Hair loss from alopecia areata can be upsetting and difficult to cope with. Finding a cost-effective treatment that works can make a positive difference in your life.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss. An autoimmune disease happens when your immune system mistakes healthy cells for intruders and attacks them.

In the case of alopecia areata, your immune system targets your hair follicles. Autoimmune diseases are not contagious.

Most people develop alopecia areata before age 30, and many have symptoms during childhood or adulthood. But it can start at any time during your life.

Hair loss from alopecia areata can be unpredictable. Sometimes, hair grows back without treatment and never falls out again. In other cases, hair loss and regrowth repeatedly occur after initial successful treatment.

Read on for information about alopecia areata treatment options and their approximate costs.

There are a few alopecia areata treatments to choose from, with a range of costs.

These costs are variable and can be difficult to estimate. That said, the following are some general cost estimates based on available information:

TypeCost ExamplesOTC, prescription, cosmetic
topical$40–$1,000; for example, $26 for 30 1-gram (g) tubes of minoxidil• minoxidil (Rogaine)
• anthralin (Dritho-Scalp)
oraldepends on the specific drug and your insurance coverage; for example, baricitinib costs around $2,739.99 for a 30-day supply of 2-milligram (mg) tablets or $5,479.98 for a 30-day supply of 4 mg tablets• tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
• baricitinib (Olumiant)
• ritlecitinib (Litfulo)
corticosteroid injections$200–$1,000 or less depending on the specific drug and your insurance coveragetriamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog)in-office procedure
platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy around $717 per injection 3 to 4 times every 4–6 weeks, and then maintenance every 4–6 months; frequency will vary by providerin-office procedure/cosmetic
mesotherapy$250–$600 per session; may not be covered by insurancein-office procedure/cosmetic
low-level laser therapy (LLLT)$279-2,999 per device, depending on the brandCapillusin-office procedure/cosmetic
phototherapy$100 or more per session, with 20–40 sessions requiredin-office procedure/cosmetic
hair transplant$7,500 on average, depending on the type of hair, number of grafts, and the provider• follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
• follicular unit extraction (FUE)
in-office procedure/cosmetic
lash regrowtharound $107.90 per 30-day supply when covered by insurance to treat other conditions; may be seen as cosmetic for alopecia and not covered by insurancebimatoprost (Latisse)prescription
microblading$146–$1,825 for the initial session and $109–$365 for subsequent sessions, but can vary by providerin-office procedure/cosmetic

Visit the following resources for more information on various hair loss treatments and their costs:

Treatments won’t always be covered by insurance. Many insurance providers consider alopecia areata treatments to be cosmetic rather than medically necessary, and most treatments for alopecia areata are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Because of this, most treatments are prescribed “off-label.”

For example, tofacitinib (Xeljanz) is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor that may work better and with fewer side effects when combined with corticosteroids, according to a 2022 study.

However, a 2022 research review found the insurance coverage denial rate to be 97%, with the most common reason being that tofacitinib is not FDA-approved to treat alopecia areata.

In 2022 and 2023, the FDA approved the first systemic treatments for severe alopecia areata: the oral tablets baricitinib (Olumiant) and ritlecitinib (Litfulo).

It’s worth checking with your private insurance provider regarding coverage to make sure.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF), about 40% of appeals for denied insurance claims are successful, so if your insurance company initially refuses to cover the cost of treatment, it’s worth the effort to submit an appeal.

If you have Medicare, whether or not your loan will cover your drug depends on the medication. Some drugs are covered by Medicare Part D, while others are not. For Medicaid, the coverage varies by state.

Wigs are an effective way to camouflage hair loss. Synthetic wigs are more durable than human hair wigs but take longer to dry. Human hair wigs look more natural than their synthetic counterparts but may fade in sunlight.

Depending on the type of wig construction you select, the price can range from around $75–$500. Here are the price ranges for several options:

basic wig cap$75–$150
lace front$150–$200
hand-tied cap$300–$500

You can also choose from a range of head coverings like scarves, caps, and comfort liners designed to fit under any hat.

NAAF has a helpful resources page that can connect you to support and offer advice about insurance reimbursement.

NAAF’s Ascot Fund offers financial assistance of up to $300 toward the purchase of a hairpiece to applicants who meet eligibility requirements.

Needy Meds is another resource that offers a directory of diagnosis-based alopecia areata assistance programs.

If alopecia areata is affecting your self-esteem and daily functioning, there are many options to treat or cover areas of hair loss.

Consider your options carefully and weigh them with your budget. Many insurance providers consider most treatments to be cosmetic and will not provide coverage. Check with your insurance first rather than assuming no financial assistance is available.

There are also personal grooming options you can try to manage hair loss, including topical hair fiber fillers.

If you’ve experienced alopecia-related eyelash loss, your dermatologist may also suggest solutions to protect your eyes, including glasses, false eyelashes, stick-on eyebrows, and semi-permanent tattoos for eyebrows. The prices of all these products can vary widely depending on the brand you purchase.

If you’re looking for a dermatologist to treat alopecia areata, try using the American Academy of Dermatology’s search tool. For a pediatric dermatologist, try the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.