Folliculitis decalvans

Folliculitis decalvans is a type of scarring hair loss. In this post, you will read more about the symptoms, cause and possible solutions.

Symptoms

With folliculitis decalvans, pimple-like bumps appear on the scalp, and then the hairs fall out. It looks like acne and it can be quite painful and itchy. It is quite easy to diagnose.

Cause

The cause of this type of hair loss is that your immune system attacks your hair follicles at the level of the stem cells. This leads to an inflammatory response that is accompanied by discharge. The stem cells are the ‘memory’ of your hair - they are normally responsible for ensuring that a new hair is generated when the old one falls out. But with folliculitis decalvans, the stem cells are destroyed. The hairs that have fallen out will therefore not grow back.

Treatment

There is available medication for folliculitis decalvans that isn’t necessarily immunosuppressive. Think about certain types of antibiotics or a regular treatment for acne with a high dosage of vitamin A. It’s important not to wait long before starting the treatment so that as many hair follicles as possible can remain intact - new hairs can only grow back if the stem cells are preserved. You can’t take this medication your whole life, but once the inflammation is fully gone, there is a high chance that it will stay away.