While scarring alopecia is a relatively rare form of hair loss compared to the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness – which affects the majority of men by retirement age – it is nonetheless the scourge of some individuals’ lives and can lead to deep psychological issues should their self-esteem dip as a result. Good news, then, that new options are starting to become available to help people with this type of hair loss.
What is scarring alopecia?
Scarring or cicatricial alopecia is one of the most severe forms of hair loss as it effects the very fibre of the scalp and, in the majority of cases, makes regrowth physically impossible. The shedding can occur anywhere on the scalp, in large, small or patchy areas, and is caused by inflammation damaging or destroying hair follicles. It can be brought on by some illnesses, including Lupus, as well as from burns or radiation.
Cicatricial alopecia is actually a term which encompasses a number of hair loss conditions which are almost always permanent, with the exception of Follicular Degeneration Syndrome (FDS) and Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), which if caught early enough may be treated. Once the follicles die and the skin takes on a ‘shiny’ appearance as scar tissue forms over them, treatments which are based on stimulating the follicles back into producing regrowth, have nothing to work with.
For those who cannot be helped by pharmaceutical treatments, in some cases a hair transplant may be effective although this route is not always recommended so highly specialised surgeons tend to advise on a case by case basis. This leaves those affected with the choice of either accepting and learning to live with their hair loss, or trying to disguise it.
Cosmetic methods of concealment
Though no one has yet been able to create a miracle cure for the condition, or even an effective method of on-going treatment for scarring alopecia that would lead to permanent regrowth, several companies are working on cosmetic methods of concealing the hair loss. And some of the most remarkable developments are coming from the labs of a company called Cesare Ragazzi in Italy, who are using 3D printing in their search for answers.
As previously reported, Ragazzi Laboratories are pioneers in creating 3D casts of the heads of people with hair loss and then creating a very modern wig exclusively for the client.
Impressive results have already been seen on people with severe balding, such as that caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Universalis; now the company has explained at a major International Alopecia Conference in New Orleans how its products have helped a patient with Scarring Alopecia.
At the conference, a patient with Scarring Alopecia whose name was given only as “Ivory”, said: “Cicatricial Alopecia affected my self-confidence and has been self-limiting for me. I refused to see a new hair stylist, as I was afraid they would be shocked or ask numerous questions. I was afraid and ashamed to seek help. I also avoided activities, such as swimming or simply riding in a convertible. Now, my results are permanent and I feel 100% more confident.”
By ‘permanent’, she means that her hairpiece has been non-surgically grafted onto her scalp. Non-surgically basically implies that a type of strong, waterproof adhesive is used.
3D news site 3ders.com says that Ragazzi has been given a significant profile boost by partnering with Florida-based hair prosthesis specialist Dr Alan J. Bauman, who has treated more than 17,000 patients during the past 18 years. He, in turn, has recently teamed up with the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (CARF) to help raise awareness about the condition.
Ultra-modern wigs and their adhesives can certainly be impressive, and in cases of extreme hair loss are sometimes the only solution. They do, however, come with a fairly hefty price tag in the thousands of dollars.
A free consultation at a recognised hair loss clinic is always the best place to begin if you are showing signs of hair loss, as many conditions can be successfully treated with a bespoke hair loss treatment course, particularly if they are caught early enough. Even though it is a form of scarring alopecia, Belgravia’s personalised treatment for FDS has produced many successful results – like those seen above – with clients experiencing significant regrowth from their functioning follicles.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.