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Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, discovered only recently in hair loss terms in 1994, is also known as Scarring Alopecia or Cicatricial Alopecia and has a distinctive clinical pattern of hair loss characterised by progressive recession of the hairline at the front and sides of the scalp. Women who suffer from this condition often say their hair loss follows a similar pattern to a symmetrical band. It may begin at the ears and then move upwards towards the hairline. It tends to be more common in post-menopausal paler skin women and can be a very gradual process. In most case this condition causes the loss of eyebrow hair and can thin eyelashes.

What FFA looks like

Jenny showing the full effects of FFA

FFA before Intralace

Jenny after application of the Intralace System and natural hair line

Likely Causes and treatment for FFA

Scientists believe that Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is a direct result of the immune system attacking an individual’s hair follicles, which causes inflammation. This in turn damages the follicle. As the majority of women with FFA have been through the menopause, it is thought that there may be a hormonal link. Frontal fibrosing alopecia is thought to be a variant of lichen planopilaris.

When choosing a treatment it is important to remember that FFA is an irreversible process with a slow course although in some cases it may stabilise after a few years. Currently there is no clearly defined line of treatment. Topical treatments such as steroid gels or creams may be prescribed and a course of antibiotics may help reduce inflammation. Please consult your GP.

Disguising the Effects

The Intralace System™ effectively disguises the areas of hair loss and when used in conjunction with our revolutionary Natural Hair Line Parting and Natural Hair Line Sides then we can recreate the clients hair line. It is undetectable to the human eye. The Intralace System can be integrated with the clients own natural hair immediately behind the affected areas and we use sections of a medical grade tape to secure the immediate front hair line and sides.

FFA before Intralace

Close-up of the natural hair line

Dr Vicky Joliffe describes FFA

‘Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is a relatively newly described cause of hair loss which has only been recognised over the past 15-20 years.the cause is not known but research worldwide is currently being undertaken to investigate any precipitating causes.

It typically affects peri-menopausal or menopausal women and presents usually with the frontal margin hairline slowly moving backwards. The eyebrows may also become sparser or even disappear. There may be some redness and scaling around the emerging hairs.

Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medication, and/or steroid injections.

Lichen planopilaris is a rare cause of scarring hair loss typically associated with scalp itch or soreness. Redness and scaling of the scalp are common features.

Diagnosis requires a scalp biopsy for confirmation and treatment by a dermatologist is required’

Jenny's Story

Our client Jenny was disillusioned by the lack of medical advice regarding Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia and after years of struggling with the appearance of her hair she decided to visit us for a consultation.

‘Having hair again reminds me of when I first tried on a pair of spectacles. In that initial moment the shock of seeing everything so clearly only highlighted what I have been missing.

My own hair loss from Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia was fairly gradual and I chose to ignore it in the weird belief that it would somehow rectify itself. It was only when a few members of my family began to tease me about it that I allowed myself become fully conscious of my new reality.

Then I tried most of the treatments known to man, there was even a period when I managed to convince myself that they were helping, but as the old saying goes ‘there is none so blind as those that don’t wish to see’. My condition worsened, I tried combing what hair I had left over my receding hair line in the mistaken belief that it looked alright. My family no longer demanded that I stand at the front of the line for family photos and I became a background figure both mentally and physically.

My doctor recommended a consultant that might help me. It seemed obvious to me that there had to be some hormone in my body that was not working correctly, therefore if we could isolate it then it could be repaired, and my hair would grow back. Simple to my mind but the consultant just made me feel that I was a vain old woman who was wasting his time, at my age I should just accept it as my lot and move on with my life. So I decided that is what I would do, after all I had no serious health problems and a good life, therefore I should be grateful.

What FFA looks like

Jenny enjoying her new hair

Despite the fact that this was not a physically life threatening problem I never realised that my psyche was dying, disappearing into a reclusive grey depression.

My ‘Ahha’ moment came for me when I read an article by Sara Vine who had been to Lucinda Ellery for a treatment for thinning hair and was ecstatic about her results.

I mulled over her article for a few days, confident that I was OK, I had accepted the new me, but something, an inner voice, made me phone up and make an appointment. Over the weeks between the phone call and my appointment I changed my mind so many times. The big question was ‘should I stay or should I go?’ Was I being vain and prideful to want to look better?

With much encouragement from my family and friends I went and, as soon as Chris put the Natural Hair Line Parting on my head I remembered who I was, I almost cried. There I was, me, the real me. If he had offered to fix me there and then I would have had it done no hesitation and no qualms. I counted down the days until I had my hair. It was amazing afterwards I floated through town smiling at complete strangers.

What FFA looks like

Jenny with a more casual look

I have had my new hair for months now and I love it. I have regained most of my self-esteem and I am constantly surprised that I had never noticed the detrimental effect my negative feelings had had on my relationships with my husband, children, grandchildren and friends, actually, everyone, but now I’m trying to improve relationships becoming involved in events and be in the front of photographs!! Instead of clothes that would help me disappear I have a new smart wardrobe that shouts ‘Hey look at me, look at my great hair!’

 

Jenny’s husband says:

“Apart from, now, taking ages to get ready to go anywhere. Jen has regained her self confidence to go out and meet people and is generally a much happier person. It’s no exaggeration to say it has transformed our lives”