Scarring alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia, is a rare disorder that destroys the hair follicle and replaces it with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss. The rate of which this happens and the severity can differ from person to person.
At the Harley Street Hair Clinic, we’re experts in hair loss and today we’re going to look into scarring alopecia and if there are any treatment options.
As said above, scaring alopecia is a disorder that destroys the hair follicle and replaces it with scar tissue, resulting in permanent hair loss. The hair follicles are destroyed by inflammation below the skin’s surface, which then replaces the follicles with scar tissue.
As the inflammation happens below the skin’s surface, there is usually no scarring visible on the scalp; it is actually under the skin. In some cases, affected areas of the scalp may show signs of inflammation, have redness, scaling, and, increased or decreased pigmentation. The condition involves the top of the scalp and is seen in both men and women of all ages, although it occurs predominantly in women.
Scarring alopecia patches usually look slightly different to more common alopecia areata patches; the edges of the bald patches can look more ragged. In some cases the affected areas can be smooth and clean, others can have redness, scaling, and in some cases, blisters.
The exact cause of scarring alopecia is poorly understood, with no definitive answer of what causes the disorder. All occurrences of scarring alopecia do, however, involve inflammation – mainly directed at the lower part of the hair follicle where the stem cells and sebaceous glad are located.
The stem cells and sebaceous glands are destroyed because of the inflammation. When this happens there is no possibility of regeneration of the hair follicle, which results in permanent hair loss.
Scarring alopecia frequently occurs in African-American and is believed to be associated with persistent tight braiding or ‘corn-rowing’ of scalp hair.
Treatment for scarring alopecia can differ for each case; there are different subtypes of the disorder. Before you look into treatment options it is important to see a hair loss specialist who can look at your condition and correctly diagnose you with the disorder. A scalp biopsy will be essential for the diagnosis of scarring alopecia.
As scarring alopecia can involve a lot of damage and permanent hair loss, treatment can be quite aggressive. Treatment will vary on a case to case basis but in some early on stages it can be treated with corticosteroids – which come in the form of topical creams or by injection to the affected skin. Mild cases can be treated with antibiotics and isotretinoin.
Once scarring alopecia has reached its final stage, and there has been no more hair loss for a year or so you, can treat any bald areas. The bald areas can be treated by transplanting hair follicles from unaffected areas. At the Harley Street Hair Clinic we are experts in FUE hair transplants, which is the most advanced hair transplant option available.