.

2. Daily Supplements

The supplement industry is an intimidating place; especially for conditions like hair loss. It’s extensive, and expensive, and we’ve no idea if the pills are helping – or if they’re just placebos packaged by big-pharma who prey on vulnerability.

I’ve shelled out a small fortune on supplements – but when I went to a functional medicine doctor and got specific tests on my gut microbiome, I saw the benefits of taking the right supplements for my individual needs. 

Apparently, I couldn’t process B vitamins from my food properly, even though I was eating plenty of spinach, kale, lentils and beef. I needed a decent B complex to absorb these nutrients. 

Now, I don’t think everyone needs a truckload of pills to function. BUT if you can’t absorb the nutrients from your food, or if you have an autoimmune condition like alopecia areata, or if you’re not hitting your daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals, you might need an extra boost. 

At a minimum, try fish oil (or a vegan equivalent), magnesium and Vitamin D to boost your skin ‘n’ scalp health and reduce hair loss. Also, a good probiotic is a must for easing inflammation, as certain foods or medication can have adverse side effects on the immune system. 

Or, instead of taking a zillion different supplements, you could find one that covers all bases. Folexin is just one of these all-encompassing pills, ideal for hair growth: check out my full review here.

Can a Supplement Help Alopecia?

Sure it can! Check out my top supplement for hair loss.

3. Stress-Relievers

Inflammation doesn’t just come from a food intolerance, or as a response to illness or viruses. It can come from work stress, family obligations, environment…even from exercise!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you shouldn’t exercise. Moving around is great, it gets our endorphins going, puts us in a better frame of mind and keeps us physically fit. And I’m reluctant to talk about ‘right’ vs ‘wrong’ exercise – it’s more like doing the exercise that best fits you and your immune cells in a given situation.

In general, high-impact activities aren’t ideal for someone experiencing an inflammation flare-up or acute stress. Because they raise adrenaline levels and the hormone known as cortisol, which can trigger an autoimmune response (in this case, it triggers alopecia areata, or patchy hair loss). 

So it’s better, if you’re feeling anxious or wound-up, to try a grounding, soothing form of exercise: like swimming, walking or yoga. It doesn’t mean you can’t challenge yourself – but focus on something where you can breathe deeply and calm your nervous system again.

I’m always bigging up yoga, meditation and mindfulness.

They’ve made a massive difference in my life; not just in slowing down the rate of my hair loss, but in helping me accept myself as I am! That’s why I created the first-ever Yoga for Alopecia course: to help my fellow baldies find peace and feel good, just as they are. 

Can you prevent alopecia from happening through exercises like these? Possibly not, but you can certainly reduce the risk, or if it does happen, slow down the rate of shedding.

So if you’re watching your alopecia areata patches spread and fretting more than ever, try one of these stress-relievers. Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day.

Girl with Alopecia meditating
Take a moment for yourself. It only takes a moment.

4. DIY Scalp Treatments

Some hair loss products have helped stop my alopecia areata from spreading. But I’ve made my own treatments, too.

Whether it’s the placebo effect or the the act of massaging my hair follicles every day that stimulates circulation…when I remember to apply these treatments, I’ve seen results pretty quickly!

My top home remedies to treat alopecia areata
  • Peppermint & coconut oil: Add a few drops of the essential oil to your carrier oil and massage it in before bedtime. Leave overnight so the hair follicles can absorb it fully. (I love rosemary oil and tea tree oil, too.)
  • Raw red onion: Cut it in half and rub the juicy part directly onto your patches. You can also blend and strain the juice for an overnight treatment.
  • Fresh aloe vera: Keep a few chunks in a jar of water in the fridge and apply the gel to your patches for an instant cooling/anti-inflammatory effect. For extra cooling, add tea tree oil to the solution too!
  • Apple cider vinegar: The rinse itself mightn’t suit all scalp types but check out my dedicated ACV post for other options

I write about more natural treatments for alopecia areata in this post and cover some of my favorite oils to promote hair growth here. I prefer them to chemical-heavy medical treatments as I didn’t love the headaches they gave me!

Still, while the natural approach has worked for me at times, I’m not consistent enough to have seen full hair regrowth. I’ve noticed a decrease in hair loss, I’ve even gotten white vellus hairs back in my alopecia areata patches. But I’ve never managed to keep up a nightly routine to see my hair regrow for good.

But, if you’re a more dedicated DIY type, this could be a great way to stop your alopecia areata patches from spreading!

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5. Shift Focus

This ties in with the mindfulness aspect; it’s also why I haven’t been that consistent with treatments. Because once I accepted my hair loss, I felt a HUGE sense of relief. And it helped me to not keep checking the mirror, in the hopes I’d see hair regrowth.

When I was doing all those DIY treatments, I’d peer at my head at every opportunity, wondering if my hair follicles had sprouted since the day before or had my hair loss – gasp! – gotten worse. So I made a conscious effort to avoid these check-ups. To just let my alopecia areata do its thing. And I felt much lighter.

So try not to stress about your alopecia areata patches too much: that’s not going to help your case! Instead, get on with living your life…and maybe use that mirror-gazing time to keep a daily gratitude list instead. Then you can remind yourself about all the things that you do have, instead of focusing on the hair you don’t.

Best Products to Prevent Patch Growth

If you’ve tried my 5 tips for stopping your alopecia areata patches spreading and need extra help, I’d highly recommend these hair loss products.

Revita shampoo bottle


An all-natural brand of hair regrow shampoos and conditioners, one of which contains CBD. My top choice! Read my full review here.
My fave
vegamour serum


A wide range of treatments for hair loss, but my favorites are the GRO scalp serum and the eyebrow serum. Read my full review here.
nioxin shampoo bottle


Reversed my alopecia areata and brought me regrowth within a couple of months – but it isn’t completely natural. Read my full review here.
folexin supplements


Daily supplements that contain proven hair growth ingredients like biotin and saw palmetto. Another natural way to tackle alopecia areata. Read my full review here.
shapiro shampoo

Shapiro MD

One of the most popular hair growth treatments, created by dermatologists. Praised by people with alopecia areata and other hair loss.Read my full review here.

Covering Your Alopecia Areata Patches

Sometimes blending in feels like the simplest thing to do. And there are many days when I’m less of a “proud baldie” and more of a lady in need of a cover-up! So these options are for times when you just can’t deal with your alopecia areata patches.

Option 1: Disguise your bald spots with blendable hair fibers – like these natural keratin ones from Toppik. 
Option 2: Embrace a new style: with a funky headscarf!

I’ve been wearing these for years and found such beautiful materials in my hometown of Hoi An, Vietnam, that I started selling my own. Now I make them in 100% hypoallergenic bamboo, cotton, linen and jersey cotton, in a range of vibrant colors, on my shop page.

Not sure how to tie them? I’ve got you. Check out my tutorials here

Final Thoughts: What’s Helped You?!

I hope these tips help you stop alopecia areata from spreading. But if there’s anything I’ve missed, which you’ve used to boost your immune system, prevent patch creep or tackle hair loss, let me know! Share your experiences in the comments box.

I know how tempting it is to peek at those alopecia areata patches every five minutes. But try to resist the urge – stressing about growth or shedding is not what you need right now! The hair growth cycle will resume when your body’s good and ready.

In the meantime, look after yourself – body and mind – as best as you can.

Love and hugs,

Lady Alopecia Signature

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Emma in a bubble


Lady Alopecia

Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!

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