Is There a Possibility of Hair Growth After Hair Loss From Burns?'

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Question: 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

Answer: Hi there. Unfortunately it is unlikely that hair growth will occur as, in burns cases such as this, the hair loss is often permanent due to a condition called scarring alopecia - also known as cicatricial alopecia.

This happens when the hair follicles are destroyed or weakened so severely that they stop functioning and can no longer produce hair. If the scalp takes on a smooth, shiny appearance where it was burnt, this is a sign of permanent baldness. Hair loss treatment requires active follicles in order to stimulate regrowth so is futile in these cases.

Sorry not to have better news for your cousin but there are treatments being developed that may potentially help this type of hair loss in the future. For now though, and most likely for the next few years, there are no effective means of treating hair loss where scar tissue is involved.

We would recommend caution in wearing the hair in a ponytail too often as this can stress the follicles, causing further hair loss from the condition traction alopecia. Perhaps your cousin could speak to her hairdresser to get some suggestions for looser hairstyles and cuts that may help to disguise her bald patch without causing so much strain to her hair follicles. Although traction alopecia treatment is available, this hair loss condition is fully preventable so - particularly if your cousin is already sensitive about her hair loss - it is worth looking into a range of styles she can alternate in order to avoid this happening.

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