Frontal fibrosing alopecia
Other Names for this Disease
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Your QuestionI have been diagnosed with frontal fibrosing hair loss (alopecia). Is this condition going to cause all of my hair to fall out or will the hair loss stop at some point? Will medication help, or are the side effects too concerning?
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Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is usually described as "slowly progressive" and the associated hair loss does stabilize in many affected people. It, therefore, does not usually lead to total hair loss. Hair loss has been shown to stabilize both with and without treatment. This has led some researchers to question whether treatment for this condition is necessary since the hair loss may stop naturally. However, other researchers suggest that treatment should be started quickly to control the inflammation that destroys hair follicles in an effort to prevent any additional hair loss.
Last updated: 1/20/2014
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA). Because the hair loss associated with this condition is thought to be caused by inflammation of hair follicles, treatment often involves using anti-inflammatory medications or ointments, such as corticosteroids or hydroxychloroquine (brand name Plaquenil), to reduce inflammation and suppress the body's immune system. Medications that block the production of the male hormone 5-alpha reductase have been reported to stop further hair loss in some women. Researchers continue to question whether treatment is effective or if hair loss in FFA just stops naturally.
Last updated: 1/20/2015
- Tan KT, Messenger AG. Frontal fibrosing alopecia: clinical presentations and prognosis. British Journal of Dermatology. 2009; 160:75-79. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18811690. Accessed 4/9/2012.
- Frequently Asked Questions. Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation. September 2011; http://www.carfintl.org/faq.php. Accessed 8/9/2013.
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia. DermNet NZ. January 2015; http://dermnetnz.org/hair-nails-sweat/frontal-fibrosing-alopecia.html.