Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia in Women Linked to Autoimmune Disease and Thyroid Abnormalities A

According to a new study, women with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia are more likely to suffer autoimmune disease as well as thyroid abnormalities. The results, published within the British Journal of Dermatology, provide specialists with a better idea of how to approach patient treatment.

Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed, as well delve deeper into what Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is.

Understanding the study

Phenotypic data was included from a total of 711 women in this latest study. Participants were of Eurasian ancestry, had an average age of 66 and had been diagnosed with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia.

The average duration of hair loss on the scalp was seven years. Around 73.2% of the women had experienced frontotemporal hairline recession after the menopause. A slightly higher 77.3% had perifollicular erythema and 26% experienced hyperkeratosis. Additionally, 90.6% of participants had suffered eyebrow loss and 44.5% experienced eyelash loss.

It was revealed that 20.7% of the women reported having an autoimmune disease. The most common, at 12.9%, was autoimmune thyroid disease. Other autoimmune issues reported included celiac disease at 1.5% and 1.2% pernicious anaemia. Interestingly, it also revealed that 71.2% of the women had taken an oral contraceptive pill for over six months.

So, a clear link between autoimmune diseases and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia was identified in the research. However, the study did have its limitations so further research is required to determine the extent of the link and whether treating the autoimmune condition will ultimately treat Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia.

What is Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia?

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFP) affects the front of the hairline in women. Usually, the condition comes on suddenly, although it can progress gradually in some patients.

When diagnosing the condition, hair loss in the eyebrows is a tell-tale sign. As the condition progresses, it isn’t uncommon to experience hair loss on the limbs of the body, as well as pubic hair loss.

The majority of women who develop FFP are post-menopausal women over the age of 50. Although rare, the condition can also develop in men, as well as pre-menopausal women.

How is FFP treated?

Patients who are diagnosed with FFP have limited treatment options. If the follicles of the hair have been damaged, the hair isn’t going to grow back.

Initially, oral corticosteroids tend to be prescribed to slow down the progression of the condition. Other drugs that have helped to slow FFP include Hydroxychloroquine and Finasteride. However, these are short term treatments that generally aren’t safe for long-term use.

Treatments tend to focus on stabilising the condition, rather than eliminating it completely. It is also important to ensure you receive an FFP diagnosis. There are lots of different types of hair loss and each requires a different treatment.

Overall, the latest research linking FFP to autoimmune conditions is useful for patients and specialists. Seeking treatment for autoimmune issues could prevent FFP from both developing and progressing. If you suspect you are suffering with FFP, book a consultation with a hair loss expert to identify the best course of treatment currently available.

COVID and Hair Loss Explained 

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant healthcare crisis we have faced in a generation and our understanding of the virus is constantly expanding. The virus is known to affect the respiratory system, but it also has a few surprising effects on the body you might not be aware of.

Some people are claiming the COVID outbreak has caused or accelerated their hair loss. So, can the virus really impact hair loss? Below, we’ll look at the link between the virus and hair loss and what could be causing the issue.

Is hair loss a side effect of the virus?

There have been several reports of patients suffering hair loss after they have beaten the virus. The American Actress, Alyssa Milano, has recently revealed she is experiencing clumps of hair loss as a result of COVID-19. Classing herself as a ‘long-hauler’, she has warned her fans to wear masks to protect others experiencing the same devastating effects.

Long-haulers are patients who have recovered from COVID-19, but they still experience symptoms months after. But can it really lead to hair loss? It certainly isn’t one of the main symptoms of the virus, although it has been listed as an issue on the COVID-19 Symptom Study app. It has over 400,000 users and hair loss has been mentioned as a side effect by numerous patients.

So, while it may not officially be a symptom, researchers are looking into the connection between Coronavirus and hair loss.

Why could Coronavirus cause hair loss?

The main reason some patients could be experiencing hair loss as a result of COVID-19, is because of the stress placed on the body. You’ll often see hair loss is a symptom of many chronic illnesses.

The virus is known to be particularly hard on the body. The stress caused while fighting the illness can lead to the hair shifting into its resting phase earlier than it usually would. Then, after a time the hair will shift to its shedding stage, resulting in a lot more hair being shed at one time.

This type of hair loss is officially known as telogen effluvium. The positive thing about it is that it is typically only temporary. Once the stress of the illness has passed, the hair will start to recover and regrow. It will usually take six to twelve months for the hair to get back to normal without any form of treatment.

What treatments are available?

While hair loss relating to COVID-19 is only temporary, it can understandably be distressing for patients. If you want the hair to grow back quicker, or to reduce the amount of hair shed, there are treatments available.

A hair specialist can prescribe temporary hair loss treatments such as topical Minoxidil. This will help to slow down the rate of hair loss, as well as encourage new hair growth. However, before starting any form of treatment, it’s important to establish the true cause.

There are different types of hair loss so yours may not necessarily be caused by the coronavirus. Determining the cause will help you to seek the most effective treatment option.

Dr David Fenton comments on the haircare industry in MoneyWeek

The haircare market is big business, generating $500 billion a year in global sales. Alongside haircare products, there is also the contribution of the drug and biotech sectors that are searching for treatments that could slow down hair loss – or, the holy grail, cure baldness for good.

In the past, age-related hair loss might have been seen as inevitable, but now pharmaceutical companies are working hard to find a medical solution and hair loss expert Dr David Fenton recently spoke to MoneyWeek, Britain’s bestselling financial magazine, about potential new developments.

Currently, the two main treatments for hair loss are Minoxidil (also known as rogaine) and Finasteride (propecia). As David comments, these products can “significantly slow down the rate of hair loss” but once you stop taking them then hair loss “will immediately resume”. They also come with some potential side effects because they affect hormone production and they are limited in their ability to regrow hair that has already been lost.

As a results, David often sees patients that decide not to start treatment after they have consulted with him. He believes that patients would be more “particularly open to a one-off treatment, as well as one that doesn’t involve hormones” and, if such a treatment was found, boosting the hair loss sector even further.

New hair loss treatments

David explained to MoneyWeek that the two drugs he was most enthusiastic for are Dutasteride, originally developed by
GlaxoSmithKline, and Clascoterone, developed by Cassiopea and Intrepid Therapeutics, particularly the latter.

Clascoterone was originally designed as an acne treatment but has now been repurposed as a hair loss drug after studies showed that it increased hair density. With no impact on hormone levels, side effects are minimal. The drug entered late-stage trials at the end of last year.

If you would like more advice on the hair loss treatment options that are available, call on 020 7580 8356 to arrange a consultation.

How Severe is My Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a common condition in men, often caused by genetics and known as Androgenetic Alopecia or Male Pattern Baldness. Over half of men will develop it at some time in their lives. In order to treat the problem, it’s important to understand how advanced the hair loss is.

There are differing levels of severity of Male Pattern Baldness. In order to aid with diagnosis, The Norwood Scale was introduced. Here, you’ll discover more about the Norwood Scale and how it is used to determine the severity of hair loss in men.

What is the Norwood Scale?

The Norwood Scale is used to measure the different stages of male pattern baldness. It was actually introduced back in the 1950s, but it was significantly improved in the 1970s. It covers seven different stages of baldness, allowing doctors and specialists to assess the severity of the condition. More about each stage can be found below.

Norwood Scale for MPB

Stage 1 – The first stage is known as the control stage. Patients still have a full head of hair with very little signs of a receding hairline or hair thinning.

Stage 2 – In stage two, the hair will be slightly receding, usually around the temple area.

Stage 3 – Hair loss starts to become more noticeable by stage three. It will be more noticeable at the side of the head and the hairline could represent an M, V or U shape. If there is also hair loss on the top of the head at this stage, it is often referred to as stage three vertex.

Stage 4 – At this stage, the hair loss will be significant. When seen from above, the hairline may resemble more of a U shape due to further receding of the hairline. The bald spot on the top of the head, if there is one, will also appear larger.

Stage 5 – In stage five, the hair loss pattern will be similar to that in stage four, only more severe. There is a strip of hair between the bald spot on the crown of the head and the hairline. However, the hair will be noticeably thinner.

Stage 6 – Patients in stage six will mostly be bald on both the top and front of the head. There isn’t any strip of hair between the bald spot and the receding hairline. Hair may still be present on the sides of the head.

Stage 7 – In the final stage, the hair loss will start to impact the side of the head. The hair will also be very thin and new hair grows back thinner and weaker.

How is Female Pattern Baldness assessed?

Women can also be affected by Androgenetic Alopecia, although women typically experience a different pattern of hair loss and the Ludwig Scale was devised to classify female hair loss.

The Ludwig Scale uses three different ‘types’ to diagnose the severity of hair loss:

Ludwig Scale for Female Pattern Baldness

Type I – in this stage the hair loss is considered mild and the frontal hairline typically isn’t affected so it can often be difficult to notice that hair loss is happening. Thinning usually occurs on the top and front of the head.

Type II – this stage is more moderate hair loss and women can become aware of more shedding and thinning of the hair with an overall decrease in volume. The central parting may begin to widen.

Type III – this is the most extreme stage of female hair loss and the thinning across the scalp has become so pronounced that the scalp is highly visible.

These guides can be used to assess the degree of hair which has already been lost, the potential for further hair loss in the future and the best course of treatment to be advised.

Hair and Scalp Conditions Affecting Black Women

Hair and scalp conditions are common to us all, but did you know some tend to affect certain ethnicities more than others? For example, black women are more at risk of developing some types of hair and scalp conditions due to the genetic make-up of the hair.

Here, we’ll look at some of the most common hair and scalp conditions affecting black women and how you can prevent and treat them.

Psoriasis of the scalp

Linked to the immune system, Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects the scalp. In those with darker skin, it causes silver/grey scales to develop. Typically, the condition is treated with creams or lotions. However, in black women, the structure of the hair can make this difficult.

There are ointments available which can help, and for milder cases washing regularly with a medicated shampoo can work wonders. However, before attempting any treatments it’s important to have the severity of the condition diagnosed.

Psoriasis of the scalp is more prevalent in white women. However, if it does occur in black women, it can be more difficult to treat.

Traction alopecia

Extensions and wigs are commonly worn by black women, but unfortunately, they can lead to an issue with traction alopecia. This is a temporary form of hair loss which largely occurs around the hairline.

In order to treat the condition, you will need to potentially take your braids or extensions out if they have been fitted too tightly. Experiment with different styles, ensuring they are comfortable and not too tight.

If some degree of hair loss has occurred, temporary treatments such as Minoxidil can prove effective at quickly repairing the damage.

Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia

Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia or CCCA is a form of scarring hair loss that often results in permanent hair loss and black women are more prone to developing this condition, although it can affect anyone. The exact cause is not known and is likely to be a combination of factors, including genetics, infections or autoimmune disease.

Hair loss usually begins in the mid-scalp and extends outwards. The scalp may appear shiny as the hair roots scar over. Some sufferers may not experience any other symptoms, but tenderness, itching and burning are common. Once diagnosed, the aim of treatment is to halt the progression of the disease and prevent further hair loss – once scarring of the scalp occurs, regrowth is usually impossible.

How to prevent and treat hair and scalp conditions

If you are experiencing a hair or scalp condition, it’s important to get it diagnosed. There are so many different types of hair loss and scalp issues, and you’ll need to know which one you have before you can get it treated.

Preventing scalp and hair problems isn’t always possible. However, following a healthy lifestyle and making sure you’re using the right products can help. You’ll also find it useful to seek treatment as early as possible too. This will prevent it from getting worse and clear the problem up quickly.

If you’re worried about a hair or scalp condition, book a consultation with a dermatologist that specialises in treating hair and scalp conditions.

Stem Cell Treatment Offers Hope for Hair Loss Sufferers

In a recent study, scientists have successfully managed to grow hair in mice using human stem cells. This has provided hope that a cure for baldness could be on the way.

The American scientists used skin organoids taken from stem cells. These small tissue cultures are able to create multiple layers of skin tissue which contain hair follicles. Here, we’ll look at this latest study and what it means for hair loss sufferers around the world.

Understanding the study

The study was carried out at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The skin-like structures were developed within the lab, then grafted onto the mice. Growth factors were added to the cells, alongside proteins that are known to stimulate hair growth.

It took five months in incubation for hair to start to appear. As well as hair follicles, the skin structures also developed nerves, sebaceous glands and muscle. The only thing not found in the grown cells were immune cells.

To make sure the grafts weren’t rejected, immunodeficient mice were used for the study. It was discovered that 55% of the mice saw between two and five millimetres of hair growth.

Other studies also find stem cell treatment effective

The latest study carried out on mice isn’t the only one to suggest stem cell treatment could be the answer for baldness. A new South Korean study has also shown stem cells could work as a potential baldness cure.

This study focused on human volunteers which were given an adipose-derived stem cell constituent extract topical solution (ADSCS). A total of 38 volunteers took part in the 16-week trial. After eight weeks, there was an increase in the amount of hair growth experienced. Not only did the solution increase hair growth, but it also improved density too.

Could stem cells be the future of hair loss treatment?

There have been a number of studies carried out in recent years which have shown stem cells to be a viable hair loss treatment. As they are natural, there is less chance of them being rejected by the body.

The fact scientists can now grow full skin structures within a laboratory environment is also an exciting development. It means hair can continuously be grown within a laboratory without the need for it to be harvested from humans. This gives specialists a potential lifetime supply of hair that can be used on patients.

It is important to note that stem cell research is still in its early stages. Further research will need to be carried out to involve larger patient numbers. Research has also so far been focused on treating androgenetic hair loss. There are different types of hair loss patients can suffer from. So, even if stem cells are a potential cure for baldness, they won’t be available as a treatment for all patients.

The stem cell research is the most successful so far in terms of finding a potential cure for baldness. It will be exciting to see how it advances and whether it could help to create the first-ever020 7580 8356 cure for baldness.

Hair Loss Treatments: Why Natural Isn’t Always Best

Hair loss is an extremely common issue for both men and women. While in many cases it is a natural sign of ageing, it doesn’t stop it from affecting confidence and self-esteem.

Losing your hair can be devastating, with many stating it has had a significant negative impact on their quality of life. Hair loss treatments, particularly hair transplant surgery, can prove expensive, so it’s not uncommon for sufferers to turn to natural methods to treat it.

The trouble is these natural treatments are very rarely successful. Here, we’ll look at why natural isn’t always best when it comes to hair loss treatment.

Majority of natural treatments don’t work

A new study carried out in the US has revealed the majority of natural hair loss treatments don’t work. The University of California looked into the effectiveness of 20 different alternative treatments. These included garlic, rosemary oil, caffeine, vitamin D, massage and turmeric.

While most were found to have no scientific evidence to back up their claims, some did show a little more promise. Rosemary oil, for example, showed initial promise in the study but researchers say further investigation is required. Onion juice was one of the more promising natural treatments and it is thought that sulfur and phenolic compounds cause an irritant contact dermatitis, stimulating hair regrowth through antigenic competition.

Some of the natural treatments that didn’t work include garlic oil, Vitamin D, massage and turmeric. Vitamin D did initially show promise, but further research debunked its claims.

The problem with leaving hair loss untreated

While some natural treatments did show some signs of improvement, larger studies need to be undertaken. The trouble is, if those suffering from hair loss avoid traditional treatments, the problem could simply worsen over time. You could spend a lot of time trying out different natural alternatives only to experience zero results. In the meantime, you continue to experience hair loss.

You’ll also find that many treatments advertised as a natural remedy for hair loss aren’t all that they seem. The products are largely unregulated, which means they may contain ingredients that exacerbate the condition. You simply don’t know what you are applying to the hair.

What effective treatments are available?

Although it may be tempted to try natural treatments, it’s much better to seek proven treatment. If you are suffering from hair loss, there are a lot of different treatment options you can undergo.

For mild to moderate hair loss, medications such as Minoxidil can prove highly effective. The topical treatment slows down hair loss and, in many cases, can encourage new hair growth. However, it is largely designed to be used to slow down the progression of androgenetic hair loss, or to treat temporary forms of hair loss.

Hair transplants are another option for those experiencing more severe hair loss. However, treatment will ultimately be decided based on each patient’s individual needs. You will find out which treatment would be most effective for you during your consultation.

While there are no cures for hair loss, there are effective treatments and it’s essential to seek advice from a hair loss specialist.

Is Your Medication Causing Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a common condition experienced by both men and women. Did you know that there is a wide range of factors that can cause you to start losing your hair?

While genetics and age tend to be the biggest hair loss culprits, it can also be brought on by a change in medication. Some medicines are known to lead to hair loss, such as chemotherapy drugs. However, a wide range of drugs can contribute to excess hair shedding.

Below, you’ll discover how medication could be triggering your hair loss. You will also learn some of the signs to watch out for and why it’s important to seek a consultation.

The types of hair loss triggered by medications

There are two different types of medication-related hair loss you can experience. The first is Anagen effluvium and the second is Telogen effluvium.

With Anagen effluvium, the changes in the hair will begin quite quickly after taking medication. It causes active hair to fall out and it most commonly affects those that are taking chemotherapy drugs.

Telogen effluvium can also be triggered by medication, although it can take months for signs to start showing. In this type of hair loss, the resting hair begins to fall out and it can be caused by a wide range of medications.

Which medications can lead to hair loss?

There are a lot of medications which can lead to hair loss. The majority trigger Telogen effluvium. The main types of drugs which can lead to this form of hair loss include:

  • Beta blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Birth control pills
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood thinners
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Steroids

These are just some types of medication with links to Telogen effluvium hair loss. If you are suffering with Anagen effluvium, the main medications which trigger the condition are chemotherapy drugs. However, in rare cases, it can be triggered my medications which contain boric acid, thallium, arsenic and bismuth.

As drug-induced hair loss can be triggered by a wide range of medications, it’s important to undergo an assessment to see which of your medications could be causing the problem.

How drug-induced hair loss is diagnosed

In order to diagnose drug-induced hair loss, a full medical assessment will need to be undertaken. They will look into any recent medications you have started which could be triggering the hair loss. They will also assess any changes in doses to medications you are taking, alongside whether you have been ill recently. Your family’s history of hair loss will also be looked into to see if it could be genetic related.

As well as going over your medical history, the doctor may also carry out various tests. These include scalp analysis, the hair pull test, blood tests and a scalp biopsy.

How can you treat the problem?

If your hair loss is caused by medication, if possible, you will be told to stop taking it. You may need to switch to a different medication, or have your dosage altered. In cases where chemotherapy drugs are causing the hair loss, you will need to wait until you have completed treatment. The hair loss should naturally resolve itself once the medication is out of the system, but there are a number of treatments that can help restore hair growth and reverse thinning if required.

If you suspect your hair loss is caused by medication, seeking advice from your doctor is the first step you should take. There are many causes of hair loss so it is important to get to the bottom of the problem prior to seeking treatment.

Dealing with Stress-Related Hair Loss

Have you recently noticed a change in your hair? If so, it could be down to the increased levels of stress due to the coronavirus. Indeed researchers at University College of London have already carried out a large-scale survey of 80,000 adults in England and have found a sharp increase in stress levels.

Stress is known to have a direct impact on the hair, leading to issues with thinning and hair loss.

During these unprecedented times, more people than ever before are suffering from increased levels of chronic stress. So, how does stress impact the hair and how can you deal with it if you do suffer from this type of hair loss?

The link between stress and hair loss

High levels of stress can have a devastating impact on the body. It is known to weaken the immune system, cause the muscles to tense up, and raise blood sugar levels. Stress literally changes the way the body functions, including its cells. Unfortunately, hair cells are not immune to the effects of stress and too much of it can trigger temporary hair loss.

The hair loss caused by stress is known as telogen effluvium. This is a more wide-spread type of hair loss that occurs on the scalp. Stress causes internal disturbances within the body, including forcing more hair into the shedding phase.

When you’re stressed, you also don’t tend to look after yourself as much as usual. Poor diet, lack of sleep and skipping meals altogether can all exasperate the problem. The hair is considered a non-essential part of the body. So, when there are nutritional deficiencies caused by a poor diet, the body sends them to the most essential organs and tissues first.

This leaves the hair lacking in nutrients, increasing hair loss and thinning.

High levels of stress are also known to contribute to alopecia areata. Although the exact cause isn’t known, most sudden cases tend to be triggered by a stressful event such as a bereavement or accident.

Can you prevent stress-related hair loss?

The only way to prevent stress-related hair loss is to avoid increased levels of stress. This isn’t always possible, particularly if the stress is caused by an unforeseen event like an accident. However, if you can get into a routine of adding relaxation techniques to your day, it could potentially limit the severity of stress-related hair loss.

How to deal with hair loss caused by stress

The good news about stress-related hair loss is that it is usually only temporary. However, while it will typically clear up by itself, there are some things you can do to speed the process along.

Ensuring you eat a proper diet and stay hydrated will help to protect the hair during periods of stress. However, the most effective method of speeding up the hair’s recovery is by lowering your stress levels. This includes participating in relaxing activities such as yoga, reading and breathing exercises.

There are also temporary treatments available to help speed up hair recovery. These include topical treatments such as Minoxidil.

If you suspect your hair loss could be down to stress, you should seek advice from a hair loss specialist. There are many different causes of hair loss and each requires its own type of treatment.  Book a consultation today to determine the cause and best treatment to clear up the problem.

Alopecia Areata Treatment Get FDA Breakthrough Therapy Status

Alopecia areata is considered the most severe type of hair loss experienced. At present, there is no cure for the condition which affects millions of people. However, Lilly’s Olumiant has recently been given breakthrough status by the FDA for its potential new alopecia areata drug option.

The breakthrough status was provided for the JAK inhibitor, Olumiant in the treatment of alopecia areata. The treatment is most commonly used to treat arthritis patients, but it has shown promising results in studies for alopecia areata.

Here, we’ll look at the new potential treatment for the condition and what it could mean for patients.

Why has Lilly’s alopecia areata drug given breakthrough status?

The breakthrough status given to Lilly’s Olumiant was granted after the success of its stage 2 trial. The treatment was first approved for use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis back in 2018 in the US and is currently used in 6 different countries.

However, Olumiant hasn’t achieved the level of success it could have done due to the fact it was only approved in low 2mg doses. There are also warnings on its label for the risk of blood clots, infections and cancer.

The treatment was discovered to have potential benefits to Alopecia Areata patients in its current trials. These were carried out with higher 4mg doses of the drug and have so far revealed promising results.

Understanding the latest studies

The latest ongoing trial is now in its stage 3 process. The FDA granted approval of Olumiant after the stage 2 test results were revealed.

Patients with severe or very severe alopecia areata were given the drug for 36 weeks. There were 725 patients involved in the study. Some were given a 2mg dose, others were given a 4mg dose and then a final group were given placebo treatment.

Interim results reveal that there were no additional safety implications of taking the higher dose. Only a small number of mild side effects were identified, such as acne and upper respiratory tract infections.

Stage 3 has now begun and it includes an additional pivotal study made up of 476 patients. If it turns out to show positive results, the findings will be released in 2021.

What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an auto-immune condition, caused when the immune system starts attacking its own cells. It tends to start during childhood, though it can occur at any age.

The condition causes patches of hair loss and in severe cases, total baldness. There is no cure for this type of hair loss, though there are some effective treatments to manage it. The majority of cases are treated with strong corticosteroid drugs which are known to have side effects when used in the long term. So, this latest study could prove life-changing if Olumiant proves to be a successful treatment option.

There are different types of hair loss and Alopecia Areata is known to be the most severe. It can cause a lot of distress to patients, so a new potential treatment would prove life-changing.