Scarring vs Non-scarring Alopecia

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Blog, Hair loss | Dhananjay Chavan | November 23, 2022

Scarring alopecia, also called cicatricial alopecia is an inflammatory condition in which the hair follicles get destroyed, leading to scarring and permanent hair loss. This condition causes irreversible damage to the hair follicles. Scarring alopecia is a relatively rare hair condition. Non-scarring alopecia also termed non-cicatricial alopecia is a condition in which hair loss is not accompanied by scarring. Severe hair loss is experienced but the inflammation and irritation are minimal. The loss of hair may be focal or diffuse. Hair thinning and hair fall may be sudden or occur over time. Though scarring, as well as non-scarring alopecia, lead to hair loss, there are some basic differences between the two hair conditions. Here is a comparison between scarring and non-scarring alopecia.

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Scarring vs Non-scarring Alopecia: Know the Difference

Scarring Alopecia

Non-Scarring Alopecia

The hair follicles are permanently destroyed, and fibrous scar tissue develops in the place of hair follicles. There is no scope for hair growth. Hair follicles are preserved so there is potential for hair regrowth in the future.
The hair loss is irreversible. The hair loss is reversible.
It is a rare hair condition. It is a relatively common hair condition.
There is inflammation on the scalp. There is no inflammation and the skin irritation is minimal.
The symptoms of scarring alopecia include itching and burning of the scalp, blisters, rough, scaly skin, and crusting. The symptoms of non-scarring alopecia are based on the cause of this hair condition. Itching or burning of the scalp is hardly experienced. Blister formation, roughness, and scaling of the skin or crusting are not present in non-scarring alopecia.
Pus discharge from the scalp is another symptom of scarring alopecia. Non-scarring alopecia is not characterized by pus formation.
Pain may be experienced in the scalp region. Pain is minimal and experienced rarely.
The main cause of scarring alopecia is the destruction of hair follicle stem cells. A proliferator-activated receptor (a receptor protein) is thought to be another cause of scarring alopecia. Alteration in lipid metabolism, genetic factors, injuries and burns, and inflammation are among the other important reasons behind scarring alopecia. The causes of non-scarring alopecia include autoimmune response, infection, hormonal imbalance, and stress. Exposing the hair to heat or harsh chemicals, or styling in a way that pulls the hair may also lead to non-scarring alopecia. Nutritional deficiencies as also certain medicines can cause non-scarring alopecia. It can also develop due to some other underlying health condition.
The treatment of scarring alopecia is focused on reducing the symptoms of inflammation. Covering the bald areas and preventing further hair loss are the main goals of scarring alopecia treatment. Primary excision, local flaps, tissue expander, and hair transplant are among the surgical treatments for scarring alopecia. A different treatment method is advisable for each type of non-scarring alopecia. Steroids, immunotherapy, PRP, minoxidil, and hair transplantation are the primary treatments for non-scarring alopecia. If the cause of non-scarring alopecia is a nutritional deficiency, stress, or exposure to heat or chemicals, or if it has resulted as a side effect of a certain medication or therapy, eliminating that cause can help restore hair growth.

This was an overview of scarring vs non-scarring alopecia. For expert advice on the differences between the two conditions, and their diagnosis and treatment, consult a dermatologist. HairMD, a reputed hair transplant centre in Pune, is one of the best places to approach for any advice regarding alopecia or any other hair condition. They have a team of experienced dermatologists and surgeons who specialize in treating hair conditions. Their reliable guidance will help you attain healthy hair.

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