Understanding Anthralin: A Key Ingredient For Hair Growth

Understanding Anthralin: A Key Ingredient For Hair Growth

In our quest to provide you with comprehensive information on the best hair growth products, we can't overlook the significance of anthralin.

If you're a woman with varying hair types and are eager to stimulate hair growth, this article is tailor-made for you.

We'll delve into the world of anthralin, answering all your burning questions in a conversational tone.

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What Is Anthralin?

Anthralin, also known as dithranol, is a synthetic substance derived from coal tar.

It has been a trusted ally in the world of dermatology for decades.

Anthralin is particularly famous for its role in treating various skin conditions, including psoriasis and alopecia areata.

Applying anthralin to skin

Why Is Anthralin Important?

Anthralin holds a pivotal place in the realm of hair growth products due to its unique properties.

It's a potent topical treatment that not only stimulates hair follicles but also regulates the immune response in the scalp, making it invaluable for individuals dealing with hair loss issues.

How Does Anthralin Work?

Anthralin works by targeting the affected area of the scalp.

When applied topically, it helps to normalize the rapid growth of skin cells, which is a common issue in conditions like psoriasis.

For hair growth, it promotes the rejuvenation of hair follicles, encouraging the growth of new, healthy strands.

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What Are The Benefits Of Anthralin?

Effective Hair Growth

Anthralin has been proven to stimulate hair growth, making it an excellent choice for those looking to enhance their hair density.(1)

Safe for Various Hair Types

Regardless of your hair type, anthralin is generally safe to use.

It doesn't discriminate between curly, straight, or wavy hair.

Proven Track Record

Anthralin's effectiveness in treating hair loss conditions has been well-documented over the years, giving you the confidence that it works.

Minimal Side Effects

While some users may experience mild skin irritation, anthralin is known for its relatively low side effect profile compared to other hair growth treatments.

Are There Any Downsides To Anthralin?

While anthralin is generally safe and effective, it's essential to be aware of potential downsides:

  • Skin Irritation: Some individuals may experience skin irritation, redness, or itching upon initial application. It's advisable to perform a patch test before using it extensively.
  • Staining: Anthralin can stain clothing, bedding, and bathroom fixtures, so take precautions during application.

What Are The Alternatives To Anthralin?

If anthralin doesn't align with your preferences or needs, there are alternative options to consider:

  • Minoxidil: A popular over-the-counter treatment, minoxidil, comes in various forms and is known to promote hair growth.
  • Finasteride: Available in pill form, finasteride is effective in treating hair loss by inhibiting the hormone responsible for hair thinning.
  • Natural Remedies: Some individuals prefer natural remedies like essential oils, aloe vera, or onion juice for hair growth.
  • Hair Transplant: For more severe cases of hair loss, hair transplant surgery is a permanent solution.

What is the Drug Anthralin Used For?

Anthralin, also known as dithranol, finds its utility in treating a variety of dermatological conditions. Its primary uses include:

Psoriasis Treatment

Anthralin is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches.

It works by slowing down the excessive skin cell growth associated with psoriasis, reducing inflammation, and alleviating symptoms.(2)

Alopecia Areata Management

Anthralin has shown promise in the treatment of alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss in circular patches.

By stimulating hair follicles and regulating the immune response in the scalp, anthralin may promote hair regrowth in some cases.

What is the Contraindication of Anthralin?

While anthralin is generally safe for many individuals, it's essential to be aware of contraindications or situations where its use should be avoided.

Contraindications for anthralin include:

  • Hypersensitivity: Individuals with a known hypersensitivity or allergy to anthralin or any of its components should not use products containing anthralin.
  • Open Wounds or Broken Skin: Avoid applying anthralin to open wounds, cuts, or areas with broken skin, as it can cause irritation and discomfort.
  • Children and Infants: The use of anthralin on children and infants should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of anthralin during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been firmly established, so consult with a healthcare provider before use.
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How Does Anthralin Work for Alopecia?

Anthralin's mechanism of action in treating alopecia, particularly alopecia areata, involves several key factors:

Immune Regulation

Anthralin helps modulate the immune response in the scalp, reducing inflammation and preventing further damage to hair follicles in individuals with alopecia areata.

Follicle Stimulation

By promoting the growth of new, healthy hair follicles and encouraging dormant ones to become active, anthralin can lead to hair regrowth in affected areas.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Anthralin's anti-inflammatory effects help soothe the scalp and reduce itching and discomfort associated with alopecia areata.

Cell Normalization

Anthralin helps normalize the rapid growth of skin cells on the scalp, creating a healthier environment for hair follicles to thrive.

What Is The Mechanism Of Action Of Anthralin In Psoriasis?

Anthralin's effectiveness in treating psoriasis lies in its multifaceted mechanism of action:

  • Slowing Skin Cell Growth: Psoriasis is characterized by the rapid turnover of skin cells, leading to the formation of scales and plaques. Anthralin slows down this abnormal cell growth, reducing the formation of new scales.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Anthralin has anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate the redness and swelling associated with psoriasis lesions.
  • Normalization of Skin: By normalizing the skin's appearance and texture, anthralin helps improve the overall appearance of psoriasis-affected areas.
  • Scale Removal: Anthralin can help soften and remove existing scales, making it easier to manage psoriasis symptoms.(3)

When Do You Apply Anthralin?

The timing and frequency of anthralin application can vary depending on the condition being treated:

For Psoriasis:

  • Prepare the affected area: Gently cleanse the affected skin, removing any scales or debris.
  • Apply anthralin: Apply a thin layer of anthralin cream or ointment to the affected area. Avoid applying it to unaffected skin.
  • Contact time: Leave anthralin on the skin for a specified duration, usually between 10 to 30 minutes, as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Rinse off: After the recommended contact time, rinse the anthralin off with lukewarm water and a mild soap.
  • Moisturize: Apply a moisturizer to the treated area to help prevent excessive dryness.
  • Frequency: Your healthcare provider will determine the frequency of application, which may range from once daily to several times a week.

For Alopecia Areata:

  • Consult a healthcare provider: Before using anthralin for alopecia areata, consult with a dermatologist or healthcare provider for guidance on the appropriate concentration and application method.
  • Application: Apply the prescribed anthralin preparation to the affected areas of the scalp, ensuring it comes into contact with the hair follicles.
  • Contact time: Follow the recommended contact time as advised by your healthcare provider.
  • Rinse and follow-up: After the specified duration, rinse off the anthralin and follow up with your healthcare provider for monitoring and potential adjustments to the treatment plan.

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Final Thoughts On Anthralin

Anthralin stands as a remarkable ally in the journey towards healthier, more vibrant hair.

Its versatile applications in addressing conditions like psoriasis and alopecia areata, combined with its relatively low side effect profile, make it a valuable addition to your hair care arsenal.

At Fully Vital, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with your locks. Our range of hair growth products is designed to combat the signs of aging, ensuring that you can enjoy the beauty of your hair for years to come.

Whether you're seeking to stimulate hair growth or prevent hair-related concerns, our products are here to support your journey towards healthier, more radiant hair.

Explore our product offerings and discover the perfect solution to enhance your hair's vitality and beauty.

Your hair deserves the best care, and Fully Vital is here to help you achieve that.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anthralin

Can I use anthralin alongside other hair growth products?

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before combining anthralin with other hair growth products to avoid any potential interactions.

Can anthralin be used on all hair types?

Yes, anthralin is generally safe and effective for individuals with all hair types, regardless of whether you have straight, curly, or wavy hair.

How long does it take to see results with anthralin for hair growth?

Results can vary, but some individuals may start to notice improvements in hair growth after several weeks of consistent use.

Is anthralin available over-the-counter, or do I need a prescription?

Anthralin is typically available by prescription, so consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for guidance on its use.

Are there any age restrictions for using anthralin?

There are generally no age restrictions for using anthralin, but it's best to consult with a healthcare professional, especially for children and the elderly.

How should I store anthralin?

Anthralin should be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and out of reach of children.

Can anthralin be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women?

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult with a healthcare professional before using anthralin to ensure its safety in their specific circumstances.

Can anthralin cause allergic reactions?

While allergic reactions to anthralin are rare, individuals with a known hypersensitivity or allergy to anthralin or any of its components should avoid using products containing anthralin.

If you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as severe itching, rash, or swelling, discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention.

Does anthralin have a strong odor?

Anthralin may have a distinct odor, but its intensity can vary depending on the product formulation. Some anthralin preparations are less odorous than others.

If the odor is bothersome, consult with your healthcare provider, as they may recommend alternative formulations or strategies.

Are there any dietary restrictions while using anthralin?

There are generally no specific dietary restrictions associated with anthralin use.

However, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet can contribute to overall hair and skin health.

If you have any concerns or dietary questions related to your condition, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for guidance.


  1. Tang, L., Cao, L., Sundberg, J. P., Lui, H., & Shapiro, J. (2004). Restoration of hair growth in mice with an alopecia areata-like disease using topical anthralin. Experimental Dermatology, 13(1), 5–10.
  2. ‌Nair, P. A., & Badri, T. (2020). Psoriasis. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.
  3. ‌Keratolytic Agent - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.).