Understanding Scarring Alopecia

Androgenetic Alopecia in WomenOver 95 percent of hair loss cases are caused by androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary hair loss condition that affects over three million Americans annually. But it isn’t the only form of alopecia. While far less common, scarring alopecia also causes hair loss, though for different reasons and in different ways. Also known as cicatricial alopecia, this condition is actually a collection of hair loss problems which are responsible for an estimated three percent of hair loss cases around the world.

What is Scarring Alopecia?

Scarring alopecias are most often the result of inflammation caused by such things as fungal infections, chemicals such as those found in hair relaxers, mechanical traction, and inflammatory disorders which include discoid lupus erythematosus, lichen planopilaris, dissecting cellulitis, tufted folliculitis, folliculitis decalvans, alopecia mucinosa, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, and acne keloidalis.

The inflammation which is the culprit behind this hair loss condition destroys hair follicles, stem cells, and the sebaceous gland below the surface of the scalp. The destruction of these crucial elements of healthy hair growth is often permanent and hairs destroyed by scarring alopecia usually do not grow back.

What Are the Signs of Scarring Alopecia?

Most people suffering from scarring alopecia will first notice small patches of hair loss which slowly expand over time. Sometimes, though, the hair loss may progress more rapidly and be accompanied by uncomfortable or painful symptoms such as burning and severe itching.

The areas of hair loss caused by scarring alopecia may have “ragged” edges and while the affected area may sometimes appear smooth and devoid of pores, it is not uncommon for those bald patches to have redness, scaling, increased or decreased pigmentation, or raised blisters with fluids or pus.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As noted, scarring alopecia is a relatively rare hair loss condition. Since the active destruction of hair follicles happens below the surface of the skin, a scalp biopsy is often necessary to arrive at a correct diagnosis.

If caught early enough, aggressive treatment by experienced hair loss professionals can stop the progression of the condition and minimize any further damage. The specific treatment recommended by your doctor will largely depend on which form of the condition you ae suffering from. Even without treatment, the symptoms and progression of scarring alopecia almost always stop eventually. Once some time has passed after the condition has been resolved, hair transplant surgery can restore hair to the bald areas left behind.

Call the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami for Your Personal Hair Loss Consultation

The first step in discovering why you are losing your hair and what you can do about it is to schedule a hair loss consultation. We invite you to schedule an evaluation at the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami. Drs. Nusbaum and Rose are internationally acclaimed hair restoration surgeons with more than 40 years combined experience. To receive a personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.