Alopecia areata masquerading as frontal fibrosing alopecia

Rhonda A Kwong, Steven Kossard
Australasian Journal of Dermatology 2006, 47 (1): 63-6
SUMMARY Postmenopausal women with frontal recession may represent a diagnostic challenge, as frontal fibrosing alopecia and alopecia areata may be clinically difficult to distinguish. A 53-year-old postmenopausal woman presented with a progressive fronto-temporal marginal alopecia with sparing of her eyebrows. Scalp biopsy of the affected frontal hairline revealed peribulbar lymphocytic inflammation, but no evidence of lichenoid inflammation, perifollicular fibrosis or scarring. Whereas the pathology strongly favoured alopecia areata, the clinical features overlapped with frontal fibrosing alopecia, a variant of lichen planopilaris targeting the frontal scalp. This paper presents an atypical clinical presentation of alopecia areata, which may be mistaken for frontal fibrosing alopecia.

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