What is alopecia?

Alopecia is the general medical term for hair loss. Hair loss varies from male baldness to irregular patches of baldness in men and women.

Patchy baldness or alopecia can occur at any age, although it’s more common in people aged 15-29. It affects one or two people in every 1,000 in the UK.

Not normally funded treatment or procedure:

Treatment for alopecia is not usually funded by the patient’s local NHS commissioning organisation. This is because surgical treatment for hair loss is deemed to be a cosmetic procedure.

The British Association Dermatologists state that not treating alopecia is an appropriate option for many patients. In some cases, the condition may spontaneously stop, with only limited patches of hair loss occurring.

The clinician in charge of the care of the patient’s specific condition, usually a hospital doctor, can assist the application, if there is exceptional clinical need for the treatment to be funded. The patient’s clinician must evidence clinical exceptionality and must be supported by the patient’s local NHS commissioning organisation. See separate leaflet for more information on Individual Funding Requests (IFRs).

Advice and further guidance:

  • For more information search for ‘hair loss treatment’ at
  • Choosing Wisely UK is part of a global initiative aimed at improving conversations between patients and their doctors and nurses.

Treatment policy for patients covered by NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG

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