The results of a survey involving 205 women which set out to try and understand possible causes of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia suggest links between the hair loss condition and certain beauty products.
The study, which was carried out by the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, involved 105 women with the condition – which manifests itself as a receding hairline all the way around the front of the scalp, not just at the temples. The remaining 100 were women of a matching age who were used as a control so that findings from the two groups could be compared.
Sunscreen use “significantly greater”
The team’s results, published in the British Journal Of Dermatology, could prove significant, as the findings revealed that the use of sunscreens by the women with the hair loss disorder was “significantly greater” than the other group. Additionally, the Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA) subjects tended to use moisturisers and foundations more frequently than the control group – though “the difference in frequencies failed to achieve statistical significance compared with controls.”
FFA is a type of Scarring Alopecia, also known as Cicatricial Alopecia, a hair loss condition which describes hair loss brought on by an inflammation of the scalp which goes on to destroy hair follicles. Scarring ensues, and as a result this causes permanent hair loss as new hair cannot grow.
What differentiates FFA from other forms of Cicatricial Alopecia is that it uniquely affects the hairline at the front of the head, sometimes causing the loss of up to five inches of hair in a band around the whole of the front of the scalp.
Its causes are not completely understood, though many scientists believe it to be the result of the immune system attacking hair follicles. There is also suggestion that it may be influenced by hormones, as a significant number of people with the condition are post-menopausal women.
The Royal Hallamshire Hospital study found that the use of oral contraceptives, hair colouring materials, facial hair removers and the frequency of hair shampooing were all significantly lower in the FFA group than in the control group. However, thyroid disease was more prevalent among the FFA group, which also had a high frequency of positive patch tests, which the Sheffield team said was mainly to fragrances.
“Our findings suggest an association between FFA and the use of facial skin care products,” state the team in their conclusions. Many facial skin care products now contain sunscreens, they point out, and this, they say, “raises the possibility of a causative role for sunscreen chemicals.”
New lines of discussion
The results open up new lines of discussion about FFA and who might be at risk, and if nothing else they seem to suggest that it might be good idea to thoroughly wash off or avoid leave-on facial products if you’re female and have suddenly noticed your hairline starting to raise.
An even better option would be to visit a specialist hair loss clinic so that a professional diagnosis can be made. There are multiple conditions that can lead to hair loss, and speculating that changing face-cream will “sort you out” is possibly not the most sensible thing to do.
Many hair loss conditions including common forms of shedding in women such as Female Pattern Hair Loss and Traction Alopecia can be effectively treated with medically-proven products. The earlier you seek help, the better so if you are concerned about thinning hair, an increase in or sudden hair fall, the best thing to do is to visit a hair loss specialist nurse who will diagnose you. Where appropriate they will also guide you through your options, providing bespoke treatment recommendations to help get your hair back to its full potential.
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.