A HOST OF CONDITIONS – PATHOGENIC AND IDIOPATHIC INFLAMMATION, AS WELL AS SELF-INFLICTED FOLLICLE DAMAGE – CAN LEAD TO HAIR LOSS.
Sometimes called “cicatricial alopecia,” scarring alopecia is a broad term used for many different scalp disorders that can damage or destroy hair follicles and can lead to permanent hair loss.
Scarring alopecia is an irregular and asymmetrical form of hair loss, often characterized by patchy bald spots or a jagged hairline. Sometimes the skin where the hair was lost is smooth, but in other instances it can be blistery, scaled or have decreased pigmentation.
Scarring alopecia is divided into two categories. The first, primary cicatricial alopecias, occur when hair follicles are destroyed by inflammation of various origins. The category is perhaps more perplexing because the actual cause can be uncertain. What is known is that inflammation can destroy the stem cells and sebaceous glands at the upper part of hair follicles, leading to permanent hair loss.
The second category is due to an external injury, radiation, burns or tumors. This group also includes CCCA, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, which results from damaging hair styling methods, such as from tight braiding, chemical relaxers and hot comb treatments (follicular degeneration syndrome).
Can cicatricial alopecia be stopped? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but some forms of it can be easily prevented. An accurate and early diagnosis is an advantage, of course. People with one of these conditions should work with a qualified dermatologist to identify the cause and potential treatments. There are many surgical, topical, and alternative treatments to help in treating the different variations of this type of hair loss condition.