Scarring alopecia is not a single problem, rather a group of disorders that may destroy the hair follicle. There are no certain causes that can define various kinds of scarring alopecias. However, inflammation in the upper part of the hair follicle, where sebaceous glands (oil glands) are located, is the most probable cause. Not only that, scarring alopecia replaced it with a scar tissue that might cause long-term hair loss as well. Scarring alopecia is also known as cicatricial alopecia.
How is scarring alopecia different from normal hair fall?
- Itching: Itching is experienced in the scalp often by the persons who are suffering from scarring alopecia.
- Pain: Pain is also sometimes an associated sign of this problem.
- Burning: Burning is the most common sign of scarring alopecia.
Scarring alopecia destroys the follicle, leaves scar tissue, causes long-term damage, and needs prompt treatment, unlike regular hairfall which is asymptomatic. There are different types of scarring alopecia- lichen Plano pilaus, discoid lupus, trichotillomania, folliculitis decalvans name a few. Diagnosis would depend on the clinical examination by an expert dermatologist. Few cases may require a skin biopsy.
Treatment varies depending upon the diagnosis and is aimed at:
- Stopping further scarring.
- Restoring lost hair.
- Treatment options include corticosteroids in topical creams, antimalarial, retinoids, antibiotics, calcineurin inhibitor. Hair transplantation can be done in select cases to restore lost hair.