Frontal fibrosing alopecia

What causes frontal fibrosing alopecia?

The exact underlying cause of frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is unknown. FFA is thought to be an autoimmune condition in which an affected person's immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles (structures in the skin that make hair). Scientists also suspect that there may be a hormonal component since the condition most commonly affects post-menopausal women over age 50.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How is frontal fibrosing alopecia diagnosed?

Frontal fibrosing alopecia is often suspected based on the presence of characteristic signs and symptoms. The diagnosis can be confirmed by examining a small sample of skin (skin biopsy) from the affected area. In some cases, laboratory studies may be ordered to rule out other conditions that cause similar features.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is frontal fibrosing alopecia inherited?

While most cases appear to be isolated and the only one in a particular family, there have been familial cases reported in the literature. Genetic studies, however, have been lacking. A 2016 study suggests that there are both genetic and environmental components involved in FFA.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is the long-term outlook for people with frontal fibrosing alopecia?

The long-term outlook (prognosis) for people with frontal fibrosing alopecia varies. It is generally slowly progressive (worsening over time); however, the condition does stabilize after a few years in some cases.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might frontal fibrosing alopecia be treated?

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, tetracyclines, 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 (finasteride) have been reported to stop further hair loss in some women. Intralesional injection of medication and systemic therapies (taken by mouth) seem to be more effective than those applied to the skin. In many cases, a combination of treatments works best. Some researchers continue to question whether treatment is effective or if hair loss in FFA just stops naturally.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Selected Full-Text Journal Articles

Genome-wide association study in frontal fibrosing alopecia identifies four susceptibility loci including HLA-B*07:02

Tziotzios C, Petridis C, Dand N, et al. Genome-wide association study in frontal fibrosing alopecia identifies four susceptibility loci including HLA-B*07:02. Nature Communications. 2019 Mar 8;10(1):1150.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Where To Start

Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (C.A.R.F.)

The Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation has an information page on Frontal fibrosing alopecia. Click on the link to view this information page.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: American Hair Loss Association 23679 Calabasas Road # 682
Calabasas, CA, 91301-1502, United States
Email: Url:
Name: Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (C.A.R.F.) 1586 Sumneytown Pike PO Box 1322
Kulpsville, PA, 19443, United States
Phone: +1-267-613-9811 Email: Url:
Arnold S. & Cooper s.. Frontal fibrosing alopecia Orphanet. May, 2011; Reference Link

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