Can Cortisone Shots Cause Hair Loss? The Effects of Steroid Treatments

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Cortisone shots, also known as corticosteroid injections, are a widely used medical treatment for a variety of conditions, ranging from joint pain to skin conditions. While these shots can provide relief for many individuals, there is a common concern regarding their potential impact on hair health and growth. In this comprehensive article, we'll explore the relationship between cortisone shots and hair loss, providing you with the facts and insights you need to make an informed decision about your medical treatment.

Can Cortisone Shots Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, cortisone shots can potentially cause hair loss, but the extent and duration of the hair loss can vary depending on several factors. It's important to understand the mechanisms behind this potential side effect and how to mitigate the risk.

Understanding Cortisone Shots and Hair Loss

Cortisone shots, also known as corticosteroid injections, are a type of medication used to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain in various parts of the body. These injections work by delivering a high concentration of corticosteroids, such as cortisol, directly to the targeted area.

The Impact of Cortisone on Hair Growth

Cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, can have a significant impact on the hair growth cycle. When cortisone levels in the body are elevated, either due to external medication or an underlying medical condition, it can disrupt the normal hair growth process, leading to increased shedding or thinning of the hair.

Types of Hair Loss Associated with Cortisone Shots

The hair loss associated with cortisone shots can manifest in different ways, depending on the individual and the specific treatment:

  • Telogen Effluvium: This is a temporary form of hair loss that occurs when the hair follicles are pushed into the resting (telogen) phase prematurely, leading to increased shedding and thinning of the hair.
  • Alopecia Areata: In some cases, cortisone shots may trigger or exacerbate an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata, which can result in patchy hair loss or even complete hair loss (alopecia totalis).

Factors That Influence the Risk of Hair Loss

Several factors can influence the likelihood and severity of hair loss associated with cortisone shots, including:

Dosage and Frequency of Injections

The higher the dosage of cortisone and the more frequent the injections, the greater the risk of hair loss. Repeated or prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisone can significantly disrupt the hair growth cycle.

Location of Injection

Cortisone shots administered directly to the scalp or near the hairline have a higher likelihood of causing localized hair loss in the treated area, compared to injections in other parts of the body.

Individual Sensitivity

Some individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of cortisone on their hair growth, potentially experiencing more pronounced hair loss or a longer recovery period.

Minimizing the Risk of Hair Loss from Cortisone Shots

If you are undergoing treatment with cortisone shots, there are several steps you can take to help minimize the risk of hair loss:

Discuss Hair Loss Concerns with Your Healthcare Provider

Be sure to inform your healthcare provider about any concerns you have regarding hair loss before receiving cortisone shots. They may be able to adjust the dosage, frequency, or location of the injections to reduce the risk of this side effect.

Monitor for Signs of Hair Loss

Keep a close eye on your hair and scalp, and be vigilant for any signs of increased shedding, thinning, or patchy hair loss. Promptly report any changes to your healthcare provider.

Support Hair Health with Proper Care

Complement your cortisone shot treatment with a comprehensive hair care regimen that includes gentle cleansing, nourishing conditioning, and the use of hair-stimulating products or treatments, as recommended by your healthcare provider or a hair care professional.

Consider Temporary Hair Styling Adjustments

If you experience hair loss related to cortisone shots, you may want to consider temporary adjustments to your hairstyles and styling techniques to minimize further damage or stress on your hair.

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Addressing Persistent or Severe Hair Loss

In some cases, the hair loss associated with cortisone shots may be persistent or severe, requiring additional intervention. If you experience ongoing or worsening hair loss, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist or trichologist, who can help identify the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Medical Treatments for Hair Loss

Depending on the cause and severity of the hair loss, your healthcare provider may recommend additional medical treatments, such as:

  • Topical or Oral Medications: Prescription medications like minoxidil or finasteride can help stimulate hair growth and prevent further hair loss.
  • Steroid Injections: In some cases, low-dose steroid injections directly into the scalp may be used to help suppress inflammation and promote hair regrowth.
  • Laser Therapy: Low-level laser therapy, also known as red light therapy, can help stimulate the hair follicles and encourage new hair growth.
  • Hair Transplantation: In severe cases of hair loss, a hair transplant procedure may be recommended to restore hair density and coverage.


In conclusion, cortisone shots can potentially cause hair loss in some individuals, with the risk and severity depending on various factors. By understanding the potential impact of cortisone on hair growth, taking proactive measures to support hair health, and seeking prompt medical attention for persistent or severe hair loss, you can navigate this challenge and maintain the overall health and vitality of your hair. Remember, your healthcare provider is the best resource for personalized guidance and treatment options to address any hair loss concerns you may have.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.