Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is a form of scarring alopecia that predominantly affects women after menopause. First described by Dr. Kossard in 1994, FFA is becoming increasingly prevalent.
FFA is characterized by a gradual thinning of the hairline, primarily in the frontal scalp region, which progresses backwards and leaves a band-like area of hair loss. In some cases, hair loss may also occur on the sides and back of the scalp, as well as the eyebrows and eyelashes.
The cause of FFA is not fully understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. Risk factors include a family history of the condition, postmenopausal status, and the use of certain medications, especially hormone replacement therapy. Other potential risk factors include exposure to ultraviolet radiation, stress, and certain infections.
Diagnosis of FFA involves a clinical examination by a dermatologist or trichologist to evaluate the pattern of hair loss and the presence of inflammation and scarring. A biopsy may be taken to examine a small sample of skin from the affected area for characteristic changes.
Treatment options for FFA aim to slow or halt the progression of the disease, as well as stimulate hair regrowth. Topical and oral corticosteroids are commonly used to reduce inflammation and slow hair loss. Other medications include minoxidil, which may help stimulate hair regrowth, and tetracyclines, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Lifestyle modifications such as avoiding tight hairstyles and hair accessories, using gentle hair care products, and protecting the scalp from the sun with a hat or sunscreen may also be helpful. Hair transplant surgery may be an option for some individuals with stable disease and a sufficient amount of donor hair.
In conclusion, FFA is a type of hair loss that predominantly affects women after menopause, and is believed to be an autoimmune disorder that leads to inflammation and scarring of hair follicles. Treatment options are limited, but can help to slow or halt the progression of the disease, and lifestyle modifications may be beneficial. Hair transplant surgery may be an option for some individuals.