Frontal fibrosing alopecia: demographic and clinical characteristics of 490 cases

V Kanti, A Constantinou, P Reygagne, A Vogt, J Kottner, U Blume-Peytavi
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology: JEADV 2019, 33 (10): 1976-1983

BACKGROUND: Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is a cicatricial alopecia mostly affecting the frontotemporal hairline. Its aetiology and associated factors remain unclear.

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS: An observational, cross-sectional and descriptive study was conducted in France and Germany to identify demographic and health characteristics associated with the severity of FFA.

RESULTS: Of 490 included patients, 95% were female, of which 84% were postmenopausal. Age at onset of FFA symptoms ranged between 15 and 89 years, but diagnosis was frequently delayed up to 24 years. Lichen Planopilaris Activity Index scores were low (median 1.8, IQR 1.0 to 3.5). Thyroid function disorders were reported in 13% of men and 35% of women. Abnormal blood lipid levels were found in 42% of tested men and 47% of women. In the bivariate analyses, LPPAI scores were negatively correlated with abnormal testosterone (rs  = -0.775) and oestrogen values (rs  = -0.664), regular use of face cleaning products (rs  = -0.465), hair colourants (rs  = -0.679) and hairspray (rs  = -0.500).

CONCLUSIONS: The most common comorbidity was thyroid disease, with proportions higher than in the European population, possibly reflecting a role of thyroid hormones in FFA pathogenesis. The association of abnormal testosterone and oestrogen values with lesser disease activity needs to be explored in further studies. Our correlation analyses do not support a role of leave-on cosmetic products in the pathophysiology of FFA.

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