Scarring Alopecia

Trichotillomania

There are different reasons why you lose your hair, from a genetic problem to a more serious medical condition. One of these medical problems that causes hair loss comes with a variety of different names, from Graham Little Syndrome, Scarring Alopecia, Lichen Planopilaris and Graham Little Piccardi Lassueur Syndrome all refer to the same condition.

This condition presents mostly in women who are between 30 and 70 years of age. The actual cause of the hair loss and what triggers the condition, is unclear. The belief that it has a connection to the immune system fits into the theory of the condition, but there is no medical proof yet.

The condition has three clear characteristics, which always appear before a suggested diagnosis of the condition, a scalp biopsy is the confirming diagnosis.

The three characteristics of Graham Little Syndrome are:

  • Scarring hair loss on the scalp that is describable as patchy.
  • Hair on the groin and under the arms disappear, no scarring, just thinning hair or non-existent.
  • Bumps at the base of a hair follicle.

When doing the scalp biopsy they are looking for follicles that are not healthy and the skin is thin.

Treatment options for scaring Alopecia

A number of treatment options are available, focusing on halting the condition and not curing the hair loss that has already taken place. If you are looking for an option to replace the hair already lost, then this will need to discuss with a specialist, they can go through the case with you.

The treatment options:

  • Thalidomide: this medication created birth defects in the 1950’s and so birth control is vital whilst on this drug. It does have great results for skin conditions but some countries won’t use it at all.
  • Ciclosporin: this suppresses the immune system and is typically used for transplant patients.
  • PUVA: photo chemotherapy (Psoralen combined with Ultra Violet A) is a radiation treatment that uses the ultra violet light, a treatment that has been in use since the 1970’s.
  • Retinoids: this treatment will cause birth defects and it is important that anyone who is on this treatment must take extra precautions to prevent pregnancy.
  • Steroid: a number of different options to try from injections, topical and tablet form of medication giving the patient some options.

The condition and the causes baffle scientists, more research into the condition needs completing. It is when an understanding as to why a medical condition occurs, there is a better chance of actually finding a cure.

It is why, if you start to experience hair loss, that you seek medical advice as to the cause. It might be more serious than you first imagined. Getting help from a specialist to help protect any hair you have left, and to help manage your current loss is important. It is only with specialist help and an understanding of what you are currently going through, will you be able to put together a restoration plan. Whilst the hair you have lost to this condition won’t grow back naturally, there might be options open to you that you can discuss further with a specialist.

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