How Scarring Can Affect Hair Loss

One of the most challenging things about treating hair loss is that the condition could potentially be the result of a variety of different causes.  People are usually most familiar with androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, a common genetic condition inheritable by both men and women that gradually reduces the size of the hair follicles in a specific pattern on the scalp, causing them to produce thinner and thinner hairs until they eventually stop producing new hairs altogether.  However, hair loss may also be attributable to other medical issues, and each of these possible sources requires a distinctly different approach.  That is why, at The Griffin Center for Hair Restoration and Research, board certified dermatologists and hair loss experts Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis insist that every patient be given a full and complete diagnosis.  For example, one particularly problematic cause of hair loss is scarring, but even that can be the result of three distinctly different sources.

Scarring from Surgery or Trauma

How Scarring Can Affect Hair LossWhenever the skin heals after being cut or damaged, whether from a careful surgical procedure or a random dog bite, some form of scar will always be left behind.  Since scar tissue is made up of abnormal collagen growth that often lacks the glands and hair follicles that are present in ordinary skin, areas where deep scars are present will often not grow hair.  Using the NeoGraft® follicular unit extraction device, we can harvest small samples of healthy, growing hair follicles from other areas of the scalp and then carefully graft them into or around an area, allowing new hair to grow over the scar and conceal its appearance.  Our surgeons also have a great deal of experience using a highly specialized type of surgical closure that allows the hairs to grow through scar tissue, making the resulting scar line virtually undetectable.

Scarring from Tight Hairstyles

Hair follicles can also suffer serious damage as a result of prolonged tension, such as that caused by tight hairstyles, such as braids, pony tails, sewn-in hairpieces, and “man-buns.”  These hair styles can place undue stress on individual hair follicles, which can, if left untreated, lead to permanent hair loss.  This traumatic or traction alopecia can usually be easily avoided by changing hairstyles when the symptoms first start to appear.  In extreme cases, however, hair transplantation surgery or non-surgical hair restoration treatments may be necessary in order to encourage future hair growth.

Scarring Alopecia

Perhaps the most damaging and permanent form of hair loss, cicatricial, or scarring, alopecia is a term that actually refers to a collection of rare disorders that destroy hair follicles, either by inciting the body’s own immune system to attack them directly or as a consequence of other conditions on the scalp.  They include central centrifugal scarring alopecia (or CCSA), frontal fibrosing alopecia, lichen plano pilaris, lupus erythematosus, and folliculitis de calvans.  Any of the various forms of cicatricial alopecia can potentially cause permanent and irregular hair loss, making treatment particularly challenging.  However, if the condition is caught early, progression of the disease can often be successfully slowed so that hair loss is kept to a minimum.

The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research is respected worldwide as one of the leading centers devoted to the treatment of all forms of hair loss.  If you have questions about any of the procedures and treatments that may be able to help you, or would like to have the cause of your hair loss diagnosed by Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration to schedule a consultation.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.