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What is Hot Comb Alopecia?


Hot Comb Alopecia, also known as Central Progressive Alopecia or Follicular Degeneration Syndrome, is a type of scarring Alopecia which affects around 3% of those experiencing hair loss and is most commonly observed in black people, particularly black women. The cause of the condition remains unknown although it’s thought that emotional stress and lifestyle choices, such as lack of sleep and poor diet, can be contributing factors.

Hot Comb Alopecia aka Follicular Degeneration Syndrome + Traction Alopecia Hair Loss treated by The Belgravia Centre

Hot Comb Alopecia aka Follicular Degeneration Syndrome + Traction Alopecia Hair Loss treated by The Belgravia Centre

Changing times

Follicular Degeneration Syndrome was first discovered in black African-American women in the 1960s. At the time, the condition was thought to be caused by frequent use of oil pomades and hot combs, used to straighten natural Black hair. These oils, when applied to the comb, liquefied and dribbled along hair fibres, into the hair follicles. As a result, the skin around the follicle became inflamed, which led to patchy, diffuse hair loss. Today, we know that the condition can occur without the use of any cosmetic procedures, which is why Hot Comb Alopecia is more commonly referred to as Follicular Degeneration Syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Follicular Degeneration Syndrome?

The condition usually presents itself as a well-defined patch of hair loss. Whilst it may start off small, this patch can slowly expand over time. Affected hair follicles become inflamed and tenderness is not uncommon; there may even be noticeable redness and pustules in the scarred area, depending on the sensitivity of the skin. Hot Comb Alopecia occurs most commonly in women in their 20s, and left untreated, can progress over a period of 20 to 30 years, causing further hair loss. By seeking diagnosis and treatment promptly, the spread of the condition can be prevented.

Can Follicular Degeneration Syndrome be treated?

If you think you may be experiencing hair loss due to Follicular Degeneration Syndrome, a hair loss specialist can confirm or eliminate this diagnosis. A bespoke hair loss treatment programme can provide a combination of treatments that will help hair grow back from those follicles which are still functional. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further degeneration of hair follicles, as it’s unlikely that hair follicles will recover once scarring has occurred.

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 diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation. Visit our Hair Loss Success Stories for the most extensive online collection of hair loss patient progress images anywhere in the world, which will give you an idea of the kinds of results our clients experience.

Online Consultation

Submit an instant online consultation so that one of Belgravia’s hair loss specialists can diagnose your condition and recommend an effective course of treatment, wherever you live.