What is Scarring Alopecia?

Date: Sep 2017

Scarring alopecia is one of the most serious forms of hair loss because it is permanent. Once the hair is gone, it will be gone for good. It is therefore essential to seek help as soon as possible so that the hair loss can be slowed or stopped.

Symptoms of Scarring Alopecia

Scarring alopecia is a type of hair loss in which the follicle is completely destroyed. You may notice that your hair is getting thinner or start to develop a bald patch. You may also have other symptoms alongside the hair loss, depending on the cause of the problem. For example, you may notice that you have an itchy rash on the affected areas of your scalp, that the skin is swollen or puffy, or that there are other symptoms elsewhere in your body.

Causes of Scarring Alopecia

Scarring alopecia usually occurs as a complication of another skin problem. Although the following conditions don’t always cause hair loss, it is one of the possible symptoms.
  • Lichen planus: a non-infectious, itchy rash that may appear on other parts of the body too.
  • Scleroderma: an immune condition that affects your connective tissues and can make your skin hard, puffy and itchy.
  • Discoid lupus: an immune condition that can cause scaly patches on your skin
  • Frontal fibrosing alopecia: a form of alopecia that usually occurs in post-menopausal women
  • Folliculitis decalvans: a form of alopecia related to inflammation of the hair follicles, most often seen in men

How is Scarring Alopecia Treated?

It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you think that you might have scarring alopecia. Although it is impossible to restore the hair follicles that have been lost, it may be possible to prevent further hair loss. Your dermatologist may recommend one of the following treatments, depending on the cause of your hair loss:
  • Steroid cream or tablets to relieve the symptoms of lichen planus or to reduce inflammation caused by lupus
  • Medication to suppress your immune system so that it stops attacking the hair follicles
  • Phototherapy can sometimes help with scarring alopecia
Other treatments may also be recommended to tackle your hair loss or any other symptoms you‘re experiencing, depending on the cause of your skin condition.

Did you know?

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