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Is there a cure for frontal fibrosing alopecia?

16 February 2022

Alopecia

How to identify frontal fibrosing alopecia?

Frontal fibrosing alopecia is a type of hair loss, known as scarring, whose exact origin is still unknown. This type of alopecia has a higher incidence in women going through menopause, however, nowadays it is becoming more and more frequent in young women and men.

This type of alopecia has become, nowadays, a frequent reason for medical consultation. That is why, below, we will see some basic characteristics of frontal fibrosing alopecia, so that you can identify them yourself and visit your trichologist as soon as possible.

What is frontal fibrosing alopecia?

Frontal fibrosing alopecia is a disease that causes hair loss through a continuous receding frontal and temporal hairline. Another way of calling it is "headband alopecia" in reference to the affected areas.

Frontal fibrosing alopecia falls into the category of scarring alopecia, because it causes irreversible damage to the hair follicle, resulting in scar tissue and permanent hair loss.

As mentioned above, its greatest incidence is found in women close to menopause. However, the frequent appearance of frontal fibrosing alopecia in younger women and men of any age is currently attracting the attention of professionals.

What are the symptoms of frontal fibrosing alopecia?

The main symptom of frontal fibrosing alopecia is the hair growing further back and the consequent growth of the forehead in the middle and lateral parts. At the same time, some patients often experience swelling and some discomfort such as itching in the affected areas.

On numerous occasions, the first change that attracts the attention of patients is the gradual loss of eyebrows. Other observable data frequently reported in patients with this type of alopecia are reddening of the cheeks and lesions on both temples which present a kind of relief.

What are the causes of frontal fibrosing alopecia?

The origin of frontal fibrosing alopecia is still unknown, however, it is known to be an inflammatory and autoimmune process that attacks the follicles causing permanent damage.

As causes of frontal fibrosing alopecia, experts postulate the intervention of 4 key factors:

  • Hormonal factors: since frontal fibrosing alopecia appears mainly in women close to menopause, the intervention of certain hormones in this process is suspected. In addition, the use of hormonal drugs to treat it reinforces this hypothesis.
  • Genetic factors: It is common that members of the same family (mainly mothers and daughters) are affected by this type of baldness.
  • Autoimmune factors: Due to its frequent relationship with other types of autoimmune diseases, it suggests the relevance of autoimmune processes in this disease. 
  • Environmental factors: The existence of environmental factors could explain the increasing appearance of cases in recent years. It has not yet been possible to identify precisely which environmental factors could be involved; however, different studies have been launched to clarify this point.

Best treatments for FFA

The first step to properly diagnose and treat frontal fibrosing alopecia should be a medical consultation with a professional expert in trichology. The doctor will perform the corresponding clinical history, trichological examination and digital trichoscopy, the latter being a fundamental tool for hair diagnosis nowadays.

Digital trichoscopy allows for a more precise diagnosis, as it facilitates the counting of follicles and the estimation of their diameter. Moreover, thanks to this tool it is possible to carry out a detailed follow-up and registering the patient's evolution.

An early diagnosis of frontal fibrosing alopecia will make it possible to stop hair loss before baldness becomes more noticeable. If the inflammatory reaction that destroys the hair follicles can be effectively controlled, hair loss and scar tissue formation will be prevented.

The treatment of frontal fibrosing alopecia must in all cases be indicated by a physician, responding to the established diagnosis and adapted to the needs of each patient. Generally the procedure will be focused on controlling the two mechanisms that mobilize this reaction: the hormonal factor and the inflammatory factor. 

The objective will be to stop the growth of baldness in the form of a diadem, prevent the growth of the forehead and preserve as much as possible the frontal hairline. Throughout its development, the treatment will be monitored and modified if necessary. 

Further discoveries are currently awaited that will shed light on this disease and its possible medical approaches. However, it is important to emphasize that with the current knowledge it is possible to identify warning signs and to go to a professional capable of indicating and conducting the appropriate treatment.

When the presence of frontal fibrosing alopecia is confirmed, having a trained and trustworthy professional is a key aspect for the success of hair treatment. If you want to know more about the health of your scalp and the treatments indicated for your hair problem, ask us for a diagnostic consultation and personalized advice. We have been dedicated to scalp health for more than 10 years, restoring confidence and security to our patients.