Scarring Alopecia - a Rare form of Hair Loss

Scarring alopecia also known as cicatrical alopecia is a relatively rare form of hair loss, affecting both sexes and all age groups. It is caused by the destruction of hair follicles, replacing them with scars and it leads to permanent hair loss. In many cases these inflammatory processes are painful and accompanied by burning and itching scalp and they can be rapidly progressive. Although it is not exactly known what causes scarring alopecia, it is known to affect the upper part of the hair follicles, destroying stem cells and oil glands. Once these get destroyed the hair follicle is irreversibly dead. This type of hair loss is not being associated with other health conditions and typically occurs in otherwise healthy people.

The treatment of scarring alopecia is different from other types of hair loss and largely varies from patient to patient. The most typical treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications that are applied to the scalp such as corticosteroids or used orally such as antibiotics with the goal to reduce the activity of the lymphocytic inflammatory cells, which leads to the destruction of the hair follicles. Unfortunately, hair loss caused by cicatrical alopecia is not reversible but the treatment can help eliminate inflammatory processes and thus save follicles from further destruction. Some hair growth stimulant such as Rogaine can be used later on in order to stimulate new hair growth from follicles that have not been yet completely destroyed by the scars.

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