Dr. Donovan's Daily Hair Loss Blog (2011-2017)



Information for Our Patients. 

What is DPCP?

  • DPCP is a liquid chemical which is applied to the scalp. It causes and allergic reaction on the skin and therefore it must not be allowed to touch any skin but the scalp.
  • DPCP is used to cause  an allergic response on the scalp.  This “tricks” the immune system into mounting a response against the chemical rather than against the hair.  This gives the hair a better chance to start growing back.

How is DPCP prescribed?

  • The very first dose is a 2 % solution which is applied to a small coin-shaped area on the scalp.  Be sure to wear nitrile gloves we discussed with you at your appointment. The scalp can be washed at the end of the day but try to leave on 48 hours.
  • In two weeks, you will start a very low dose of DPCP(0.001%).  This is applied with a q tip to the entire scalp. Be sure to wear gloves.
  • If there was no burning, increase to 0.01%.  If there was significant itching, burning or irritation, then the dose is kept the same.
  • In general, patients should be itchy for 2 days – the day of treatment and the following day. We do not want patients itchy for the rest of the week.


HOW DO WE GO UP in the various concentrations of DPCP?


The following is the treatment ladder for applying DPCP


  • 0.001 %  (2 weeks later!)

  • 0.01 % (only go up if NOT itchy!)

  • 0.02 %

  • 0.05 %

  • 0.1 %

  • 0.2 %

  • 0.35 %

  • 0.5 %

  • 0.75 %

  • 1 %

  • 1.5 %

  • 2 %

  • 2.5 %

  • 3 %



Can I use DPCP with other treatments? 

  • DPCP cannot be used with topical steroids (except to stop an overly strong reaction)

  • Ask Dr. Donovan if you are not sure what a topical steroid is. You might have been using this for your alopecia areata in the past, but it must now be stopped

  • DPCP can be used with Minoxidil lotion – either 2 % of 5 %. Dr Donovan will tell you if he wants you to use minoxidil or not.

  • DPCP can sometimes be used with other medications Dr. Donovan will prescribe if he feels it might be beneficial



Who should not use DPCP?

Dr. Donovan does not prescribe DPCP if you have a history of a severe reaction to it in the past

When will I see results if the DPCP is helping?

  • Hair growth can be seen in about 12 weeks, but can occur earlier

  • If you have active alopecia areata, you may have hair loss before you get hair growth

  • White colored hair may appear first followed by darker hairs

What side effects are possible with DPCP?


In general, you should think of DPCP like you would think of “poison ivy”.  Any reaction you can get with poison ivy you can get with DPCP.

  • Rash on the scalp – (this is expected)

  • Swollen lymph nodes (swollen glands) on the neck – this is expected and not serious

  • Full body rash if the DPCP is spread

  • Blisters on the scalp or body

  • Pigmentation changes on the scalp – some areas lighter and some areas darker


What should I also know about DPCP?

·      It should not be used in pregnancy and should not be used if breast feeding


What side effects should prompt me to STOP DPCP and get medical advice?

·      Stop taking DPCP and get medical help if you develop hives, shortness of breath, swelling in the lips or feel unwell

·      Stop if you have any concerns at all



1) how long do you have to use? is it a for life treatment



it's used until the hair grows back the we try to taper. Some need it continuously.


2)for 48 hours after applying can you touch scalp can you put a wig or a cap on?


you wash the scalp. a wig can be put on within 1 hour of application.



3)does it help with lashes or eyebrows


no, it can not be used here. 



4)is it applied to bald spot or whole head


wherever there are areas of alopecia areata







At Donovan Medical, we not only want to help individuals have outstanding results, but we also want to help advance the field of hair transplantation. 

The following studies in hair transplantation are currently being conducted at Donovan Medical. Additional research studies in hair loss are conducted offsite in conjunction with Okavana Laboratories.


1.  Post-op Prednisone dose to reduce the incidence of swelling

Rationale: A small amount of swelling is possible post-op. The vast majority of hair transplant surgeons around the world use various types of corticosteroids peri-operative or post-operative to reduce the incidence of swelling. The optimal administration remains to be clarified.  We are currently retrospectively  reviewing the incidence and course of post-operative swelling in patients receiving various amounts of corticosteroids.


2.  Graft survival in frontal fibrosing alopecia

Rationale: Numerous studies around the world have shown that the survival of hair follicle grafts during the course of hair transplantation is approximately 92-98%. The rate of graft survival appears to be reduced in individuals with scarring hair loss conditons. Frontal fibrosing alopecia is a type of scarring alopecia affecting women age 45-70. The optimal treatment remains unknown and the role of hair transplantation remains to be clarified. We are currently studying the survival of transplanted grafts in patients with frontal fibrosing alopecia. 


For more information on these studies, contact our study coordinators, office@donovanmedical.com


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