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Female Hair Loss through Pseudopelade

PseudopeladePseudopelade is an extremely rare hair loss condition which mainly affects women.  The gender ratio for sufferers is three women to every man. It’s not known why Pseudopelade is overwhelmingly a women’s hair loss condition, but then that seems to be par for the course with this condition, which is still shrouded in mystery.

This form of hair loss is also known as Alopecia Cicatrisata and is a form of scarring alopecia. The name Pseudopelade is taken from the French word for Alopecia, “pelade”, reflecting the history of the condition. It was discovered by a French dermatologist, Louis-Anne-Jean Brocq, and for this reason is also referred to as “Pseudopelade of Brocq”.

Alopecia Cicatrisata is an ill-defined condition which is frequently mistaken for other hair loss conditions, such as Lupus and the little-known Lichen Planopilaris. In the latter case it is so similar that several medical experts argue that Pseudopelade and Lichen Planopilaris are in fact the same condition.

Diagnosing hair loss through Pseudopelade

To achieve a positive diagnosis, a skin biopsy is usually required. Physical symptoms of Pseudopelade in the early stages of the condition include irregular shaped patches of alopecia which often tend to cluster around one particular area of the scalp, eventually blending into each other to cause extensive balding. Sufferers may also suffer from inflammation of the scalp which makes the skin across the skull appear redder than usual to the eye.

Pseudopelade is a degenerative condition that causes inflammation of the upper hair follicle, causing the follicles to shrink and, over time, cease to grow. The loss of hair progresses slowly, with many sufferers noticing higher levels of shedding for several years. Once it has reached its end-game, the condition simply stops. The results at this point can be anything from a patchy hair loss across the scalp to almost total baldness, with only individual strands of hair visible.

It tends to affect only scalp hair and, as with all scarring alopecias, usually leaves skin looking slightly shiny where the hair follicles have ceased to regenerate. The characteristic inflammation that accompanies the condition, causing a pink-red colouring of the skin, ceases at the same time as the Pseudopelade, and exposed skin goes back to its normal colour.

Causes of Pseudopelade

There is no known cause for Pseudopelade and the jury remains divided over whether it is an auto-immune disorder or the result of genetics. There is a strong leaning towards it being auto-immune in nature, largely because of its similarities in presentation to auto-immune conditions such as Alopecia Areata. Pseudopelade is sometimes confused with Alopecia Areata, but is not the same clinically or practically. The two conditions attack different parts of the hair follicle and have entirely different life cycles.

As so little is known about Pseudopelade, both in general and specifically, there is no real course of treatment from a trichology point of view. If you are concerned about Pseduopelade then your first port of call should be your local GP who can confirm the diagnosis and start working with you to move forward with your condition.

13 Comments

24th January, 2011 at 3:13 am

Marian Jane

It's really scary how female hair loss can just hit any woman at any given time. Prevention is really better than cure, I mean look at that picture, I would definitely die if I have that.

6th March, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sue Knight

I was diagnosed with this condition back in 1999.I have a bald spot on the crown of my head that is almost identical in appearance to the photo shown.After almost 14 years of being dormant it is now active again and I have further hair loss on my hair line at the front and also at the sides near my ears.Luckily the hair I do have is thick and wavy so I can cover my baldness to a certain degree and I have a lovely hairdresser who cuts my hair in a particular style so that the top part falls forward to help cover my bald areas.I also have a coloured spray,the same shade as my hair to cover the whiteness of the scalp area. Re the comment above by Marian.Yes,it is a dreadful condition and it does knock your confidence for six but you do learn to cope.You have to face each day as it comes and remember if people make snide comments or snigger,they're the ones with the problem not you.

10th August, 2015 at 5:39 am

Lijo

Can anyone suggest me a solution for this decease. i am struggling from this for the last 8 years.

10th August, 2015 at 10:36 am

Sarah

Hi Lijo,

At present there is no truly effective hair loss treatment for pseudopelade, which is a kind of scarring alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia. There are currently trials underway into developing treatments for scarring alopecia but these may not be available for a few years. Keep an eye on our blog for updates on this, as they become available.

1st July, 2016 at 6:58 am

Serena

Hi , I am already one year that been diagnosed with Pseudopelade. Have you notices change in B12? Is anybody saw any difference if you increase Fe B12 Feritine? Is the Pseudopelade linked to stress? My doctor will say that not proven something like that. Hair will be fallen even without redness or itchiness ?

4th July, 2016 at 9:48 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Serena, We hope this answer to your query is helpful.

20th July, 2016 at 10:59 am

Rahul

I m 25yr old male with same disease from India. I have shown to best doctors here bt all offered same treatment ie topical steroids n steroidal tablets. Got my biopsy done to confirm the disease. Actually the immune system has malfunctioned n is attacking hair follicles n interpreting it as foreign body. So,it's kind of genetic mutation where certain genetic codes got disrupted n its function to control immune system malfunctioned. Present treatment is only for effects n not for cause becoz cause lies with genetic mutation n therefore treatment lies with genetic research where our genetic coding can be corrected. So immunosuppressents work only temporarily on effect bt nt the cause. Why treatment is nt coming out despite so much advancement is becoz it's rarest of rare disease. Had substantial population got affected we cud see faster research in it today. Bt unfortunately not so we are left with suffering. Sometimes I feel depressed as its mark on personality bt in the end we have to accept it. No other way out. Stand n fight against it. Allopathy has no treatment. Do let me know if treatment comes for this problem. I am not able to focus on other things in lyf. Its strongest cause of concern for me.

23rd August, 2016 at 11:55 am

Serena

Hi Sarah Belgravia , Thank you so much for your response.. and Rahul i totally feel you. Is a constant thinking. When i am happy i will just notice a hair of my on my leg and be sad again. I even feel guilty for feeling happy and i am not taking more serious the disease. I know that this will change all my life soon as soon will be visible from all people on the street and i will see the reactions. I am afraid that i will close to my self and never leave my place. Is anybody made any diet ? have anyone tried something apart from medicine? I found that making a good diet the itchiness have been reduced a lot and have only some points active. But i feel that hair continue to fall. Even if a well known doctor specialized on immune hair diseases claims that this doesn't happen. :( I am staring to loose hope..

2nd November, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Safa

Im facing this disease for last 2 years almost And got married before 8 months i can not explain how much im in pain facing this disease luckily i have black kind of powder which i use on effected area while combing my hairs After shower this is very visible so i wait my hubby to go outside then i go to take shower and dry my hairs very quickly to cover it This is very painful I'm newly married and a fear still keeps irritating that the powder is still on a place or flew away :'( Most of my hairs have fallen I'm praying just praying if any doctor tells me any treatment, otherwise they have clearly said your hairs won't grow again Allah please help me :'(

6th November, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Saf

I'm facing this disease for last one year and half of my hairs have fallen larges patches are easily seen and very much prominent.. Luckily I have got a black powder which help me to hide it :'( but the fear is anytime anywhere I can flew away.. Before 6 month I got married and now they falling in very speed .. Doctor have truly told me that your lost hairs won't come back.. I only pray to God for a help I can't handle with this please I request doctors and others to find any proper medicine and treatments for pseudopelade a horrible disease ..

7th November, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Saf. Unfortunately there is no cure or treatment available for pseudopelade. It is a permanent condition and a form of scarring alopecia which destroys the hair follicles so hair growth cannot occur. The only option for hair restoration in these cases is to find out from a reputable specialist whether you are suitable for a hair transplant operation. Otherwise cosmetic options such as wigs or hair pieces can be helpful. We hope this is useful to you and sorry the news is not better.

18th May, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Nadine

Writing here, if only because others will understand what I have been going through. I was first diagnosed 13 years ago, after at least a year complaining about a chronically itchy and burning scalp. The disease was active for 5 years, making slow progress(ha), then dormant for 5. Three years ago, after an extremely stressful episode, it started again and with a vengeance. In fact in the moment of shock, I felt acid course up my spine and onto my scalp. Within seconds, my scalp was burning and sore. The next morning I had a new bald patch. Since then, the burning, itchiness and pain has at times been unbearable. It can make me cry. (so much for those that describe PoB as a painless condition). I've tried going sugar free, gluten free etc. I haven't adopted this as a lifestyle but certainly 7 - 8 weeks at a time on the diet has had no discernible effect which is discouraging. This time round the diseasec advances far more quickly than before which is frightening. I do believe in metaphysical causes of disease and I am sure there is an emotional/psychological/spiritual component to the disease. I don't want to be beaten by it but I must say that it tests me to my limit. I deal with it by a) ignoring it as best I can and b) telling myself every day and with conviction that this is the last of it. Earlier today, I had acupuncture for a different issue and fluke or otherwise, this is the first day that I haven't wanted to tear my scalp out in weeks and weeks. Now, I am watching developments in stem cell therapies with interest. I'd sign up if I thought it could help. My deepest sympathies to anyone else dealing with PoB. I know the courage it takes xx

9th November, 2017 at 9:48 am

monica

I am also facing the same problem from last 12 years. Waiting for some positive hopes and get the treatment done.

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