Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: Update and Review of Challenges and Successes

Derek To, Jennifer Beecker
Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2018, 22 (2): 182-189

BACKGROUND: Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is a variant of lichen planopilaris (LPP) and is characterised as a progressive cicatricial alopecia affecting the frontotemporal hairline.

OBJECTIVES: To perform a comprehensive, up-to-date review of the etiopathogenesis, clinicopathological features, and therapeutic options for FFA.

METHODS: A literature search was conducted using PubMed (from 1946) and Cochrane (from 1991) databases on March 7, 2017. We included all retrospective and prospective studies reported in English. Only cases studies with reported treatment regimen and outcome were included. No randomised control trials were found. MeSH terms used included frontal fibrosing alopecia, postmenopausal, histopathologic, cicatricial, and treatment.

RESULTS: With an increasing incidence of FFA occurring predominantly in postmenopausal women, progress has been made clinically and histologically in understanding this scarring alopecia. Conflicting results have been reported with various treatments, including intralesional or oral corticosteroids, antiandrogens, antimalarials, antibiotics, and surgery. To date, no randomised control trials for treatment of FFA have been conducted.

CONCLUSION: The aetiology and clinical course of FFA remain to be established. Unfortunately, despite the numerous treatment options available, no one therapeutic regimen has proven effective in stopping recession of the hairline and inducing hair growth.

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