How are Scarring and Non-Scarring Hair Loss Different?

Asian man concerned hair loss / hair thin in front of mirror with text copy spaceHair loss is all too common a concern. For men and women alike, hair loss can be an indication of a health problem, a side effect of a medical treatment or medication, or something we consider genetically programmed and part of the natural aging process.

Regardless of the reasons, hair loss is much more than an aesthetic concern. As such, there are two main kinds of hair loss (alopecia) that you should know about.

Non-Scarring Hair Loss

Non-scarring hair loss, also called noncicatricial alopecia, is simply the loss of hair without the presence of any scarring in the scalp. “Non-scarring hair loss is fairly common and can be caused by a variety of factors,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified Dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. “Alopecia areata, patterned hair loss, stress, chemotherapy and habitual twirling or manipulation, such as in Trichotillomania, can all result in thinning without scarring.” There are few underlying health and autoimmune disorders that can also cause non-scarring hair loss in patients.

Scarring Hair Loss

Scarring hair loss, also called cicatricial alopecia, can be caused by more rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle and replace it with scar tissue. “In general, these disorders result in more permanent hair loss,” Dr. Hanson explains. “In some cases, this hair loss can happen rapidly and be accompanied with symptoms such as burning, itching, and pain.” The scar tissue forming in the scalp can change the appearance of the skin, and may show signs of inflammation, redness, swelling, increased or decreased pigmentation, and scaling. This type of hair loss can be seen in both men and women worldwide. Treatment for cicatricial alopecia targets the specific cause of the hair loss, aiming to alleviate symptoms and help regrow lost hair.

Contact Us

For more information on scarring vs. non-scarring hair loss, please contact us at Sanova Dermatology.

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