Cicatricial alopecia is a type of hair loss which occurs in both men and women. Also known as scarring alopecia, cicatricial alopecia is very rare and leads to permanent hair loss if not diagnosed and treated early. Although some researchers believe there is a hereditary link to scarring alopecia, no scientific study has been able to prove the connection between genes and cicatricial alopecia.
Scarring alopecia is a progressive hair loss condition and takes months, if not years, to develop. This is often a good thing because when treatment is started in the condition’s early stages, the outcomes are positive. Most patients recover most, if not all, their hair. However, the early stages of the condition may not show any symptoms. In some rare cases, the progression of the condition is rapid and results in severe hair loss over just a couple of months.
Symptoms of cicatricial alopecia
The most common symptom of this hair loss condition is the development of painful and itchy patches on the scalp. A reddening and inflammation of the scalp occurs, often in small areas. This inflammation affects the hair follicles, inhibiting hair growth and leading to the development of bald patches.
Inflammation is one of the body’s natural reactions to injury. It is an autoimmune response whose purpose is to protect the body from infection. Take the example of a grazed knee. The body reacts and the area becomes inflamed. Eventually, the graze heals and a scab forms. Now, imagine this happening to your scalp and hair follicles. The inflammation causes fibrous scabs to form, preventing new hair growth.
Cicatricial alopecia diagnosis
Getting an early diagnosis is paramount. An experienced trichologist may make a visual diagnosis, although a punch biopsy is essential for confirmation in all cases. A diagnosis is also pivotal to creating a treatment plan that will suit your individual circumstances.
Medical treatments appear to work for cicatricial alopecia including anti-inflammatory substances to tackle the effects of the autoimmune response. Dealing with the inflammation is key, as is dealing with any potential bacterial infections by using anti-bacterial medication.
If you suspect you’re suffering from cicatricial alopecia or another form of hair loss, it is important for you to get a professional diagnosis. The experts at Vinci Hair Clinic have experience diagnosing and treating a range of hair loss conditions, including scarring alopecia. Visit the different sections of the website to find out more about the causes and treatments of hair loss.