Can Hair Loss from Scalp Burns Be Treated?'

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Question: My hair burn occurred in a doctors office when I was mistaken 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?

Answer: Hi, Javier. There could be three or four different reasons for the hair loss you describe.

despair-depressed-stressFirstly, this experience must have been fairly traumatic for you and that can trigger excessive hair shedding from around three months after the incident occurred. This can be mild - Telogen Effluvium - in which case you will experience thinning hair from all over your scalp for up to six months. Or, it can go on for a minimum of six months if it is Chronic. The hair growth can be accelerated with personalised telogen effluvium treatment courses. However, if your scalp was burnt and scar tissue has formed it is unlikely any of the hair that you have shed will grow back in these areas.

This type of hair loss occurs when the follicles have been destroyed, often due to scalp inflammation from burns, radiation or certain illnesses. It is known as cicatricial alopecia (or scarring alopecia) and is a permanent hair loss condition which cannot be treated. The reason pharmaceutical hair loss treatments are highly unlikely to work if your scalp is scarred, is that the follicles need to be alive and active in order for these to be effective.

It is perhaps worth speaking with a specialist hair transplant surgeon about these areas as, in some cases, a restoration procedure is possible. It very much depends on the size of and level of trauma to the areas affected, as well as the quality of donor hair available from elsewhere on the scalp.

Another possibility is something called chemical trauma. If the burns were fairly low level - where the skin does not become scar tissue and did not destroy the hair follicles, there is a chance they can be stimulated through treatment. It is possible to have both chemical trauma and telogen effluvium or chronic telogen effluvium at the same time and, in these instances, a dedicated treatment course can be tailored to address both at once.

Lastly, if the shedding is coming from the top of your scalp, it could be due to Male Pattern Baldness. You may not have noticed this prior to the accident, or if you experienced temporary stress-related hair loss this can trigger or exacerbate genetic thinning if you already had a predisposition towards this hereditary condition. Male hair loss treatment can be extremely effective in stabilising hair fall and promoting regrowth.

To find out precisely what is causing your shedding we recommend you obtain a personal diagnosis from a hair loss specialist. They can then make informed recommendations as to any treatment and provide hair loss advice as to the most suitable course of action to take. They can also refer you to a reputable hair transplant clinic if this is something you decide you would like to investigate further.

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