Scalp injuries are well-known for causing hair loss due to scarring. However, there are other ways your scalp can accumulate scar tissue. Alopecia disorders can cause permanent scalp scarring which, in turn, can lead to bald patches or complete loss of hair. Luckily, there are ways to understand these disorders and overcome their effects!
Signs of Scalp Scarring
Sometimes the signs of scalp scarring, also known as cicatricial alopecia, are not visible. However, in some cases, inflammatory cells cause itching, pain, burning and a rapid progression of hair loss. Other signs can be scaling, intense pigmentation and sometimes it can affect your sinuses.
Cases of scalp scarring alopecia have been found in all ages of men and women throughout the world. It’s important to keep track of the signs and symptoms you are seeing so that you can discuss them with your doctor. Once he knows of how your symptoms are progressing, he can ensure your therapy or treatment is right for you. Dermatologists will ask questions about how quickly your hair fell out and your body has been reacting to medications.
Causes of Cicatricial Alopecia
Unfortunately, this form of alopecia is one of the least understood forms. Researchers do know that what causes it is an inflammation of cells around the hair follicle, specifically the stem of the hair and the sebaceous gland. If the inflamed cells end up destroying this area, then it ruins that hair follicle from ever-growing new hair.
However, the diagnosis of cicatricial alopecia is very rare; only 3% of hair loss in the US stems from scalp scarring. Biopsies must be done in order to confirm the diagnosis so that it’s not mistaken for another form of skin disorder or illness. If it is not cicatricial alopecia and the illness has not caused permanent scarring, your hair can grow back.
Different Forms of Scalp Scarring Alopecia
There are two ways that cicatricial alopecia can cause inflammation of the hair follicles.
When the lymphatic system is the source of inflammation of the stem cells at the base of your hair, it is called lichen planopilaris. Sometimes this can mean your alopecia is the symptom of immune disease. This causes small lesions at the base of the hair, giving your scalp a red textured feel. Once the follicle has been destroyed the skin will smooth out but no hair will grow back.
When white blood cells cause inflammation, it is considered neutrophilic. A common neutrophilic inflammation is folliculitis decalvans also known as tufted folliculitis. This also causes a form of lesions around the base of the hair and in its oil glands. When the white blood cells have caused the irritation, you are able to see how many hairs are coming out of the follicle, which is how it got its ‘tufted’ name.
Both these are common types of alopecia that can be seen, however, scientists are still not sure exactly what causes it. There have also been cases where an infection has shifted from a neutrophilic process to a lymphocytic process as well and researchers are not sure why. In either case, we are slowly figuring out how to deal with hair loss once these disorders have stunted our hair growth.
The Helpful Solution to Hair Loss
Some people may think that hair transplants can help them get the hair back they’ve lost from these horrible disorders, however, they are expensive and involve more medications and procedures. Let your scalp rest with micropigmentation scar camouflage procedures with SMP INK. Our team has a long history of covering up injury scars and scars caused by alopecia. Get a free consultation today!