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‘Will My Hair Grow Back After Burning My Scalp?’

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Name: Trent

Question: I recently suffered some burns to my head for rather juvenile reasons I’d rather not get into. I lost hair in two patches, and the bigger of the two is still very tender (and hair-free). I’m assuming my hair will grow back – but will it?

Answer: Hi Trent, it’s difficult to know if your hair loss will be temporary or permanent without seeing the severity of the burn. While there’s generally a good chance of hair regrowing after it’s been scorched off in an accident, that sadly isn’t always the case.

5SOS Guitarist Michael Clifford Caught Fire on Stage at Wembley

5SOS Guitarist Michael Clifford’s Hair Caught Fire on Stage at Wembley

Famously, Michael Jackson lost a large patch of his hair in 1984 when he was filming a Pepsi commercial and a pyrotechnics accident set it on fire. Despite rapid medical treatment, he still suffered major burning on the back of his scalp and was left with a large bald patch.

Jackson turned to a well-known American surgeon known as Doc Hollywood for help, and during 80 minutes of laser surgery the doctor was able to repair his burnt scalp.

Something similar happened again just this week when a member of Australian pop band 5 Seconds Of Summer was injured on stage. Performing at Wembley Arena in London, guitarist Michael Clifford wandered into the path of a pyrotechnic where a burst of fire caught him squarely in the face.

While video footage shows the guitarist’s head engulfed in a ball of flames, the young pop star appears to have escaped relatively unharmed, and though he ended the show early, he was back in action for the following night’s performance. Luckily, he seems to have escaped serious injury.

In more serious fires, however, badly burnt skin on the head can result in hair-producing follicles becoming permanently destroyed. Previously healthy follicles are replaced by scar tissue, from which no new hair will grow, either naturally or through the use of hair loss treatments. This is a condition known as cicatricial alopecia or scarring alopecia.

Oscar Pistorius Displays Signs of Stress-Related Hair Loss During Murder TrialIn many cases, though, burns to the head are relatively minor and the scalp makes a full recovery. When it does, follicles typically begin producing hair again. Hair regrowth usually occurs once the scalp has healed, this usually means within three months. Lack of regrowth, especially a year after the incident, confirms scarring hence, the hair will not regrow.

But just to give you a full picture, it’s also worth knowing that the shock of trauma – and yes, losing your hair in a fire definitely counts! – can lead to Alopecia Areata. This is characterised by sudden patchy loss of hair – from anywhere on the head, not just where you were burned. It is mainly caused by follicles suddenly and prematurely entering the telogen (resting) phase, and whilst the precise causes are unknown, sudden and extreme stress is widely accepted as a trigger.

Though hair normally grows back of its own accord within six months, in some instances the hair’s pigmentation may continue to show signs of stress, with the resultant regrowth appearing white. Pictures of Oscar Pistorius at his trial last year showed distinct white patches thought to be where the former athlete’s hair had regrown after stress-induced Alopecia Areata. The regrowth is actually unpigmented, hence it looks white, but should regain pigmentation after a few hair growth cycles.

It makes sense to see both your GP and a hair loss specialist with regards your particular condition – and the sooner the better. You want to give yourself the best possible chance of regaining a healthy scalp as soon as you can.


circ The Belgravia Centre City of London Hair Loss Treatment ClinicThe 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.


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25 Comments

31st August, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Filsan

Hi my name is Filsan. my brother got burned his on his head when he was 9 months but now is 16 years old and need to get his hair back we could not do before because we were advice not to do anything until he is 16. What can you do for him. We need advice and treatment. Thanks

31st August, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Filsan, Unfortunately it is very likely that his hair follicles were destroyed when he was burnt and have now scarred over. This is known as scarring alopecia or cicatricial alopecia and cannot be treated. As hair loss treatment works by stimulating the follicles, this will not be suitable or effective for your brother. In cases of cicatricial alopecia it is probably more worthwhile to contact a reputable hair transplant specialist. Sometimes this is an option for those who have lost hair to scarring, depending on the extent of the scalp damage and donor hair available. If convenient, your brother is very welcome to have a free hair loss consultation so that our experts can diagnose him then, should he decide to explore hair restoration surgery, we can refer him to our hair transplant partner.

10th October, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Asif

Sir i am 21 years boy. I lost my 50% hairs in fire accident. Doctor adviced me that you will be able to get ur hair back. because my hair plates are burned completely. What should I do. Thanks.

11th October, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Asif, one of our senior hair loss specialists has answered your query over on our blog.

26th October, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Javier Marquez

My hair burn occured in a doctors office when I was misstaken for another patient.The tech. left a burn on my scalp about 4 inches long and 2 more on the top head of my head. My loss of hair has been gradual and continuous over the past year Is there any hope of any recovery?

28th October, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Javier, please find a full response to your query. We recommend you have someone assess your scalp as - as you will see - there are a number of possibilities as to what is causing your hair loss so we cannot provide you with an accurate diagnosis from the information you have provided here.

17th January, 2017 at 2:06 am

someone

Hi. My cousin was around 2 when her head got burned from boiling oil. Her scalp got destroyed and there is a huge bald patch in the middle of her head. It can be covered up by tying her hair. Do you think there''s a chance of full hair growth? She's 18 now and tiny hair follicles have grown but it has been 16 years and that's all that has happened.

17th January, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi there, unfortunately it's unlikely as in cases such as this the result is often permanent due to scarring alopecia. There are treatments being developed that may potentially help this type of hair loss in the future but now and most likely for the next few years there are no effective means of treating hair loss where scar tissue is involved.

4th February, 2017 at 11:19 am

Emme

My hair caught on fire when inadvertently the side of my head got too close to a candle. My scalp feels a bit sore though I have no redness, just a burning sensatio. A good amount of my hair burned off, down to maybe 1/4 inch. Should I expect my hair to grow back? I'm a bit sad because I had very long healthy, thick hair. Now, It's noticeable that the volume is significantly less.

6th February, 2017 at 11:05 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Emme, did you see your doctor yet regarding the burning sensation? If your scalp was not burned, which it sounds like it wasn't from what you say here, then your hair should regrow naturally.

27th March, 2017 at 9:56 pm

leon t hopewell

i cut a little skin on the top on my head from my bunk bed and it left a scar there.

2nd April, 2017 at 9:14 am

Kovács András

I went to a laser surgeon who removed an atheroma at my left eyebrow.The surgeon basically burnt it out.After 3 weeks it healed,and left an atrophic scar. I used a dermaroller to help on that.Now it's 2 months after the surgery,and the atrophic scar is completelly gone(after 3 uses of dermarolling),but the hair didn't start to regrow yet. The skin is a bit still red there,and it looks like the skin which has a graze scar. Here is a picture of my eyebrow : http://imgur.com/a/ILEkF At the red part it's completelly bald,only the surrounding skin has hair leaning over it. I'm 17,is there a chance for hair to regrow ?

3rd April, 2017 at 10:06 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Kovacs, unfortunately we cannot help as we are specialists in scalp hair loss rather than eyebrows. This is something it is best to discuss with your surgeon or doctor as they will know the situation and be able to advise accordingly.

5th April, 2017 at 10:13 pm

Karan

I burnt my hair but not too much I am scared it might not grow back Can using a razor to remove my hair help it to grow back

6th April, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Karan, we cannot provide you with a diagnosis and recommendations based on just this information but shaving your head will generally have no influence on hair growth following burns. We recommend you seek personalised advice via a consultation with a hair loss specialist in order to find out what you can do to help grow your hair back.

29th April, 2017 at 2:20 am

hemant kumar

Sir my hair small lost amount for burn hair straightener one year can be come back my hair any treatment come back hair I feel very badly

2nd May, 2017 at 9:37 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Hemant, if the scalp was burned and scar tissue formed then it is unlikely the hair will grow back as the follicles will have been destroyed. If the burn was not that serious, however, there is every chance your hair will regrow. The advice above applies in your case too.

29th May, 2017 at 10:29 am

Shankar

Sir I have lost my hair by boil oil an accident when I was 4 year old can it possible that my hair grow back

30th May, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi, Shankar. If the burns caused scarring that has left you bald until now, it is safe to say that the hair will not regrow. This happens when the follicles are destroyed or permanently damaged.

31st May, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Don

Hi, I cut my hair short arny style the other day for the first time as ive been loosing hair steadily due to health issues. So i wanted to see how much i had lost by shaving it 2-3mm short. After that i went to the beach for a,couple of hours and i didbt think to put cream on my head and got burned. Next day it was uncimfortable and i had blisters, so before bedtime i was,adviced to put coconut oil to moisten the scalp. BaD advice. I woke up with my head feeling on fire and itching like crazy. I scratched all night long and had to run my head under cold water. Now my head is flaky and i see lots of balled patches. I dobt kniw what kind of degree this burn would be but im affraid my hair is gone 😞 what do you recon?

6th June, 2017 at 10:52 am

Jemma

Hi, I burnt my head on my straighteners the other day, I have a bald patch now!! the burn isn't bad just red and bit sore but no blister! Will my hair grow back?

6th June, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jemma. As long as the follicles aren't permanently scarred then your hair should grow back normally. It may take a few months but this is normal. If you don't see any signs of regrowth after three months you may want to speak to a specialist.

6th June, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Jemma

Ok thank you! I forgot to add that I'm only just a year into my remission and im a bit worried because it's all new hair that it might not come back! Should this make a difference?

7th June, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jemma, if you are in remission from cancer the hair should still grow back as long as the follicle is not damaged. This does mean, however, that if you decide to seek treatment to accelerate the regrowth process you will need a letter from your oncologist to confirm that you are suitable to be treated. We hope this helps.

8th June, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Don - here's a full response to your query. We hope you find this helpful.

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