Scleroderma Skin Involvement: Alopecia (Hair Loss)

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Overview of Alopecia (Hair Loss)
Alopecia and Autoimmune Diseases
Alopecia and Scleroderma
Alopecia Treatments
Alopecia Research
Alopecia Personal Stories

Overview of Alopecia (Baldness or Hair Loss)

Photo of Alopecia, property of ISN Photo RepositoryAlopecia refers to hair loss, or baldness. Hair loss can be either temporary or permanent, depending on what causes it. Causes of temporary hair loss include gluten sensitivity, infections, thyroid disease, poor nutrition, stress, and medications. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin disease, which is caused by genetics. Other causes of hair loss include autoimmune and skin diseases such as scleroderma, discoid lupus, lichen planopilaris, and sarcoidosis.

About Alopecia Areata. Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. Alopecia areata affects approximately two percent of the population overall, including more than 4.7 million people in the United States alone. National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Skin Conditions and Alopecia Areata. Alopecia is the medical term for baldness; there are various types of alopecia, including alopecia areata. WebMD.

Alopecia (Hair Loss) and Autoimmune Diseases

Distinctive histopathologic findings in linear morphea (en coup de sabre) alopecia. Similar follicular remnants have been reported in chemotherapy-induced permanent alopecia but not in alopecia secondary to morphea or other cicatricial alopecias. Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, 2013 Mar 18. (Also see Linear Scleroderma/En Coup De Sabre)

Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Celiac Disease): More Common Than You Think. Gluten-sensitive enteropathy commonly manifests as "silent" celiac disease (i.e., minimal or no symptoms). Serologic tests for antibodies against endomysium, transglutaminase, and gliadin identify most patients with the disease. Gluten-sensitivity can also cause alopecia by an immunologic attack on hair follicles. American Family Physician. (Also see Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity)

Cicatricial alopecia due to sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of cicatricial and non-cicatricial alopecia along with discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), lichen planopilaris, and scleroderma. Thaer Douri. Dermatology Online Journal 9 (1):16. (Also see Sarcoidosis)

Alopecia (Hair Loss) and Scleroderma

Alopecia (hair loss) may occur with scleroderma, if it affects the scalp. It may also occur due to the side effects of some treatments for scleroderma symptoms, such as chemotherapy. (Also see What is Scleroderma?)

Causes of Alopeia (Hair Loss)

If your hair is thinning, or if it is falling out in clumps, it is important to see your primary care doctor to find out what is causing it. The cause can be as simple as stress or a bad diet, or as serious as thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, or infection. A visit to the dentist may also be in order, since even tooth infections can cause hair loss.

Genetic Discovery Could Pave Way for Baldness Cure. Researchers have linked alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair thinning and hair loss in over five million Americans, to eight genes, which will likely open the flood gates for new treatments. FoxNews. 07/01/10.

Link between tooth infection and hair loss. There is a close relationship between infection outbreaks on teeth and the presence of alopecia areata or localized alopecia, a type of hair loss which has an unknown origin. 11/28/07. (Also see Dental Involvement)

Treatments for Alopecia (Hair Loss)

Temporary hair loss due to a simple cause, such as stress from a recent surgery, can be left untreated because the hair will naturally return. Hair loss treatments include first addressing any underlying medical conditions. Hair loss treatments include hair growth medications, hair transplants, and/or wigs or hairpieces. Most hair restoration doctors offer free consultations to evaluate the hair loss and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Comparative Assessment of Topical Steroids, Topical Tretenoin (0.05%) and Dithranol Paste in Alopecia Areata. We conclude that both topical steroids and tretinoin were fairly effective in limited variant of alopecia areata. Das S. Indian J Dermatol, 2010 Apr;55(2):148-149.

Hair Loss Treatments. For some types of alopecia, hair growth may resume without treatment. Treatments to help promote hair growth, such as Minoxidil (Rogaine), corticosteroids, Anthralin (Drithocreme), and Finasteride (Propecia)—but Finasteride is not approved for use by women. There are also surgical procedures, and wigs or hairpieces. Mayo Clinic.

Alopecia (Hair Loss) Research

Alopecia areata as another immune-mediated disease developed in patients treated with tumour necrosis factor-alpha blocker agents. Although rare, AA developed during anti-TNF-alpha therapy might be more frequent than suggested by reports of isolated cases. Personal and family history of autoimmune disease might alert clinicians to their possible development or relapse once the anti-TNF-alpha therapy is started. Ferran M. (PubMed) J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol, 2010 Jun 24.

Melanocortin receptor type 2 (MC2R, ACTH receptor) expression in patients with alopecia areata (AA). These findings demonstrate that MC2R expression is aberrant in AA and suggest a deficit in ACTH/MC2R activity may play an important role in the pathophysiology of AA. Hong-Wei G. (PubMed) Exp Dermatol, 2010 Jun 29.

Alopecia (Hair Loss) Personal Stories

Dawn M: Linear/Systemic Scleroderma My family and I were informed by the doctors, that the localized/linear form of scleroderma that I was diagnosed with, would never progress into the potentially fatal, systemic form...

Dee B: Limited Scleroderma/CREST Syndrome I also had the problem with people saying I was a hypochondriac, as at that stage all the doctors I saw found nothing wrong with me, but I constantly felt weary and ill...

Margot: Morphea, Linear and En Coup de Sabre I first went to a medical clinic when I noticed a small brownish mark on my stomach resulting in a doctor telling me I was wearing my jeans too tight!

Rosie: Limited Systemic Sclerosis (Australia) Some of my symptoms may not be due to limited scleroderma, however most of these symptoms have appeared since my diagnosis...

Sarah H: Linear Scleroderma When I was very young, two or three years old, my mom started to notice that the top of my scalp was changing...

Tata P: Diffuse Scleroderma I am thirty-two years old, and I have been suffering this illness since I was nine...

(Español/Spanish) Tata P: Esclerodermia Difusa Hola, tengo 32 años, y padezco esta enfermedad desde los 9...

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