There are many forms of hair loss and it is a common problem among men. Nobody would be glad to check himself out at the mirror and see his bare scalp showing. It feels embarrassing, it is stressing and it can even ruin a date if it makes you feel too insecure. Not all types of baldness can be fixed, but most of them can be treated successfully with hair products and a good diet. But what if we stop talking about common conditions and turn our attention to rare diseases like frontal fibrosing alopecia? What is it and what can we do about it?
Alopecia is basically the clinical name for baldness, and frontal fibrosing alopecia is a type of alopecia which is associated with scarring that starts in the hairline and has a progression towards the back. This condition was usually seen in older women, it was first described in 1994 in postmenopausal women and was very rare until the last 10 to 15 years.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: A rare and concerning form of hair loss
Nowadays, frontal fibrosing alopecia is becoming more and more common, and it is a worldwide phenomenon. Maybe there is something in the environment that predisposes people to develop this type of alopecia. Regardless of the reason, now it’s not only seen in women but also some men from many different countries are experiencing these symptoms.
What is frontal fibrosing alopecia about
Frontal fibrosing alopecia is part of a group of inflammatory diseases called “primary cicatricial alopecias”. This group of conditions feature an irreversible destruction of hair follicles, and they are all related to scarring. Frontal fibrosing alopecia is detected when patients show a reddened skin in their hairline, the skin starts to look darker and scarring starts with an evident recession of the hairline as it progresses.
Sometimes the hairline does not become visibly red and inflammation is not always evident. In some cases, the condition also involves the eyebrows, but almost never the rest of the body hair. It is a condition that shows wide variation between one patient and the other, so if you start to see changes in the position or color in your hairline, it might be a good idea to pay a visit to a doctor.
Still, the exact reason why frontal fibrosing alopecia develops is yet unknown. Since it appears more frequently in postmenopausal women, it might be related to hormones, but there is no clear answer. Other studies say it is mainly an autoimmune disease, but there is no definite answer just yet. This is precisely why frontal fibrosing alopecia is very difficult to treat. The exact reason is not known, and leads to an irreversible destruction of hair follicles.
Many studies also support the reasoning that it might be a genetic disorder with environmental triggers. But since we don’t have the answers yet, the best approach for frontal fibrosing alopecia is prevention of its appearance. And in case it’s already installed, the best thing to do is to slow down its progress towards the back. To treat it soon, early detection is a must. So, it is a good idea to report any worrying symptom without hesitation and start an early treatment to take control of your hair from day one.
Receding hairline in men can be a cause of insecurity, worry, and social anxiety. Frontal fibrosing alopecia features a destruction of hair follicles, and it is very hard to treat. But in other cases, there are things men can do to regrow hair in their receding hairlines. If you are experiencing this symptom, you may want to try out your alternatives before spending a lot of money in hair prostheses and other expensive solutions. You might not have frontal fibrosing alopecia just because you have a receding hairline. There are also genetic, aging reasons, and hormonal problems that would cause it. There are three different products you may want to try before even suspecting frontal fibrosing alopecia: Minoxidil, Antharalin, and Finasteride.
First thing you can do is apply minoxidil, which is an over-the-counter product. You will find it as Rogaine 5% which is the one concentration more appropriate for males. This product increases the blood flow to your scalp and may help your follicles revitalize, but bad news is that it will stop working as soon as you stop applying it on your scalp. It is a good one to try, even before paying a visit to your doctor.
On the contrary, antharalin and finasteride are usually prescribed by your doctor. Antharalin is used to treat psoriasis, but it causes new hair to grow as a side effect. Similar to what happened with the famous blue pill, now many doctors are using this unexpected side effect for those patients who need it. On the other hand, finasteride is a product for men only, it counters hair loss if your high levels of testosterone are the ones to blame. Frontal fibrosing alopecia is a scalp condition with a very difficult treatment, so it’s not a bad idea to try all of these options before turning to more expensive solutions.
Is there a frontal fibrosing alopecia diet?
Frontal fibrosing alopecia has an important autoimmune factor, according to different studies. There are many types of diets that have proven to be helpful in autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and lupus erythematosus. If you are starting to experiment symptoms related to frontal fibrosing alopecia, it is a good idea to start an autoimmune disease diet to complement any treatment your physician may suggest.
All dietary patterns have similar recommendations for patients with autoimmune diseases. We can summarize them in a list of things we are encouraged to eat and a couple of things we need to exclude. Frontal fibrosing alopecia diets should turn to nutrient-dense foods, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. The rest of vegetables are also encouraged, except for nightshades.
The best meats to eat in a frontal fibrosing alopecia diet are the organ cuts, such as the liver, because they are the most nutrient-dense options we can get. Also, we are encouraged to eat seafood, particularly those who are rich in omega-3 fats. Oils are not forbidden, but they should be quality fats like olive oil and coconut oil. Another good option to choose from are fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
On the other hand, there are many foods we should avoid. Since the list is longer, you might want to cut these foods from your diet for a few months to see your progress. If this works for you and the progression of the disease stops, you will feel motivated to keep avoiding them. Excluded foods are all grains, nuts, and seeds. Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc. Eggs, dairy, and vegetable oils.
This type of diet is usually recommended for people with autoimmune diseases who have not yet managed their symptoms. But it is not a good idea for type 1 diabetes and pancreatic problems. In those cases, and before trying anything ask your physician about it. People who have other dietary restrictions would find it very hard to follow this diet. The same for people with food aversions and eating disorders. So, if you don’t have a flexible eating habit or are unwilling to do it, nothing and nobody should force you.
Many people have found benefit in following these dietary patterns. It it true this diet is highly restrictive, and can get complicated If you have certain medical conditions, so your dietary changes should be monitored by your treating physician. Remember this diet has no guarantee to work, but if you try it for a few months and see good results, maybe you will feel motivated to do whatever it takes to maintain it.
What is the best shampoo for frontal fibrosing alopecia?
There are many shampoo options for almost every type of alopecia. Most of them nurture and stimulate the hair follicles so they will start growing new hair. However, finding the best shampoo for frontal fibrosing alopecia can be quite a challenge. In this condition, the hair follicle is destroyed, and all studies suggest this destruction is irreversible. When this happens, there is no possible way to bring back hair from an already decayed hair follicle.
As we mentioned with dieting, the best option is to prevent frontal fibrosing alopecia from starting and progressing. There is no topical treatment currently instaurated to cure frontal fibrosing alopecia, but since it has an inflammatory condition associated, there are good options to choose from.
Many champoos especially formulated for inflammatory conditions in the scalp can be very good for frontal fibrosing alopecia as well. Most of them have corticosteroids and similar drugs that would act on your scalp by stopping the inflammatory process and reducing the scarring. However, they will not recover the hair follicles that have been already lost.
The best shampoo for frontal fibrosing alopecia should also have all the nutrients your hair needs to be stronger and shiny. There are special formulations that worked very well in the past with some of these patients, but the same as with diets, no success is guaranteed.
These shampoo options are supposed to slow down the progression of frontal fibrosing alopecia, but they should be used carefully. Using topical corticosteroids for very long periods of time would cause immunosuppression in the skin, and even cause color changes in your scalp, especially if you are exposed to the sun while using these type of products. It is common to think that shampoo options are free to make, but we would also encourage you to pay a visit to your doctor prior to making any specific choice.
A short summary
Frontal Fibrosing alopecia is a rare type of alopecia that usually appears on women, but may also be present in males. These last years it is becoming more common, and may be related to environmental factors. There are many questions about frontal fibrosing alopecia, and the reason why it happens and how are not yet fully understood. Some studies suggest there is a genetic background, some other studies point at hormonal misbalances, and some others would say it’s an autoimmune disease.
Whatever the cause is, frontal fibrosing alopecia is recognized because the patient starts experiencing changes in color in their hairline as it starts moving its limits towards the back. This happens along with scarring in the scalp and the hair follicles are destroyed in the process.
There is no clear answer as to why and how this condition causes alopecia, and this is why there is no clear treatment yet. However, men with frontal fibrosing alopecia might want to try dieting and topical treatments such as shampoos and creams.
The same diet formulated for autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus are likely to work with frontal fibrosing alopecia as well. It is a rather difficult diet to follow, but many patients have seen good results and this is a good motivation to keep maintaining it. On the other hand, there is no specific shampoo for frontal fibrosing alopecia, but patients can try to counter inflammation with topical corticosteroids in some shampoo formulations.
Diets and shampoos are not a definite treatment of frontal fibrosing alopecia. They may slow down its progression, and they are worth a try. But in all cases, it remains to be a good idea to ask your physician before starting with any therapeutic option.
Living with frontal fibrosing alopecia might be something very hard to cope with. Some patients end up with hair prostheses, and others won’t fully recover from the psychological impact. However, if your condition was caught early, prevention might be the way out, and two options you can choose from are frontal fibrosing alopecia diets and choosing the best shampoo for frontal fibrosing alopecia.